Friday, January 24, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) Yay, Friday!  I'm looking for a REAL weekend this time, rather than lying at home on the couch with barf bucket handy.

2) This little illness did lead to a first for me.  On Wednesday, I stepped on the scale and for the first time ever, cursed the scale for being too low!  Only because I told myself that I had to regain 2# so that I would consider myself somewhat rehydrated and ready to return to exercise.  Despite a lot of work drinking lots and lots of fluids, I only managed about a pound.  So I made the smart choice* and went to spin anyway.  Dang it, after 5 days of not working out, I just really wanted to go again.  We did three "hills" in class, but I lost one in a low blood sugar fog somewhere.  It was fine; I may not have done my usual resistance, but it felt so awesome to SWEAT again! (Can't have been too dehydrated; there was plenty of sweat.)

*So maybe not the smartest choice, but I did use some other markers to make sure that I wasn't overly dehydrated or I wouldn't have gone.  I tried not to make too stupid a decision.

3) I discovered a fantastic new snack this week!  Dried apples and walnuts eaten together.  It's quite lovely, but I do wish that my discovery had been a little more intentional and less embarrassing.  Basically I had two seconds between patients, and I was starving, so I stuffed several things in my mouth and once, but then I realized it was really good and have been enjoying it ever since.

4) Umm, the other day I checked my inbox and saw that I was nominated for a Sheenazing Award?!  Thank you to whoever nominated me, you definitely made my day!

Thanks so much to Bonnie and her helpers as well for the work to put this all together.  I'm really looking forward to spending some quality time discovering some new blogs from this "Sheenazing" list! Oh, yeah.  And I'm going to go vote, too.

5) There have been a lot of posts about pro life this week, as well as some defending the other side and many of them are quite good. Some, of course, were more on the offensive side.  I won't link most of them, but I think this one and this one were the best ones that I read and far more helpful than merely repeating pet statistics and facts.

6) Apparently, I'm out of things to say, so have a great weekend!  Head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Not a horrible attempt at a snow close up, but I would love an actual macro lens for this!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Not How I Planned

I am writing this after a weekend that did NOT go as I had planned. First, I was supposed to go cross country skiing with several friends, and it was going to a new place that was going to give new photo ops.  But then one by one, my friends were not able to go.  I was down to one other friend and we decided to go for a local hike, since we both still wanted to get out, but we both had lots of other stuff to do as well.

Saturday morning came, and I went from feeling not great to horrifically awful pretty quickly.  I cancelled and my friend headed in to work early.  Which was good, because the project that they had to get done ended up taking longer than they thought it would.  Given that I spent a weekend feeling pretty crappy, especially on Saturday, it's nothing that I planned or wanted.

Did it go down like this?:
My Plan A: Get up early in the morning to go have a blast in the mountains!
My Plan B: Get up a little later and still have fun in the mountains, but for a shorter time, doing something a little different.

Actual circumstances: Be really glad that I wasn't in the middle of a long car ride when I started going from feeling a little off to realizing the plague had found me. Due to the later start time, I was still at home as pestilence hit in earnest and I was able to call it off in time.

God's plan: Let Plan A all fall apart, since He, knowing what I did not (that the plague was coming), knew that I would need a little later start in the morning.

Honestly, I don't really think that God's such a puppet master as all of that.  There is a lot of my life that has really not gone according to plan.  By the time I was 33, I was supposed to be living in a home of my own with my husband and our 3-4 children and counting.  There was no doubt in my mind that it would work like that.  There have been times where I have thought that maybe all of that was in order that things could happen in a certain way: i.e., as a single I learned about Theology of the Body and grew hugely in my understanding of the dignity of persons.  I made deep friendships with people that mean so much to my life.  I moved to the mountains and pursued things I never dreamt of pursuing, like photography and rock climbing and somehow even became something of an athlete in the process.  If we follow the above logic, then it would seem that I stayed single as part of God's plan in order that all of those things might happen. As if they could not have happened otherwise.

I do not claim to know exactly how God's planning process works.  I do know that if it works how the above scenario rolls out, then I have a huge problem with it.  Because in what realm is it really better for me to not be able to share my life with a husband and family?  How can it really be best for wonderful, loving, married couples not to be able to have children?  How can it be a part of God's plan for people to do hateful and horrible things to each other?  In what part of the plan did He ignore the children that are suffering and dying? And why would God need those things to happen in order to bring about these other things in our lives?

While I don't know exactly how "God's plan" works (because while I do not believe He's a puppet master, I do believe that He's actively and mysteriously involved in all aspects of our lives) I do have a little vision of His plan for you.  Here's how I think that it might go:

God's plan for you: Personally meet you and be with you in whatever you are going through right now, happy, sad, mundane, devastating, joyous.  Walk with you in that moment, use that moment- if you let Him- to draw you closer to Him in ways that you could not have begun to imagine, and help you fully become who you are called to be. Although He does not cause sin and death and sadness, when those inevitably happen, He has a plan for even those to become a source of amazing grace for you and for many around you.

Being single for this long and broken me in more deeply and in different ways that I ever dreamed were possible, but each and every single time He's been there.  You know, I think this is part of the reason that the whole article about "23 things to do instead of getting engaged before 23" or whatever has struck such a strong chord, both positively and negatively, with so many people.  In some ways she was exactly right in suggesting that you should fully live and grow in the circumstance that you're in (though I highly disagree on some of the things that she suggested as truly living life deeply).  But she was also exactly wrong in suggesting that you can't live life fully and deeply if you get married too young.  I think the secret is to live the life you have to the fullest.  Because any story that is lived deeply is a great story.

And we might as well embrace the story of our lives, because we can never count on our plans working out. This weekend, I planned to meet God in the mountains on Saturday and at Mass on Sunday.  Instead, He met me in the midst of the stomach flu on the couch.  Not because one was better than the other, but because there is no place or circumstance where He would not plan to meet us.

Friday, January 17, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) It's Friday!  I'm so excited! I have nothing special to be excited about, I'm just ready for the weekend. The more work I have, the happier I am to see the weekend.  But, I'm very thankful to have work.  It's a good thing, but it also wears me out physically and mentally.

2) To say that I half-a$$ed it last night climbing would probably be generous.  When I reach a certain state of mental overload, I just can't deal with things anymore.  Climbing is so much a mental game anyway that it was especially bad.  That left me asking myself what I should do about today. I had to ask myself whether I should go to spin this morning or not. I have too much respect for the instructor to half-a$$ spin class.  Either go and dig deep and do it or don't go, but don't get on the bike and piddle around.  I am proud to say that I went and dug deep.  It felt really, really good precisely because I had to work for it.

Now, there are days where you just need a rest and it's good to take a break from the workout.  I really did stop to consider where I was today, and I would say that I made the right decision.

3) I don't know what I'm doing this weekend, but what I love about where I live is that when last minute wrenches get thrown into plans that you've had for a while (as happened for this weekend's plans), you can make other plans pretty quickly.  Right now, I know the plan is to do something outside.  It may be a hike, it may be a snowshoe or it may be cross country skiing. I don't know what or where, but I know that one of those is on the table, so it's fine with me however it works out.

4) I went shopping yesterday.  I was already almost on a mental overload before that, but that was the tipping point.  Too much driving, too much deciding, too much going from one store to the other.  Argh!  I did hit a few good sales, though, and trying stuff on was really, really fun.  I tried on a dress at one store, just because it looked fun, but of course I wouldn't buy it because I have no reason to wear a dress any time soon. But!  It was so fun and it looked so nice, I had her ring it up.... And then I had her take it off.

I couldn't get it off my mind, however, so I ended up coming home and ordering it online.  The best part is that I almost got a blue one in the store, but I ended up getting the pink from online, which is better for my coloring anyway.  I love it and I love the way it looks, but I'm going to need a little help when it comes. I'm a little uncertain about if it's church appropriate.  Length and stuff is fine, but it's a little form-fitting.  Since church is one of the few places that I can wear skirts and dresses, I hope it works.  I'll take a picture when it comes so that you can give me your opinion.

5) I'm very excited about this idea, and I really hope that I will get to go!

6) The most important take of all!  I am so, so excited for several women who have shared some wonderful pregnancy news!!  I am not only ready for but am praying for a bunch of babies this year, but most particularly for those who struggle with subfertility/IF, both for those trying to get pregnant the first time and for those who would like to give their children siblings.  And I am praying for those that are pregnant that the pregnancies continue to go well and that these sweet babies continue to grow and thrive!  I will say, though, while I am excited for my friends to be pregnant (whether they are fertile or subfertile), I do still shrink from announcements from acquaintances and such.  I mean, good news for them, but somehow, that is SO much harder.

7) Have a fantastic weekend and head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Happy trails!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Crab Cakes, Skiing and Mirrors

I just tried to make crab cakes and mashed parsnips with garlic.  Massive, massive fail.  Seriously, it sounded both easy and tasty, but my parsnips are stringy and the crab tastes okay, but it didn't so much "cake". At all.  Oh, well.  It's food and you can still eat it.

I'm getting a little better at cross country.  I have finally started to figure out how to allow my body to absorb little bumps and sticky places and hang ups in the snow, especially when going down a hill.  This was explained to me from the first class I took, but hearing it and doing it are two different things.  Kinda like with surrendering things in my life to God.  When you do it, the bumps are still there, but you roll with it more and absorb it.  Unlike when I first started skiing and I was stiff and fighting those things all the time, then any little bump in the snow was enough to put me on the ground.  And when I was fighting with surrender, same deal.  I really have more to say about that, and some awesome quotes that I found about peace and abandoning yourself to God (by Fr. Jacque Philippe, who else?), but I don't have time to write those out now, so hopefully later.

Also, I have noticed something recently.  I have found myself looking at myself in the mirror more lately.  Vain? Yes. (Also, I have a blog for my navel-gazing, so the self absorption factor is WAY up there!) And, yes, part of the reason that I look is that I'm happy with what I see.  Like most people, I used to look in a mirror and see a number of things that I wasn't happy with and only sometimes could I see the overall picture of the actual person that people cared about, rather than those "problem areas".  Now I'm still surprised by what I see, because even though I have been more of an athlete than not these last few years, there's still that memory of the sedentary person that is surprised by someone athletic-looking in the mirror.

Then, too, I think that I do the mirror magnet thing because I'm trying to figure out who that is in there. I was talking with a friend this weekend, and it really emphasized how much has changed in the last 3 and half years.  It's been an awesome ride, but seriously, who is that?  Who is that who really is an outdoor enthusiast and not a couch potato?  Who is that that is starting to focus more on enjoying what is in life instead of the entire focus being on what is not? Who is that who more often faces opportunities with "Why not?" rather than the previous and customary assumption that I wasn't up for it, whatever "it" was.

Okay.  That is clearly more than enough of that.  I have to go put my stringy parsnips and crab piles into the refrigerator so I have leftovers tomorrow.  Gee, I can't wait.

Friday, January 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday

As we all do, I have a mile-long list of things to do, but for whatever reason this morning, I just can't. So I thought I'd start Quick Takes a day early on my day off, and maybe get one posted this week... Since it's been over a month since I've participated! Thanks to Jen for hosting, and head over her way for more Quick Takes.

1) I really do feel for all of you that have been dealing with the polar vortex* this week, despite the fact that instead of telling some of you that I cared and hoped you were staying safe (WHICH REALLY IS WHAT I WAS THINKING!), I instead let smart-assery reign in the texting.** Did you really expect any more from me? Anyway, those temperatures were insane.  Even the ones that I'm hearing from the southern climes; no, they're not "extreme" cold compared to what I'm used to, but it's legitimately cold.

We've had cold here, too, but I'm not sure that we really got hit by this vortex thing. It's just January, and though we've seen a couple of degrees below zero and some windchills into the negative teens and twenties, it's normal for around here.  The nice thing is, it doesn't usually stay in the deep freeze here, so daytime temps have been quite pleasant for the most part.

2) Spin class is still kicking my butt, and I'm still loving it.  So far, we haven't seen as many new people as you would normally expect for this time of year.  Not sure what's up with that, but it's okay by me. Don't get me wrong, newbies are welcome as long as I get a bike!  Apparently they are having "fun activities" in the gym next, which means dressing up with all black one day, crazy socks another, etc. I don't remember what's supposed to happen on which day, and there's a good reason for that.  I don't care.  When I roll out of be to get to the gym in time for class at 5:30, you'll not find enough festivity in me for "fun" stuff that's far more of a pretext than it is actual fun. I'm there to work, people!

3) I don't exactly have any New Year's resolutions, but I don't think I've used the microwave yet in 2014.  I would like to phase it out of my life.  I like it less and less all the time.  I have ideas about the fact that it may not be as healthy, but I don't have any real evidence to that end.  I do know that microwaved food tastes like crap, and I somehow feel a little more grounded (okay, I don't know exactly how to describe how I feel about it, so close enough?) when I take a little more time and am more mindful about preparing and eating my food. The second part of that was really surprising to me, but it is now the biggest reason that I want to stay away from it.

4) My feet are cold.  I know you don't care, I'm just saying.

5) I have a Twitter account.  I'm not very good at it.  First I didn't tweet because I didn't know what to say. It's tough coming up with brilliance until you get into practice.  Then I told myself that brilliance wasn't needed so much as just to post something (and besides, if I wait for brilliance, that may never happen, ever), so I've maybe composed two very mediocre tweets in 3 months. I'm late to the Twitter party AND I'm a wallflower now that I've finally gotten there.

Okay, now to make fully half of you forget anything you have previously read in this post:

6) Umm, so somehow I'm going to have to overcome my apathy towards watching the new season of Downton Abbey.  When I get ticked off, I don't want to watch a show anymore.  The only way to get over it is to watch it.  But I don't want to.  But the grudge will last until I do watch it... and so on.

And now you will all ignore any other takes I have an only leave me comments about how I NEED TO WATCH IT NOW.  I know how you are.

7) No new pictures to add, so I'll go with one from Kansas in November.

*Is it just me or are there a whole slew of new terms that we are learning for weird weather phenomena that just keeps switching things up?
**Being from the Midwest and knowing a bunch of people in the areas that the news kept talking about, I may have sent out a few texts about our not-as-cold temps... I may have been called a jerk and gotten some sarcastic replies. It's okay, though, I'm pretty sure most of it was good natured.  It is certain that I deserved what I got.  It is also definite that I am not nearly as repentant as I should be!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

It is a new day in a new year.  Is anyone else excited?  I am, I really am this year.  2013 was good overall.  I don't remember big happenings or events this year, but rather the little things that make up life.  I went paleo for a short while and found that I do better keeping gluten and dairy restricted.  I hate that it makes me a pickier eater, but I love that it means that I lost my muffin top somewhere along the way.  I started spin class and became a regular, and I love the changes that is bringing to my fitness level.  I think my greatest "discovery" of the year, though, was learning a lot more about taking one moment at a time.  I don't remember where the exact quote was, or how it went, but I love that Father Philippe (in Interior Freedom, I think) points out that we are often concerned about the future and the past, but the present moment, no matter how much smaller it seems, is the one where we meet God.

And so it is that I am excited for a year of many, varied, unpredictable moments, those opportunities to meet God and love others in whatever little ways present themselves. I don't know what the year holds, but it is fresh and full of possibility.  Of course, there is also a little dread in my heart for whatever tragedies this year holds, because those will always happen, either to us or to someone that we know and love.  But I remember what our papa, JPII, said and what Jesus tells us over and over.  Do not be afraid.  God will be there, even then.

I don't really have resolutions this year.  I just want to meet the moments that present themselves, big, small, happy, sad, momentous or mundane. And I want to encounter Him in those moments and in the people that are in my life in each of those moments.

Yes, yes I did go all Pollyanna on you.  I do that sometimes.  Better Pollyanna than Eeyore, though, right? Praying for a blessed year for each of you in 2014!  And just because I don't have any particular plans or resolutions for the year doesn't mean that you don't.  I'd love to hear your hopes or plans or resolutions for 2014 if you care to share. Happy New Year!

Sunrise from last Jan. 1st, since the clouds were too heavy for a good shot today.