Friday, November 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) I was thinking that there would not be any QT's today because I did not get around to it yesterday, but.... Snow day! There's tons of snow in my little pocket of weather (the mountains are funny and only a few miles can drastically change the amount of snow you have.  However, it did allow for a little later start to my day.  And there's a decent chance that I'll have a few patient cancellations, so I'm going to gamble on that and use that time to do a few paperwork things that I was going to do before work in the morning.  Because I'm all responsible like that. (Due to Murphy's Law, I have just jinxed myself and every one of my patients will show up; even the ones that have been canceling in the best of weather.)

2) Last night I went to meet up with some friends.  I knew it was cold out, but I also knew that I would be walking a block at the most,  and so I didn't worry about the fact that I was not dressed that much for the cold.  BUT, I didn't know that it was 16, and the windchill was -4!  Seriously? The weather's acting like it's the end of November or something!  I did not die or get frostbite, but that 3/4 block that I had to walk was suddenly a LOT longer than normal and I couldn't walk fast due to ice and snow on the sidewalk.

3) I have been doing horribly with weight maintenance.  It's like I have 0 ounces of self control, but then that leads to lots of extra ounces on the scale.  It's bad!  My weight has been all over the place this week with 3 pound fluctuations from day to day; and all of those to the higher end or above my range that I am trying to keep it in.  I know I don't have much to complain about, but it's all very annoying at times! (And, yes, I am well aware that that kind of fluctuation is water weight. But when I eat the kinds and quantities of food to cause that much bloating, it turns to the Real Deal, real fast.)

4) I think part of my frustration with myself comes from the fact that my workouts have not been great this week, either.  Monday I had to skip spin class, and yesterday I had to skip my hard workout of the week due to weather.  Wednesday and this morning I did make it to spin, but I did not push myself hard enough.  And yesterday I did not work out very hard at the climbing wall, but that's actually okay because my hip was a little sore, and I didn't want to aggravate it.

5) I think that the trick is to look at this week honestly.  Yes, there are some things that I could have done better.  Those are the things that I can focus on working on next week.  However, I also need to remind myself that a few of those things are out of my control, and maybe most importantly, I have to give myself credit for things that I did do well.  For example, I may not have pushed myself hard enough this morning, but I was really tempted to stay in bed, and instead I went to class!

You need to help me out.  I know I'm not the only one flagellating myself for things that I should have done better while ignoring the things I did accomplish.  Let me know, what did you accomplish this week?

6) You know the best part about all the snow?  If the passes aren't too bad, there's a good chance I'm going skiing tomorrow!!  I can't wait! Cross country, y'all. Cross country.  There are a lot of down hillers in these parts, but I value control more than speed, and there is no workout in the world like cross country skiing.  (Especially when you don't have the best or most efficient form, and you make yourself work 2-3 times harder than you really should....)

7) And now a re-run picture in honor of the fact that winter decided to show up for the weekend!

Have a great weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

For Those Who Wait

On my calendar for this month is the last photo of this post.  I love that photo so much.  Sure, it's a pretty picture, but that's not the half of it.  I remember that hike very vividly.  It was so long, so hot, so dusty.  The scenery was nice enough, but absolutely nothing prepared me for looking back on it and seeing what it looked like from that perspective.  So, I've been thinking about this post because of that. I've been thinking about it because Halloween has already been and Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming and those can be tough.  I've been thinking about waiting because we are approaching Advent.  But it took a friend talking about her wait right now that made me say that I should maybe repost this.  So I am, but with some changes.  Because it's my post and I can if I want to.  And because my perspective has changed some.  Original is here, if you're interested.  Praying for all of you who are struggling and waiting right now, whatever that may be for you.

Many of the things that we strive for in life starts with the promise of something beautiful. Perhaps it is waiting for a spouse or for children.  Perhaps it is trying to live out that vocation faithfully.  I won't even try to list everything, but they would not be the deepest desires of our hearts if they were not calling to us with such beauty and infinite worth.

This hike starts in the cool of the morning, when everyone is energized and excited and ready to go (please, even if you are not a morning person, I defy you to not be energized and excited at the beginning of a hike!)  No one expects the journey to be easy, exactly, but we do expect it to be worth it. We don't really question if we will make it. Who starts a journey with that thought in mind?

Yet if you have hiked long enough (or waited and struggled long enough) you learn to realize that the outcome is not a given. You may run low on supplies, you may have bad weather move in, someone may get a blister. If you're smart, you have to learn that you have to turn around sometimes. You also know that it is possible that it could turn really bad. There are no guarantees.  There can be injury and death.  Most of those dangers can be mitigated by the right preparation, but stepping out on to the trail means assuming the weight of those dangers.

This particular hike, my friend and I drove over an hour outside of Moab to go to Canyonlands National Park. It was a fairly remote location, so there were comparatively few people at the trailhead. Those that were there knew what faced them.  Beautiful scenery, and a wonderful hike, but also hard work that required the appropriate preparation in order to reach the destination and return safely to the car. When you are hiking upwards of 11 miles in the desert as opposed to 1/2 mile, the stakes go way up.

I only wish you could have been there with me. I can't describe what it's like to be out there with almost no one around. Most of the time, it was just my friend and I. It was hot, and we were working hard, and we got blisters and we sweated, and our feet ached. We carried a good amount of weight on our back, including lots of water, food and layers.  There was a fine dust that we kicked up with every step, and I wondered if the walk would ever end.

I thought of you, my friends who wait.  I know that you did not pick this journey.  I know that it seems hard and seems like it may never end and you may not make it to the destination. I wish I could tell you that you'll get there eventually, but the truth is, some of us won't get to the place we'd planned on going. It's always a disappointment, but I've yet to regret going on a hike and how it has helped me to grow, despite that disappointment.

I also thought of my friends that are no longer waiting, but have waited. You know how hard the journey is and you have made it to the end. I see in you that you know that the destination and return are not a given. You get it, and you appreciate everything so much more as a result.

And for those of you that are still waiting? I have more bad news. Most of us that get out and do longer hikes and get away from the crowds, we usually are somewhat battered and broken as a result. There are injuries to nurse and scars that tell of the great (and not so great) times that we've had. Most are minor enough in nature, but you don't do this kind of thing and come though without being changed for it.

Anyway, this particular hike was to Druid Arch. It involved walking through some narrow areas, scrambling over and around rocks, and trudging through fine sand that made every step take twice the energy. Most of the day, we followed a wash up through a canyon. We could look up and see some great views at times.

And often there are beautiful, simple moments along the way.

 Have you ever, in the journey of waiting, had a feeling of hope so strong you almost touch it? Then you realize, hope notwithstanding, you still have a long ways to go? My friends, here it is in picture.

I didn't recognize it at first, because it's sideways to us, but the tower to the right by the tree is Druid Arch. First I was so excited, because I realized I was almost to the end of the hike. But then my excitement was dampened, because I realized that the arch was still quite high above where we were. I had a sneaking suspicion that there was still a fair amount of work to do to get to our destination.

I was right.

First, we walked up rock that was steep enough I didn't know for sure if we'd be able to walk on it at first. We could. Then there was a ladder and a bar that you could hold onto to get you to the next platform. The arch was closer, but still high.  And that's when the trail got steep. You know how it is when you're waiting? Sometimes you trudge along, putting one step in front of the other. Sometimes it's relatively easy. Sometimes you have to stop and take a rest because you can't go anymore. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes there are intensely beautiful moments. Sometimes it's freaking hot, and you're dusty and you're tired, and why aren't we there yet, dammit?!

And sometimes it's like that trail was in that moment. Steep and ridiculous.  This "trail" did not look like something that sane people would attempt.  When I tried to follow the trail with my eyes, I could not figure it out.  At this point in the hike, the arch was blocked from view.  I was about ready to shrug and turn around, but followed my friend instead. All you could do was a few steps at a time, then stop to re-evaluate and see where the next step was.  Everything was so twisted and hidden from view until you were on top of it. 

But, then.

There was the moment that I have not personally experienced, but that I have heard in the hearts of those who have waited.

I couldn't find the next step. I looked up and it wasn't there, and I finally looked to the side and I saw the step. I was so focused on the trail, that I was only looking at the rocks at my feet until I saw my friend grinning at me and my difficulty with finding the trail. I realized what was going on when I raised my eyes a fraction higher.

This is the "Holy crap! It's there!" moment. Seriously, I stopped right there and pulled out the camera before I took another step. I thought of all those trudging along, not realizing anything would be different about that day, but it became the day that they finally got the call for an adoption, or they finally got the pregnancy test that came up positive.

Pictures really can't convey how huge and awesome this thing is, though here's one with my friend walking towards it to try to give some idea. It was worth the loads of sweat, the sore feet, and the miles in the fine sandy spots that stole all the energy.

Here's the thing.  A year after the hike, I don't remember the first moment of seeing the arch like I remember the moment of turning around and looking back the way we had come.

I liked looking back where we came from, only this time my view was from above looking down, rather from the canyon floor looking up. Our wash, which seemed wide enough when we were walking, was only a dark crack in the view. It reminded me that sometimes the perspective that we have during the journey will not make as much sense until we get to the end. I also thought of this incredibly beautiful sight that we shared with only two other people.  A long journey is definitely the road less traveled because of the work and the sweat and the pain involved, but the rewards are worth the effort and so few get to experience it!  And I absolutely believe that here and/or in heaven, the rewards of waiting will be worth it. Further, at that time, we may actually begin to consider ourselves the lucky ones, whether we get what we initially wanted or not.

The trail was below the bottom whitish layer. Also, I think you get the idea of why the area we were in is referred to as the Needles District.
So, my friends who are still waiting, this one's for you. I'm praying that your "holy crap" moment is soon, but more than that, I am praying that when you turn around, you will be in awe of the place that this journey has taken you.  That all the dust and heat and weariness and soreness will have combined to work a transformation in you that you did not see in the drudgery of simply putting one foot in front of the other during the hardest of times, but that you will see and be in awe of when you reach a new place of perspective.

Friday, November 8, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) Y'all, I so do not do well with creepy crawly things.  I have mentioned the spider issues at various times, but yesterday it was a mouse. In my office. While I was working with a patient, and had to pretend to be a professional!  NOT OKAY!

2)I have noticed in my professional life, there have been a number of times that the outside and the inside of me are not allowed to match up.  It ends up looking something like this:

Patient is lying on the table while I work on him. I look up and see a mouse run across the floor.

Inside: "Oh, sh crap*, no way, no WAY!  A mouse did NOT just run across my floor!!"
Outside: "Excuse me a moment, it looks like something just moved."

I get up to investigate. I don't see it, but I when approach an exercise ball blocking my view, 


I move the ball.

Outside: "Hmm, I don't see anything. Maybe I just imagined it."
Inside: "Please, please, please let me have imagined it!"

A couple minutes later,

Outside: "Oh, there it is, I guess I didn't imagine it."
My patient: "Yep, that's a mouse, you didn't imagine it."
Inside: "Dangitdangitdangitdangitdangitdangitdangit."
My patient: "Do you want me to get it for you?"
Outside: "That would be great."
Inside: "That would be the most wonderful thing in the world!  You will be immediately vaulted to the status of most favorite patient in the history of patients! Please get the mouse!  I'm not sure what you're going to get it with... Your bare hands?  I don't care!  Get it, please!"

We look a few minutes, but are unable to find it, so we have to give up the search and finish the treatment.  I can only hope for the rest of the treatment that it has left my room.

3) I told the person at the front desk, and she looked properly horrified at the thought of a mouse running around in the back somewhere.  But another coworker overheard it and dismissed me with a "You're bigger than it is... Wait, weren't you the one that had a problem with a bug that one time, too?"

Ha! "That one time."  Shows what YOU know, since there were a whole lotta times that I've had problems with bugs.  And why would you think the small size is supposed to make me feel any better? It's not like I'm afraid the thing is going to eat me.  I think more about the vermin infested thing waiting in a hidey hole and biting my fingers when I reach for something.  Or it might crawl on me.  And, yes, that would be a horribly bad thing!

I'm pretty low maintenance and not much of a girly girl most of the time, but if you want me to go all stereotypical on you, just send a rodent or an arachnid across the room, and we're there! Our lovely host Jen has all my sympathies with her various pest problems.

4) Also, I was initially relieved that it happened at the end of the day and I could leave, but once I got home, I realized one of my bags had food in it and it was by the floor.  So then I kept wondering if it hitched a ride.  I'm better now... Until I have to go to work in the morning.

5) Oh, wait! These are supposed to be quick takes? And they're supposed to be about different little things going on in our lives?  I'd say "my bad," but that was a horribly annoying saying when it was a saying.  Besides, I'm not taking responsibility. I blame the rodent. But I do have a snippet for you!  I'm almost finished putting together a calendar for 2014.  I think.  There are a lot of the pictures that I really like, but there are a couple that I'm not exactly excited about.  I may have to rethink a couple. Anyway, (not anyways, because that is NOT a word! Argh, pet peeve alert!  Okay, I'm better now.)  Anyway, the whole point of this is to say that it should be time for a giveaway soon!

6) So, spin class.  The instructor said at the last class something about that we were not going to actually die.  I would have argued, but ain't nobody got breath for that! It's interesting.  I feel that I've never sweat much, but I've started taking a towel; partly because that's what everyone else does, and I like to pretend that I know what I'm doing.  But mostly because I have to have something for all the sweat!

7) I feel like I need a picture of a mouse, but I don't have one, so you'll have to settle for this instead.

Have a great weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

*Yeah, I really don't swear, even in my thoughts.  Not because I've made some conscious do gooder decision, but for whatever reason, I just don't.  Times like these make me wish I could swear occasionally!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Seeking a Peaceful Heart

So speaking of surrender... I still struggle with it a little at times, but overall it is so much more peaceful that I sometimes ask myself what is wrong with me that it took me YEARS to get to that point.  Why did I make things so much more painful for myself, and why did I get so depressed and so whiny and have so much difficulty believing in God's plan and His love?

But even stranger than that, why would I not give up any of those times of questioning/pain/doubt?

Once again, Father Jacques Philippe has the answer.  I finished reading "Interior Freedom" and it was so good that I got another one of his books called "Searching for and Maintaining Peace."  And in the first chapter I found this:

Apart from Me, you can do nothing, Jesus said (John 15:5) he did not say, "you can't do much," but, you can do nothing. It is essential that we be persuaded of this truth. We often have to experience failures, trials and humiliations, permitted by God, before this truth imposes itself on us, not only on an intellectual level, but as an experience of our entire being. God would spare us, if He could, all these trials, but they are necessary in order that we should be convinced or our complete powerlessness to do good by ourselves. 


While it took me a while to figure this out, but this is why I don't regret all those times of being a whiny butt and all those times where the baggage took me under and I couldn't get out by myself. I'm not proud of those times, and I don't wish to go back, but I needed them.  Had I started with this surrender, I would have been pretty proud of myself for being such a wonderful Christian.  I wouldn't have understood how much I needed God, and how much I am completely incapable on my own.  And further, I would not have understood when others went through the same problems.

Father Philippe goes on to talk about the fact that once we realize that we can do nothing without Him, it brings a certain peace of heart where we can allow Him to work in us.  He used the example of a lake and the more calm and peaceful it is, the more it can reflect the beauty around it.  And so we need peace to reflect God.

I admit that in the last couple of weeks that I have been struggling a little with peace.  The last couple of holidays have been worse for me in October, as I hope for something to change in the last second so that these holidays will be different and added to it, I start comparing my childless life to all my friends' cute kids in Halloween costumes.  Wouldn't you know that we talked about Peter walking on the water in Bible study this week?  I was reminded that Peter walked on the water just fine when his eyes were on Jesus, but when he looked out at the wind and the waves, he started to sink.  So I'm trying to get my eyes away from all of that and back on Him, and things are settling down and I can go back to enjoying all the cute kiddos and the good things in my life right now.

Okay, it's late and I was up early working out, so I'm starting to ramble.  How about a couple of visuals of how well my stirred up heart reflects Him compared to the way a peaceful heart does.

Still beautiful, but only reflecting a few bright spots.
A little ruffled, but as the calmness increases, so does the reflection.

There it is.  May I someday reflect God like this!

Friday, November 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 193)

1) Wow! Has it really been a month since I've joined Quick Takes?  It looks like the answer is yes, yes it has. I guess that's what happens when you are very inconsistent with blogging.

2) I'm writing this on Halloween, which I am not celebrating at all.  I don't have any issues with Halloween, I just don't do anything to celebrate. I'm kind of like Scrooge, only whatever the Halloween equivalent is of someone that is completely lacking in holiday spirit for this particular holiday.  I do think it's interesting, though, how many people have gotten to the point that they just LOVE Halloween.  I think it can be a fun holiday, but what is the obsession?  I mean for adults.  I get why kids love costumes and candy.

3) I really need to get on the stick and write some more stuff about the chronic pain things that I have been learning.  I had someone the other day that I treated who came back and told me treatment was "life changing".  She was not being melodramatic.  That really is the case for some people.  I'm still not getting as consistent of results as I would like, but I'm going to keep working on it, because I love the fact that there may be something that can actually be done for chronic pain!

4) Guess what is now available on Amazon Prime?  Duck Dynasty.  Now, I didn't think that this show would be my cup of tea, but I was curious to watch one since it's free and now I'm hooked!  I think that there's just enough country in my family that I appreciate some of the things they talk about a little bit.  But I am also reminded that there is no redneck in my background.     I did realize that I would not make a suitable redneck wife as I do not cook or eat squirrel or frogs.

5) I have reached new territory with my weight. Not that my weight is in new territory, but that I am.  See, there was a time about 8 years ago that I was 40 pounds heavier than I am now. And then there was another 15# that wasn't very healthy, but it hung on until about 2 years ago. Today, as I write this, I am at a weight and size that I am very happy with, but I can tell you that in the last 2 years, I've been at this weight* 4 or 5 times and then about as soon as I get here, I gain at least 5 and usually more like 8 or 10 pounds. I've gained and lost those 10 pounds over and over again.  SO, the new territory is maintenance.  I think the big problem is that I get to a good place with my weight, and mentally think "Okay, this is good. I'm done."  Then I start making less than stellar food choices. And then, hello again, 10 pounds!

I have decided that I need to recognize that weight maintenance requires some work.  It is not, thankfully, as much work as losing weight, but just like I have to make conscious decisions when I need to lose weight (again), I also need to make conscious decisions about what I'm eating to maintain my happy weight.  This is obvious for most people, but it's something that I apparently need spelled out for me. I'm trying to stay here long enough to get my body to recognize this as its "set point".  You know how your body tends to try to stay a certain weight that it gets used to, and it takes some work to either gain or lose weight from that point?  That's where I want to get.

6) Sorry about the long take about my revelation about the obvious.  Let's talk about the pizza I made tonight.  YUM!  I did have to put a little cheese on it, but I used parmesan, since that tends to not bother me as much.  For the crust, I went to the gluten free bakery in town and it was a great crust.  Then I put on roasted mushrooms, sauteed onions and garlic, green pepper, a couple of grape tomatoes and Italian sausage.  After I cooked it, I added the cheese and then sprinkled some baby spinach on top of it.  If that last addition sounds gross to you, try it before you knock it.  I got the idea from a really good pizza restaurant in town and it's surprisingly tasty. It was so good!


Happy Fall!

Have a great weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

*But the size is new! Gluten free/dairy free eating can be a pain in the butt, but it is awfully nice that when my body is happier with what I'm feeding it, it also apparently drops a few inches.