Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome, 2016

One of my goals for this weekend is to spend some time looking back on last year, and looking forward a bit to the new year. Seems an appropriate way to celebrate, right? Also I can't go to New Year's parties because the siren call of bed is too strong. Y'all, 2016 will come in just fine with me asleep where I belong! (I'll be doing good to make it ALL the way through 7:00 Mass tonight!)

I used to like the whole resolution thing. Even if I didn't keep it, I loved the idea of a fresh start. Now, I don't really do it so much. I love that there is a moment in time to stop and reflect, but I find that there is a fresh start every morning. Each day is an opportunity to grow, and since I started seeing life that way, it's super fun to look back at a year, because 365 days of growth leads places I never expected! So, I will take some time to dream tonight about what I want my life to look like, to see what's moving me in that direction and where I might need to adjust that is the plan.

There are two things that I realize tonight as I'm doing a little reflecting. One is that I am stronger than I have ever been, at least physically. The other is that I'm not strong enough. I am not strong enough to stay faithful to God, my family or myself in the midst of emotional fatigue. I am not strong enough to keep facing days and nights alone. I am not strong enough to keep fighting to live this life that I am given to the utmost that I can in this moment. I can't, and I don't want to. Luckily He is strong enough. Honestly, the thought isn't enough to bring comfort, but I don't have to feel it for it to be true.  What I do like about this, though, is the reminder that it's not about me, I'm not in control, and I don't have to be.

That's enough of the past, I am excited about the new year. I am excited to keep looking for new things to try personally and professionally with the fabulous, fun, geeky world of movement. (I'm going to be participating in a movement challenge for 4 weeks on instagram, so if you want to see me attempt some new stuff, it'll be on there!) I also want to spend more time on my bike. I am excited to reconnect with some things that are important to me, but that I haven't done enough of this year. For example, photography and climbing. Also, I need to do a better job of getting back to daily Mass.

I also want to try to find some ways to make my day to day activities fit my overall life goals. For example, I love me some screen time, but I don't want my life to be swallowed up in thoughtless electronic consumption. I may have to cut Netflix. It won't save me much money, but I get sucked into marathons, and there are so many other ways to spend my time! I also have a goal in terms of streamlining my life a little bit. I like the minimalist movement, and I saw a great goal to get rid of 2,016 things in 2016. If I would have waited to start my cleaning out until now, that would be easy. I'm guessing this will be a challenge, but that's what makes it fun! Minimizing things like Netflix (if I do that) and some of my stuff is not about those things being bad in and of themselves. It's far more about taking the time to make thoughtful decisions about where to put my time and energy.

What about you? Any dreams/goals/resolutions? Is the new year a good thing for you, or another day on the merry-go-round? No matter what, I hope you have a wonderful and blessed 2016!



One of the more spectacular new days of 2015 with the morning sun lighting up a rainbow.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

God Is With Us

So, I haven't posted a whole lot this month. Or this year, really. No particular reason or plan to that, it's just how it's happened. Part of that is because I have been busy immersing myself in the fascinating world of human movement. Part of that is because I just don't know what to say. And part of it is because my computer and internet make me crazy sometimes and won't load things when I do want to post, so then I give up. there may be other reasons, but why waste time with analysis? It is what it is.

But here I am, posting. Partly because I have a boat load of food to cook for the next few days and this sounded easier (and I just told my mom that I don't procrastinate as much as I used to... maybe I should call her back!) But more because there was something that I was thinking about in terms of Advent and Christmas this year.

I have shared before that the holidays for me are... interesting to say the least. I have always loved this time of year, so there is part of me that still gets a little giddy about lights and tinsel and sparkles and cinnamon scents. Yet, my very love for this time of year also makes it one of the toughest times of the year. There is nothing like the holidays to highlight the wonderful joyous things that are in your life, but there is also nothing like it to make you feel all the hurts that much more deeply. I never know from day to day how it's going to go.

All year, and especially from Thanksgiving on, I have just been feeling a certain emotional fatigue. I'm just so tired of being alone. I have wonderful family and friends, so I'm not totally alone, but probably more than some people think I am. When I am with people, I am not merely acting like I am enjoying myself, I usually am having a good time, but when I am alone, I am so over this.

I didn't start to write this post to whine. I am here to tell you what I have learned this particular Advent season. I was talking to a friend who is in a similar situation in a way. We discussed how the holidays can be extra hard, but I told her that as tired as I was and as much as I sometimes don't feel like I have any fight left, I was still determined that nothing and no one were going to take away the holiday celebration from me completely.

By the grace of God, there is something extra special about this holiday season for me, something a little unexpected. No, it is not any change in my circumstances (darn it!), but rather a still, small voice. Two bloggers (sadly, I don't remember the exact posts to link you to) towards  the beginning of Advent said some things that have been sitting with me. One was struggling, but mentioned that putting up the Christmas tree and other decorations helped because every time she looked at it, it was a reminder that Christ is with us. The other mentioned bringing everything we had to the manger to the feet of Jesus (in particular through the St. Andrew's novena). Those messages caught my eye a little bit, since I remembered them, but the messages have worked their way slowly to my heart.

Christmas is the fact that Jesus came to this earth in human flesh. He is "Emmanuel", translated as "God with us". That in the recent days has become my celebration of the holidays. My celebration doesn't have to be that everything is perfect with lots of traditions and everything that I love about that. My Christmas doesn't have to be about all things joyful and happy, it can also be about the parts that are less wonderful, and the parts that we don't want to talk about. Because the important part is that 1) God is with us, and 2) we can choose to bring all of what we have and offer it back to Him.

I just want to say an extra special thanks to my prayer buddy this Advent. I feel like God's grace is working into some of the places of my heart that have been a little hardened by this fatigue, and I am grateful for that. I feel a little more willing to let go of what I want for my life, and trust whatever it is that He's doing (even though I'm still freaking tired of it! ;) ). On the other hand, I also feel a little more able to specifically pray for my vocation in life, even while letting go. Anyway, thanks for being a part of that.

Whoever is here and happens to read this (since I know that most of you are WAY busier than I am these next couple of days!), know that for those of you that are rejoicing God's abundant blessings this Christmas, I am rejoicing with you. I am truly happy for you. For those of you that are in pain this Christmas, I am praying for you. I know that pain this time of year is not quite like anything else, though I may not quite know your particular pain, I am hurting that you have to carry this. Many of us are in some kind of in between, and that is okay, too. Not every moment of your holidays has to be jolly and bright for you to succeed as a human being (or am I the only one that feels that kind of pressure?) I hope for all of us, wherever we fall on the spectrum are able to either rejoice or take comfort in the fact that because of this day, God is with us.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

How was your Thanksgiving? As you may have seen, I was a little bored part of the week, but I was afraid that would happen. It was worth it. That part was necessary if I came the weekend before to catch up with some friends. I hadn't seen them in far too long, and it was absolutely amazing! I miss seeing them, I miss playing with their kids and seeing them grow up. I miss the town I used to live in. That doesn't mean that I want to move back, but those friends and that place are a part of me that I am so grateful for. I would not be who I am today without them.

Once we got into the actual Thanksgiving holiday, I was much better off. People weren't all running around doing other things, so we got to spend time together and it was great. My sister and I saw to it that the entire Thanksgiving meal had no more than 1/4 cup of sugar added, and that included dessert! We didn't start off with that intention, but most of the stuff didn't need sugar and the stuff that did, didn't need much, so we worked to keep it there once we saw that was probably going to be it. I made a sweet potato pie. That's the first time I'd ever done that, and it was good. The sweet potatoes had enough sugar in them that added sugar was not particularly necessary.

Can we also talk about how my much younger sister (as in, she could have been a flower girl or a junior bridesmaid at my wedding if I had gotten married when everyone else was) told me about her boyfriend this week? I had to remind myself when I did the math that she's plenty old enough, and he sounds like a nice guy. I truly am happy for her. It's far too soon to say that it's serious (as far as we know, and she isn't saying much about that). I wouldn't change a thing. For her. It did poke a few tender spots for me at times, but surprisingly not as badly as it could have. I am grateful for that. For me, I am just tired of doing this things called life alone. I just want someone to share it with. Okay, enough of that.

I did put up Christmas decorations today. I know, not very Advent-y of me, but I can't say as I care. While I did it, I was listening to a podcast about mold (I know, how festive, right?) Anyway, for several reasons, I have already been thinking of moving. But after that and thinking of the basement flooding problems, I'm not sure that I want to stay here when my lease is up this summer. I have no idea if I can find the kind of place that I want, though, or not. We'll just have to see. I both love and hate the thought of moving. I love the idea of downsizing. I don't need all the room that I have. Maybe I could make things a bit cheaper, though moving is always kind of expensive. However, it's such a pain all the time as well. I would be able to take the opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff, so that would be nice at least.

How was your holiday kick off?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Weirdly Bored

I have not been bored for a long time, but today I definitely am. Usually I'm home and have lots to do. I'm currently visiting my family, and my brother's doing homework, so he's no fun. My dad and sister went to the big city to get some shopping done, but I said no because I was not about to spend more hours in the car after all the hours to get here. My mom's running errands, and I'm bored. As you can see, it is somewhat my own fault for not getting back in a car, so you are under no obligation to feel bad for me. Also problematic is the fact that I don't want to sit AT ALL, so reading and watching movies are possibilities, but no, thank you. Technically, you could do both of those things without sitting (and I have, or I sat on the floor, or I stretched while the move was on), but I'm just not feeling it right now. I did walk for 1.5 hours earlier, so it helped some, but I have really not moved enough in the last couple of days. It's amazing how much visiting involves sitting and not moving! I am standing now as I type this, though it's still killing me a little to be this still. (Yes, I'm fidgeting. No, it's not enough.) I was hoping to help my parents with stuff on their acreage, but the weather is NOT having that. So, here I am.

Anyway, the fun part was that I got to see a bunch of friends and their kids. One of the 5 year olds watching me at meal time exclaimed, "You eat a lot!" She had no idea why we laughed. I told another 5 year old that he couldn't lick his own elbow. His eyes got huge and he set out to prove me wrong, but he could not. The best was my friend's 2 year old who asked if I could stay at her house for "happy Thanksgiving." I would have been so happy to say yes!

Okay, my mom's home, so we'll start cooking now, I'm sure. Hope you're all having a good Thanksgiving week!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

God's Plan

I've written things about God's plan before. I'm not going to link those posts here (because I don't remember exactly when I wrote them, and I'm too lazy to go look). Anyway, the gist of it all is that I think that sometimes we take the idea of God's plan too far, as in, we start to see everything as an act of God; thus reducing God to some divine puppet master and as puppets, it reduces our free will as well. I stand by that, because I can't see God causing someone to choose drunk driving, leading to someone else's death. I can't accept that God sends a tornado through a town and kills people with it. And so forth. It's not exactly what people mean when they chirp, "It's all a part of God's plan", but sometimes I think the meaning can devolve to that on some level.

However, I am feeling led to rest in the tension of the "both...and" right now. People of God are often called to become comfortable in the tension of paradox. On the one hand, God is not a puppet master pulling the strings. He is not directing natural disasters, nor causing sins and mistakes that cause pain and suffering. On the other hand, He does have a plan, in and through all of it. It is all a part of His will. Even if we make a distinction between what He actively plans for our lives and what He allows to happen in a fallen world that can lead us forward, it is all His will.

I am thinking of a friend of mine who lost her 2 month old a year ago. I cannot possibly think that God would actively cause a baby to die like that. However, if my friend's suffering is not in some mysterious way a part of His plan, then that would make it meaningless. It cannot be meaningless. Her child's life, his death, her suffering and that of her family, and his life now in heaven are full of meaning, purpose, and redemption. In some mysterious way that I cannot begin to understand, it is a part of His will, and a part of his plan.

Likewise, when something extremely good comes out of the midst of sin, it's hard to understand. How can a good God's plan include sin? Again, it comes to the "both/and". It is never His will for someone to sin, but His grace can still abound in the midst of that. His saving plan is not threatened by that sin. It can still be His will that things happened the way that they do.

I don't fully understand it all. I just know that if I am going to be able to trust God fully, I have to see His will in all of it. Every messy piece of it. Not as a puppet master, but as a loving Savior, who is redeeming it all.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What's Going On Here

That's not a question, that's a statement. The obvious answer is not much. That's only true, though if you are talking about what is going on in my house this weekend.

One thing did happen in my house. I was cleaning, and I didn't want to move my rocking chair to sweep and then move it back. I decided it was in the way and put it in my back room (where all of the extra crap is). I love it this way. I haven't sat in it for months anyway, but I would set things on it and use the footstool for a desk of sorts when I was sitting on the floor. I didn't think I was ready to get rid of it until I got a table for the living room. However, it is gone now (or around the corner, anyway), and I LOVE it.  See, I have been sitting on my couch too much (because I always sit in the same position, and not only is it the same position all the time, but it's a terrible posture). I couldn't figure out why I was too lazy to sit on the floor, but let me tell you something. Now that the chair is gone and I have the extra space, I have spent the day sitting on the floor. And stretching and rolling out and trying different movements. I didn't realize that the chair was acting as a physical and mental barrier until it was gone.

Speaking of different movements, I was hiking down some icy spots this weekend on the trail. One of the ways to do this is to step sideways. I did that with my right side facing down the mountain at first. Then I decided that I'd better make sure to even myself out, so I started down the next icy patch with my left side on the downhill side. Holy moly! My upper body- almost of its own volition- kept trying to twist back the other way. I could hardly do it! I found that if it wasn't too stiff or if there was no ice, it was easy to side step to the left first. It's only when it was more challenging that I had to fight my own body. I'm not exactly sure why this is, but I have a theory. The eyes have a lot to do with a lot of our movement, and a lot of us tend to neglect the left side to some degree (I'm just barely beginning to get into some of this, so I can't tell you much more than that as to why, though I think... neural pathways??) Anyway, I have clearly not used my left side as much and I think that's why when there were all the challenges, my body wanted to use the more practiced side. That's not how I roll, though. Left side needs to do some work!

Wow. I didn't mean to get side tracked into all of that. The really exciting thing this weekend is that my brother and SIL had their twins this weekend. They had to deliver a few weeks earlier, but everyone is doing REALLY well!! I have also found out that I live 1,069 miles away from my brother. I honestly never cared before this weekend, but now I care a great deal. I am also extremely, extremely thankful that there is digital media and my brother can send whatever photos whenever. Awesome! Like the one of my little niece who apparently currently has a preference for sleeping with one leg in the air. Whatever, sweet little weirdo. In this family, that is likely just the first of many quirks! (I wonder if my SIL really knew what she was getting into...?)

This has been extra special on so many levels. It is the first niece and nephew on my side of the family, it's twins, they, like so many people, have struggled with sub fertility and miscarriages. They haven't shared a lot of their struggles with me personally, but thanks to so many of you being open about your feelings, I have some idea. I think my absolute favorite photo (okay, one of) is the one of my SIL holding both of the twins. The joy on her face is so priceless.

I will say, in the grand tradition of blogging TMI, that this has all been made even more interesting due to some timing of PMS. Thankfully, this did not pull away at all from the wonderfulness of all that is happening, but it did highlight all that is not happening in my world. Things were extra stark there for a couple days especially leading up to their birth. Thankfully now that they're here and I'm distracted by their sweet selves as well as the hormones being less stupid, I am now able to get excited about movement and such again, but there were a couple of days there...

Now, I'm going to finish this rambling post with a little observation. As I've been getting rid of crap, I had some DVD's that I got rid of without a second thought, but others that I have saved to re-watch so I could decide if I wanted them or not. Today "Sleepless in Seattle" came up. Can someone please tell me why that one's a classic? I used to like it, but in watching it today, all I could think was, "She's bat crap crazy, and he's an idiot not to get a restraining order!" It is leaving the building.

How's your weekend? Are you adjusting to the time change?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Science vs. God: The First Creation Account

In the first post, I talked a little about the second account of creation and how that does not seem inconsistent with science (at least to me). In the second post, let's talk a bit about the first creation account- those infamous 7 days.

Okay, I've already told you that while I believe that there is truth in the creation account in that God created the world and that He did so in an orderly manner, I am in no way tied to the idea that the those so-called "7 days" were actually 24 hour periods, nor that there were literally 7 of them. It is teaching a certain point, not that it has to be literally true. For example, we need to understand that for the Hebrews, 7 was a sacred number of completion or perfection (please feel free to double check my understanding of that, I'm working from memory on that one, and may be a little off). In other words, there was an order to creation and it was done well or even perfectly done.

We're not going to start with the Bible today, we're going to start with wikipedia. I know, it's not very scientific of me, but I wanted to review the history of the earth and I don't have all year. (In other words, I'm not going for exact science here, but general ideas, so even though I'm trying to be correct, this is not meticulous.) The theory is that after the Big Bang, there was a formation of the solar system and the sun, followed by the formation of the earth 4.5 billion years ago. Initially the earth was basically hot magma, but as it began to cool and crust, it allowed for the condensation of water over the surface of that. There is a hypothesis that as the crust began to form, there was an impact with this photo-earth with another proto-planet that caused ejection of part of the earth's mantle that formed the moon. (Fascinating, no? I guess I never thought about exactly how the moon came to be.)

Anyway, to the best of my understanding, as the crust began to cool somewhat, it allowed for condensation and the oceans to form. Continents, though different than ours now, would have formed and eventually the change in the atmosphere would have allowed for the growth of bacteria, which led to greater oxygen in the atmosphere, and allowed for the formation of more life as we know it. Interestingly, the article referred to 3 atmospheres, the first being elements of helium and hydrogen from the solar nebula, the second caused by (as best as I can understand it) from a combination of the earth letting off gases and from anything coming into the earth's atmosphere at the time being vaporized. This led to an atmosphere of water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and smaller amounts of other gases. The article is not very clear on the 3rd atmosphere. (What? Wikipedia is an imperfect source?!) Anyway, I'm assuming that it can only be our current atmosphere. By the way, the article mentions that the oceans and atmosphere would have started to form as the earth formed. It also mentions that as the planet cooled, it allowed for the formation of clouds and rains created the oceans.  So, for an imperfect, but much more in depth history, here's where I was reading.

I also found a bit of a timeline for the formation of life:

(Source)
Origin of earth
First life (unicellular)
Multicellular life
Eukaryotes
Arthropods
Fish
Land plants
Forests
Amphibians
Reptiles
Dinosaurs
Mammals
Birds
Flowering plants
Bees
Humans

Now, lets talk about the Bible. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep."

Did you know that immediately after the Big Bang, apparently no light could get through? I think that it's funny that the Bible says that "the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep" and the modern website says, "The early soup [the vast array of fundamental particles from the big bang] would have been impossible to look at because no light would have carried inside it." According to the website, about 380,000 years after the Big Bang, light would have been able to shine through.

Back to the Bible. Then God said, "Let there be light." As I understand the current theory of the universe, there would have been some formless light before the stars etc began to take more shape, but if we narrow it down to our own solar system, the sun came before the earth. It is interesting to me that at the very beginning of the earth is when the moon formed and we had the sun and the moon from early on. Sure, if you wanted the first creation account and science to line up perfectly, I suppose you would have to say that the moon formed before the earth, but that's not what current scientific thinking supports. The point of this exercise is not to force all the pieces to fit exactly perfectly, but to show that both science and religion support the idea of things having a certain order and that they are not wholly inconsistent with one another (even if they are not an exact match, which would be weird, actually, if you think of the way that knowledge develops).

I like that the next thing is that the firmament of the heavens and the waters began to form, both above and below. As discussed, the oceans and atmosphere would have started to form at the same time as the earth began to take greater shape. Then the land began to form. Again, this is not inconsistent with what science tells us.

The Bible then goes on to talk about the plants forming on dry land, then the arrangement of the stars and the seasons. Then there is the life in the oceans and the creatures of the earth that are formed.

Now, if these (scientific theory and the Bible) were to match up strictly, the creation of the lights of the heavens would be before the creation of life. Life in the oceans before the creation of land vegetation, etc. The authors of the Bible did not have access to current scientific theory. Nor were they trying to explain the science of what happened. To artificially try to make them fit exactly would do violence to both science and religion. My point is that there are periods of formation according to science that give us a deeper understanding of how it all came to be. Science gives us an opportunity to study each of those "days" that the Bible speaks of. Theories of science should be developed by scientific thought and experimentation. Deeper understanding of religion should come from religious studies. However, everything in life is interdependent. So while our religion should not determine our understanding of scientific information, it is just as artificial to separate the two unnecessarily.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Science vs. God; Wait, I Don't Understand the Question

When I was in college a friend and fellow biology major said something to me along these lines: "I used to believe in God, but now I've studied too much science."

My eloquent response: "..."

That statement doesn't make sense. Sure, in a cultural context, I get where she was going with that, but my brain is sometimes too literal and filters away some of the context. What in the heck does the one have to do with the other? Why would science preclude God or God, science? I was a biology major as well, and for me science has always heightened my awareness of God. Don't get me wrong, science should not be studied for religious answers any more than religion should give us scientific answers. The two are not the same, but in my opinion, they also are not opposing.

Let's talk about the stupid creation/evolution discussion. That one annoys the snot out of me. This is often presented as an either/or proposition. EITHER you believe that God created the earth in a week, OR you believe that there is only science and evolution is how everything came into existence.

I believe that God created the earth through evolution. I know, sounds like a silly Pollyanna compromise, doesn't it? I promise that I have more to base this on than the desire to have it all. First off, I do believe that the Bible is God's word. I believe that the Bible speaks truth, but I also know that it was written by humans and that we have to be careful to understand the context in which those humans were writing. My understanding is that the humans from those earliest records would have been passing down verbal history in the form of stories before anything was written down. These stories would contain truth, but not necessarily be literal history as we understand it. Therefore, in the creation accounts, the important part to me in the first account is that God created the universe. It has always been explained to me that while the seven days of creation could have been literal 24 hour days, it could also simply mean that the narrator was trying to convey that there was a certain order and process to creation. The Bible itself does not require us to hang our belief system on either thing. They can't both be true, but whichever is true does not threaten the greater truth of the Bible, which is that God is the Creator and there was a certain order or design to His creation.

In college, when I was studying science, I could simply study science. What I mean is, I didn't have to try to bend science to fit some sort of religious philosophy, which does a disservice to the science and to the religion. Science, if nothing else, shows that there is an order to the universe. If there wasn't, it would be pointless to study science. If there was no order, there could be no equations, no expectations that conclusions could be drawn as a result of experiments and so forth. To me, it does not prove or disprove God, but there is a logical consistency that makes sense to me.

I think I've probably told you, that evolution didn't make as much sense to me at first, and that I may have fallen a little on the creationist side of things at one time. However, evolution within species was too obvious to ignore, and from there it's not a hard thing to grasp. Decisions about things like that should be based on science, and not the Bible. I was thinking about it one day and how if we evolved all the way back from apes, reptiles and on down the line to that original single celled organism in the dust... Then it hit me, where have I heard this before?

Genesis 2:7 "[T]hen the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

Just because we anthropomorphize God and imagine Him forming a clay figurine and then actually breathing into it and transforming it to a live creature, doesn't mean that's the way it happened! What I love is that science can help show us how much more amazing God is than our limited and childish imaginations could ever come up with! Perhaps, out of the dust of the ground, God formed life; that single celled life that gradually formed through evolution into human life. Both evolutionists and creationists have us coming from the dust of the ground; maybe if we could drop our beloved "isms" for a while, we could get to a place where God and science are not at war with one another, but properly understood can give us a greater understanding of reality as a whole.

I have more to say, but this post is long enough. There'll be another in a day or two.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Meh.

I read a post the other day that included these exact words:

I have to admit that I find much of Colorado rather meh.  It’s a dessert after all, lots of dry grass and sandy brown dirt. 

C'mon, now. You can't expect me to take a statement like that without comment! Actually, I can't fault the second sentence. The high plains in the east are arid and desert-y. I happen to like it, but can understand why it's not everyone's cup of tea. Plus, even though I like it okay (and am completely biased by the fact that I love this state), I don't spend much time in the east, I head for the west. Colorado, meh? I'm outraged, I tell you! Outraged! Here is what I have to say to that:

























Never mind, I am not outraged. I feel pity. Anyone who could say those words either does not appreciate the amazingness of creation when it is before them (definitely NOT Donna's problem, I assure you!) or they have never in their lives truly experienced Colorado. Never seen the mountains being awoken by the sunrise, first dusky pink, then blending to gold before the full light of day settles in. Has never sat next to the music of one of the many waterfalls cascading down the side of the mountain or pouring out of the rock itself, never experienced the peace of a mountain lake with peaks rising high above, surrounding and guarding it. These are the words of a person who has never stumbled into a carpet of wildflowers, either in a mountain meadow or high above treeline, surviving and thriving in a climate that should not allow anything to survive, let alone these tiny, delicate flowers. Has never gotten to meet the animals where they are and be reminded that we were certainly not the first here. Hasn't seen the aspen leaves shimmer, first with the new green of the spring and last with the gold of the fall. Has never gotten to experience the peaks go through the stages of a dusting of snow, to fully covered, to summer with the flowers blooming between the leftover snowfields. They have certainly never gotten to experience the range of history, including native history, mining, and dinosaurs. They have never been on a peak where they felt like they should be able to touch the clouds, or gotten the experience of standing on a peak above the clouds. Even in the desert areas, how can you not fall in love after seeing a cactus in bloom, or a wildflower poking up in the midst of rock and sandy soil?

Note: I don't actually feel either outrage or pity, I just like to give Donna a hard time. Although it is true that the one line did get me rather fired up (hence this post), but if you actually read her entire post it is about her getting to experience some of the wonders that are here, and more yet, the God Who made them. Donna, next time you're out here, let me know! I'll show you Colorado!
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Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Quest to Minimize

I think I mentioned this Spring that the basement flooded. (Yes, because you remember and care about that from so long ago, right?) Anyway, it did. There was some stuff down there that I wanted to keep, but that I didn't know what to do with, so into the basement it went. Most of it was just stuff, but there were a few photos and keepsakes that I had forgotten were down there. I didn't put really important stuff down there, as it is an unfinished basement, but there were some things that I probably wouldn't have left there if I had remembered that they were there.

All that to say that when the flooding happened, it was much worse than I thought it could get, and it drowned my stuff. I had to wade to get it out, and pretty much it all had to be trashed. There were keepsakes that I'd had since 2nd grade. There were some photo collages (even though most of the photos were digitally backed up). As I was dragging all the crap up the stairs, dripping and starting to mold, there was a pang at having to put it all in the trash. The surprising thing for a sentimental person like myself was that once it was there, I felt... lighter. More free.

I am now motivated. Get rid of all the stuff!  I am realizing that there is a lot of stuff that I am holding on to because I might want it someday, but in the meantime it is simply weighing me down. The vast majority of it, I will never remember was there (like most of the stuff in the basement). The stuff that I do think of someday that I may wish I had is all stuff that I can still live without quite easily. You know, like the things that sound convenient, but they're not because they're buried in all your other stuff and you can't find it? Yeah. That stuff. Good riddance.

I have gotten rid of a bunch of books- trite, banal stuff, not the classics. And not the trite stuff that I actually like. Stuff that was sort of okay when I got it, but that I outgrew years ago. DVD's that I never have time to watch anyway. Kitchen stuff that I never use, like the grilled sandwich maker that my mom got me one year... When you don't eat gluten and dairy, it's kind of a waste!  I enjoyed it back in the day before I knew how much that stuff affected me, but it's over now. I've been getting rid of some college and grad school books and notes that seemed important, but after a decade of not looking at most of them, I am coming to realize that they are probably not that important. Etc.

I love it. It's getting addictive! Some of my closets and drawers are so much fun to open now because they contain things that I actually use, and not things that get in my way when I'm looking for the things that I actually use. I got rid of an entire small bookshelf today, which was awesome, because there wasn't room for it in my house, anyway. And I got rid of enough stuff that I no longer needed it! My mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, but I kind of don't want anything, because I have what I need, and I really don't want anything more right now. I want less. There is a long ways to go and a lot of stuff to sort through, but a little at a time it is happening.

So far, what I am learning is that a lot of us have a touch of hoarder in us. We keep stuff because we spent money on it, or someone else spent money on it and gave it to us, or because we might need or want it someday, or any number of other reasons. It often leads to needing other things, like containers and organizers for all of the stuff, sometimes even bigger houses to fit all the stuff. (Have you ever noticed how all real estate shows have the prospective home owners talking about the need for "plenty of storage"?) Also, there is the time and energy involved with keeping the stuff  clean and somewhat organized.

I question, in my case at least, if some of the necessity in holding onto the stuff is a bit of holding on to some sort of illusion of control in my life.  I am prepared for various circumstances because I have the stuff that I need, that sort of thing. I can see how a vow of poverty leads to more trust in God's control and provision, rather than our own. I can also see how, as this progresses, you could be more and more detached to the "things" in your life and more and more attuned to the people and experiences in your life. I know, it sounds a little overblown, but this is seriously what I've been experiencing so far!

Obviously, what is minimal to one person is excessive to another. What one person needs, another can't imagine needing. Storage space can be a very good and necessary thing. The needs of an entire family are a lot different than the needs of one and so forth. Still, I can tell you that I took a trunk load to a donation site today, and immediately came home and starting putting together the next load!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Crickets and Spam

That's either a really bad idea for menu planning, or it's all that's been going on at this blog for the last.... Well, who knows how long? Seriously, how is everyone? I miss you! I know, I know, I have a funny way of showing it.

I am continuing with the reading and the studying and the thinking, and the hopefully moving towards looking at some different ways to do my job. I'm tired of waiting for people to hurt so badly that they can't move when there's so much that can be done sooner. Want to know a funny story? I wasn't quite sure what direction to head next with my little endeavor, so it was one of my intentions for the St. Therese novena. No, I didn't get any flowers (I never do), but I did receive an email from a friend of mine on October 1st. She is very much in the business world, she has no idea that I'm working on this, though she has told me several times that I should, and she sent me a bulleted list of things that I should be working on. That's the way I like my answered prayers about what to do, clearly written in an email!

Other things... Honestly, unless you want to talk about how to fix tightness through the entire posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, etc), I'm kind of boring to talk to these days. I guess there are a few little things going on. For example, I went to a friend's yoga class the other day. Now, I think yoga as an exercise has some really good points, but I haven't really had to deal with the spiritual side of it. My friend was teaching it, and she has always avoided spirituality stuff in the past. However, she brought a little of it up this time. I'm really not at all comfortable with that. On the other hand, it led to us getting together for a hike, and since I hadn't really seen her in over a year, that was nice. Does anyone else have much experience with yoga?

Let's see, I got to do a great hike yesterday. Also got to catch up some with people I haven't seen in a long time, and we were hiking on the sunny side of the mountain, only to come to a ridge and realize that down below on the other side was socked in with clouds/fog. I will never get tired of hanging out above the clouds!  It doesn't happen often, but it's amazing.  I also got to climb with a couple of people today that I haven't seen in months. (Do we see a trend here? See, it's not just you that I'm neglecting, though these missed connections are not entirely my fault, either.) Anyway, I haven't been on the rock much, but I had just read a book about climbing that especially focused on some of the mental issues of climbing. I don't remember everything, but what was great was that I spent the day on the rock, rather than in my head.  What I mean is, I was able to focus on the move that I was doing, rather than whether I was climbing to some invisible standard in my head, or whether I would make it to the top, or how uncomfortable I felt. It was just about trying and testing things on the rock and it felt great!

Beyond that, the asthma is a pain in the butt, and it has been limiting some of my workouts. Other times, it has been letting me do more than I expected. It doesn't help that I happened to notice that the medication that I was taking can potentially increase anxiety and depression. I didn't think it was affecting me, but I was feeling pretty down about some things and decided that I didn't need anything helping that along. Wouldn't you know, a couple days later I was feeling a lot less depressed and the increase of nose snottiness wasn't too bad, so the meds are on hold for the moment. Ha! That's why there hasn't been much on the blog these days! How bored are you right now??

I am seriously thinking that the quality of this post leaves much to be desired, but I'm going to close my eyes and hit publish anyway. If not this, it may be months before another post may come along!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Happy Friday Eve!

Did this week go really fast, or was that just me? Tomorrow's looking a little crazy, but it's Friday, so I just have to get through it and weekend will be waiting on the other said. I'm going to do this Quick Takes-ish because I don't want to wait until tomorrow. (Because all my computer time will be sucked up by boring paperwork is why.) I'm not going to worry about numbers, let's just see what happens!

1) I started some new continuing education. It's a little different than some that I've done in that it's not technically continuing ed. That is, it's not official enough for me to count it towards my hours, but I'm doing okay in that regard, so I'm not too worried. It is very important for the direction that I want to go right now. Good news is that I have to practice it on myself first. I'm getting some awesome stretching and movement in!

2) My package of materials for the "class" came yesterday, and it was very exciting on a lot of levels.
     -Learning
     -New books to read! (And learning)
     -New equipment that is not necessary for the stretching, but helps.
     -Some of the new equipment was purple!
     -Also, bubble wrap

3) Apparently I have a thing for purple. I've probably talked about this before. I know I'm drawn to it, but while I was out climbing today, I noticed that I was wearing a purple shirt, pulling things out of my purplish backpack, trading my hiking shoes with purple accents to my climbing shoes- also purple. I might have a purple problem! Except that it's purple, so how could that possibly be a problem? Yes, my harness also has purple, but it kind of doesn't count, because it's not the GOOD purple. Oh, hey! I have photographic evidence of this issue. It's from a different day, but same shirt (good purple). You can't really see the shoes, but trust me on this one.



4) There is a small possibility that a friend might be stopping through tomorrow night on her way out of town. This is awesome, but I did NOT get my house as clean as I would like today. She doesn't care. Her husband, however, is German. Order and efficiency, people! Not that he would ever make a big deal because he's a nice guy. He probably wouldn't even really care, because he's more concerned about his own house rather than someone else's. It's me. I care. Not enough to make it perfect, but I would like it a little better. I think that I would have heard by now if they were actually coming, so I doubt it will matter. Still maybe it will motivate me to do some straightening tomorrow morning before I leave for work, just in case. Wouldn't hurt my feelings to have the house somewhat straightened going into the weekend!

5) It is really amazing what a few days, some fermented stuff, some bone broth and minimal sugar can do for a person. I don't know exactly how it all fits, but I can tell you that allergens are high, air is smoky, and I can still breathe. It's a wonderful thing. I went from inflammation and all kinds of crazy to things are feeling pretty good. It's weird to me that I did not have to use my inhaler as much this week, because usually the smoke will get me no matter how good I'm being. I'm not complaining, mind you! I'm just trying to figure out if I'm doing something really right that I'll want to replicate, or whether it's a really fantastic fluke.

6) Okay a couple of quick prayer requests. One is for my brother and SIL. They are expecting twins, awesome! The twins are already trying to give their parents gray hair by attempting to come WAY early. They are old enough and big enough that if they come, the NICU will take them, so that is a big plus. However, if they can stay put for another 1-3 months, it would be a far, far better thing, and obviously they would have a much better chance. Last I heard things had calmed down a bit, but it's still a day to day waiting game. (Now that I think about it, as B. is obviously on bed rest now for the next few months, I wanted to send her a care package. Any ideas of what to include? Honestly, I don't know her well enough to know a lot of specifics. I was going to mainly focus on an Amazon gift card so she could get books or movies of her choice, but any other thoughts?)

My other prayer request is work. I'm really excited about some things that I want to try, but I'm running into a some small roadblocks (honestly, mostly mental ones and thinking I'm a little nuts and can it really work?) I'm not sure exactly where to go next, but I really don't want to fizzle out for the most stupid reason of all, which would be not trying.

Okay, doing anything fun this weekend? Because it almost is weekend! (And two whole posts in just one week! On fire over here, people! But not like the West Coast, thankfully.)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Be Who God Made You to Be

I really wasn't going to go so long in between blogging, but in case you haven't noticed, I've become a terrible blogger lately! However, it is perfectly acceptable to go through phases and even move away from blogging. I don't want to move away from blogging, so I'm just calling this a phase, and there are reasons for it. They are mostly work related, but in a really fun way, so it's all good.

Really quickly, here's the run down. I've been busy at work, I've been working on some stuff that I can't NOT work on outside of work but it's for work (and for me, too). Thankfully, I've been busy at work, and because I get paid according to billable hours, that helps the bottom line. But I've also been behind on paperwork most days, so I'm doing that when I get home or in the mornings (hello and goodbye blogging time). Because I'm tired after work, I just want to zone out, which I do while cooking only processed foods and then not going to bed early enough. And here comes the inflammation. No shock there. Oh, yeah! And I also blame vacation. Okay, I think that's it for my excuses. Before I continue, let me just say thank you for your great comments on my last post! I didn't get a chance to respond much (see above excuses), but I really thought you had some great suggestions. I'm going to make more of a point to do a few small things. Because small things are way better than nothing!

Today I am taking some time to blog (because I love it and I miss it! Which really means that I miss you all, because that's what blogging is really all about) while I drink kombucha (away with you, inflammation!) after getting plenty of sleep last night. Actually, this is the first time I've tried kombucha. Started with a lemon ginger raspberry flavor, and it's quite tasty. It's amazing how all of the things that are getting me out of balance with the time are also making me get more inflamed again. My asthma's been a little worse, my weight has been up, and I've been a little more fatigued. In only a couple of days of getting more particular about what I'm eating again, I'm starting to see the weight go down. I think it's progress that I'm listening to some of the signs before my asthma is limiting me and before I start to react to lots of different foods.

Anyway, let's talk a tiny bit about work, eh? I've been thinking a lot about the quote "Be who God made you to be, and you will set the world on fire." My sister tells me that St. Theresa said that. I love that whole idea. We are all different, and when we pursue things in our lives that we are truly passionate about, it is infectious. I've been doing a lot of reading and studying lately. Some of it is specifically about job related things, and other parts are a little more outside of that. For example, I've been studying some sales related things. I hate marketing and don't really want much to do with that, but here's my issue. By looking at the way that a person is standing and moving, I can see things that are contributing to their overall mobility problems. I can see why they're falling apart, and it's NOT because of age! However, trying to get someone to see what I see is not so easy. Just because I know things that will make a big difference for me, it does no good if I can't get them to understand why they're doing it. A friend suggested that I learn some sales strategies, and I think she has a point. It's really more about teaching than sales, but there are similarities all around.

I've also been reading some things about ways to think outside the box about what you want to do with your life; create your job on your terms. Sounds a little over the top to me in a way, but I love the way that it encourages people to really look into what does and doesn't work for them so that you can be spending your day doing what you love rather than just punching the clock. Personally, I am fortunate enough to do a job that I do really love, but there are things that still suck my energy and make me wish I could chuck it all and go live in the woods. This is giving me some ideas of ways to think outside the box and expand on the things that I really love and possibly minimize some of the other parts. Because it allows me to really explore my favorite things about what I do, I actually find myself spending time outside of work trying to grow and explore new ideas. I do it because it's fun, not because I should in order to be better. Hopefully I can find some ways to make that pay off in terms of dollars and cents, but it is making me better at what I do and giving me new ways to help my patients, so it's beneficial no matter what.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Powerless

I don't have a lot to say today. Frankly, I haven't watched all of the videos going around about Planned Parenthood right now. I'm not sure that I can. I realized that I feel completely sick about what is going on, but I am also sick of myself, because I'm sitting on the sidelines in horror, but I'm not doing anything. Not one thing.

I did watch a video (edited) by someone that was speaking in favor of Planned Parenthood. It was interesting in the double speak that has to happen.  She essentially said that it wasn't happening, but then she said it was done with consent (certainly not the babies' consent!) and better to do research than just throw the babies in the garbage. I don't understand the need to say that someone is lying because it's not happening, but also justify what's happening. Not a lot of logical consistency there.

Anyway, I know that's vague and random, but that's what I do. I pick apart someone else rather than speaking up myself. I guess all I have to say is that this is evil. It seems like there is a madness going on all around, and the logical consequences of our sins as nation are coming to light. You can't argue that babies are only a blob of tissue and then be surprised or object if that child is then used for profit and research. We also can't dehumanize the most vulnerable among us without becoming less human ourselves. I don't know if I'll find anything that I can actually do in all of this, but I will be going to Mass tomorrow.

Friday, July 31, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday



1) I was thinking that today seemed like a Quick Takes sort of a day, and I thought, "too bad it's not Friday". Only then I realized that it was Friday, and I should go ahead with a post, even if it is late on a Friday.

2) My head is all screwy on days of the week right now because my sisters and I just got back from a ridiculous road trip. We started out with a plan, and then right before we left, all of our plans fell apart. Plan B was to start driving and see what happens. It was pretty amazing, but it was a LOT of time in the car. Re-entry is a little rough on me. I don't know quite what to do with myself at home. There's a lot to do, but I'm doing very little of it, though I have already started to sort pictures. Part of my problem is it was nice to have my sisters around, and now the house is awfully quiet. But then again, we were getting on each other's nerves enough by the end of all that quality time that it's not bad that it's over!  We still like each other (I think) but it might have been borderline if the trip had lasted much longer.

3) My plan was to do laundry today. That didn't happen. Neither did the trip to the bank. Tomorrow's another day, I guess. I did spend some time watching the feed here. Bears on a live webcam at a river in Alaska. We watched a mama with cubs go fishing while the cubs were feeding and playing on the bank. Then there were the bears that were hanging out fishing. Sometimes they don't move a whole lot, but then one will go after a fish or they'll have a little spat about fishing spots. We've seen as many as seven bears at a time. Sometimes you can see the salmon jumping, and once I saw a bear eating its fish, and then the seagulls moving in for the leftovers. It's addicting, so you've been warned. I know we've all seen it on much better edited nature shows before, but there's something different about watching the real thing happening without the editing. Though I have wondered a couple of times why I can't stop staring at a bunch of bears that are hanging out and scanning the water and not doing much else. (But then they do! And it's exciting!)

4) I'm kind of freaked out right now. I've been seeing some suspicious looking spider webs outside my house, and was thinking that was too close. Then I saw one go running across my floor today, all shiny and black. I don't know for sure, but it seems like black widows. My landlords and I will be having a chat about the exterminator's visit tomorrow. I don't like have poison sprayed around, but I'm pretty sure it's better than getting bit by something poisonous!

5) What's going on with you all? I'm starting to work through getting caught up with everyone, but it will take me a bit and I probably won't be able to comment as much as usual. But seriously, tell me what I missed! Are you doing anything fun this weekend (besides watching the bears, because I know you want to.)

6) One thing I did manage to do today was to go to the gym. That was a rude awakening. After a week in the car, it was hard to push it like that again!

7) Okay, I think it's pretty obvious that I'm out. Have a wonderful weekend and head over to Kelly's for more Quick Takes!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Backpacking?!

I don't know what happened. I really, really don't. I have started to like camping. I used to hate it, but would agree to it as a necessary evil. If you like to be on a trail early in the morning, sometimes you have to camp. Although, I have to admit that I prefer to camp away from a campground. You have to be aware of where you are so that you are not on private property or property where that is not allowed, but it's nicer than all of the noise, in my opinion.

I am quickly coming to see the best kind of camping as being backpacking. It hurts in a way, because those packs can get heavy. I'm not an ultralight packer, and I'm not likely to become one soon, but the weight is work going up a hill in high elevation.

The thing about backpacking, though, is that it allows a person to experience nature in a whole different way than we typically do. So much of our lives are spend running from one thing to the next with constant electronic distraction. Even on a trail, I often feel the pressure a bit. You have to drive to the trail, try to get to your destination before the storms come, then drive home, often in heavy traffic. Backpacking is different. Even just an overnighter. Once you are on the trail, that's where you are. If the rain comes, you don't race back to your car because you're usually too far in. In fact, you don't see a car for at least 24 hours and you certainly don't have to fight traffic. It's enough work to do that even the foot traffic is typically lighter.

This last trip was interesting. We weren't able to make our destination because the storms rolled in. You can't go sit in your tent in a storm, because it isn't safe. You pull out the rain gear and stand outside in the rain. But not close enough for easy conversation, because if lightning strikes, you don't want it to take out the whole group. (It wasn't that close, but we'll take any safety measure we can get!) Then we had a short break, then another storm. Then we didn't have quite enough time to hike anywhere, so we sat in a high meadow surrounded by waterfalls.

I had a love/hate relationship with standing in the rain. I wanted to go to some mountain lakes. Or I was tired, and would have been happy to take a nap. Really, just about anything sounded like a good idea. Instead there was nothing to do and nowhere for me to go. I just had to be there in that moment. There was no escaping the discomfort, only going through it (and it wasn't that uncomfortable; it's amazing what good gear will do for you). I stood in the rain and watched the way the water made the leaves dance. I had to start to learn to be okay with being still and not turning to the next distraction.

What was really nice, though, is that by the evening, when my friend had gone to bed early, I sat in a high mountain meadow. It was a little daunting to have over an hour before sunset and absolutely nothing to do. I'm not used to that at all. In the quiet, surrounded by the sound of waterfalls and birds and amazing mountain air, I started thinking about the way that we were moving away from the sun. Though everything seemed perfectly still, we were barreling away from the sun. I don't know why I think what I do out there, but it was something that I was very aware of in the stillness of that moment.

I can also tell you that I was able to chat with God in a way that I haven't been able to for a long time. I think I have too many distractions, and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to have to be doing about that, but in that moment, I didn't worry about fixing anything. I just took that moment to breathe in and breathe out, to reach out to God and let Him reach back to me through the stillness.

I can tell you that every storm in the last couple of weeks has made me extremely grateful to be indoors, but as crazy as it sounds, being outside having to deal with the realities that we often run from (like rain is wet) was pretty amazing as well.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Reading

I have always been a reader. Okay, not always. There was that first few years of my life, but my parents swear I taught myself to read when I was 4 (I don't remember it, and they've been known to exaggerate.) Since then, I've read.

I'm not going to claim that I've always put my reading time to good use. There are many things that are not exactly helpful in expanding one's horizons. I'm pretty sure those Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys years didn't help tons, but I enjoyed them at the time!  I have read a few more classics than most non-English majors, and a LOT of light fiction. People told me that once I got to college and grad school, I wouldn't want to read for fun anymore because I'd be doing too much studying. People were wrong.

I will say this, though. I had a couple of years since I moved out west that I have read less than most of my previous life. This is a combination of a lot more time active, and the fact that for a while, I was feeling that I had absolutely no more space to dedicate toward books. Not only that, but I didn't want to keep moving all these books.

One thing that I didn't dedicate tons of reading time to was professional related things. Some, of course, but not anything on a consistent basis. Over a year ago, I read a graphic that someone posted on fb about reading and how someone who consistently read something like 15-30 min a day in their area of expertise could become a leading expert in their field within 7 years. It was an interesting thought. Not that I'm trying to become a leading expert in my field, but I do want to be good at what I do. I did start reading a little more, but maybe not a ton.  It's amazing how that stuck with me, though.

In the last 8 months or so, things have been slower at work than I would like. It's been a concern. When I tried to figure out what to do, I asked myself what I could do with my time to be getting the most benefit from it as I possibly could. I also prayed about what to do with the time. The answer became studying, and it's been a ride. Now I have lots of new info and ideas, and I keep trying to figure out how to do a better job of presenting them. I've even started reading a book about sales to help give me some idea. I also have a book waiting about reading body language. I want to better be able to figure out when people are with me and when I need to change my tactics. Part of the art of PT is getting people to buy in to what you are teaching them. Whenever I can get that buy in, I get excellent results, because people are excited to do whatever I have given them at home. If they're making those changes, there is generally progress happening.

What I love about this whole reading thing is the way the world of ideas keeps expanding. Things that seem unrelated sometimes start to connect in ways that have the potential to be really exciting. I suppose some of that has been related to less blogging, but such is life. I currently have some seeds of ideas related to where I might possibly want to go with my work. I don't know if they are remotely possible, but I'm going to keep reading, keep expanding and testing. I love the growth that comes from all of that, even if the end goals shift a little due to all those horizons expanding and new possibilities opening up. I certainly hope we can shift to things being busier than what they were, but I can't even tell you how excited I am that this year has happened the way that it has and has started to make sense of the last 9 years of PT practice in a whole new way. The next decade could be freaking amazing!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Love Wins

Well, I'm probably fired as a blogger if I don't share a tiny bit of my opinion about the recent SCOTUS decision.

I'm not surprised. Not one little bit. I'm not surprised that we've made this decision. I'm not surprised that there are already polygamous couples applying for marriage licenses. I'm not surprised that everyone is polarized and everyone feels on both sides feels attacked. (You know why we all feel that way? Because people on either side ARE attacking people on the other side.) 

I would just like to say, whatever "side" you think you're on, we are all in this together, and we are not going to heal as a society by bashing each other with the same tired arguments.  The rallying cry right now is "Love Wins!" (sorry, but I object to hashtags on principle). Whatever "side" you are on, that's not wrong. Every time that we take a moment to actually listen to a person whose views are different than ours, every time we give them the respect of thinking that they have something worth saying that is worth our listening to, every time that we assume for a moment that they are not choosing to believe what they believe in order to be contrary and hateful, but because they really do care about other people, love wins. You don't have to agree with them to appreciate their sincerity and to hear what they are thinking.

Every time that we value any person that is in front of us and see them as someone who matters- even if they are on the other "side", love wins. Every time that we look out for another person and try to be there for them in their time of need, to hear the cry of their heart, love wins. You think these things don't have anything to do with the current conversation? They have EVERYTHING to do with it. In my opinion, for love to win, there has to be a lot less talking, a LOT less bashing, a lot less defensiveness and a lot more actual love happening, even if it costs us. If we can actually learn to love each other (not in a special feelings for a special person way, but in a everyone matters way), then conversations can happen and healing can happen, even if total agreement doesn't happen for quite some time.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

You Are More

I think I annoyed a friend of mine the other day. Maybe "annoyed" is a strong term, but she had to take me to task a little bit.

Let me back up.

I have issues. (Ha! As if you read this blog and didn't know that!) My issues are many, but the food and allergies and crap can really get in the way of some of my typical activities. Let's take this weekend. My allergies are not as insane as they were a week ago, but they are still dictating things to some degree. It's been a gorgeous weekend outside, and I have spent most of my weekend inside. I did have one thing planned with some friends that was an outdoor activity, and I was a little leery of being outside, of being able to breathe, of keeping on top of my issues. I was nervous about having to leave early, etc., so I was working on a few contingency plans to leave early without ruining my friends' fun. I apologized for being difficult and being a "wet blanket". To which my friend replied, "You are not a wet blanket, you are our friend."

This friend is more than willing to put up with my issues. In fact, she helps me keep an eye on them. We did cut things a little short because towards the end, my allergies were starting to make a little noise, but she was more than happy to do that. I seriously think she has the patience of a saint. She has my back. Because I'm single and we live in a society where true community is very hard to come by, it is really something beyond price to have someone in your life that has your back no matter what.

Today I was listening to a song that included the lyrics "you are more than the problems you create". This particular song was a Christian song and talking about sin and such, but it reminded me how often we want to approach God in the way that I sometimes treat my friend. Like I'm a little too much work to be that much fun. But she doesn't really care how much work I am, any more than God does. Because they value us for who we are, and it's not about our issues.

Thus it is that once again my atheist friend has been the face of Christ in my life.

Friday, June 19, 2015

7 Quick Takes Friday



1) I can't breathe. Okay, literally speaking I can breathe, just not as freely and easily as I would like. Wow, the allergies with all the rain this year are beyond out of control. My nose was running constantly for a while, and now with the help of a nasal spray, it's not. Only I still can't breathe and while the pressure isn't bad, it's not great. It's not just that, though, the coughing from the post nasal drip has been exhausting (hence my willingness to take the spray in the first place). No joke, my massage therapist today mentioned just how bad my diaphragm, ribs, and abs were.  All coughing.  Did you know that you can get a fever from all of the inflammation from allergies? Because you can. Yeah, it's been a LONG week.

2) Whew! Sorry to jump right in there with all sorts of complaints, but I just had to get that off my chest (haha). I would say that allergies make me whiny, but that's not technically true. They make me tired and sniffly and sick and nonfunctional, but what I do with that is up to me. Anyway, the rain has knocked down some of the pollen, I am on more meds than I have taken in years, and I have turned a corner. I may not be perfect, but I am at least mostly functional. I seem to be able to eat and sleep again, which makes me much, much happier. This week seemed a month long, but it is over and I'm even going to brave the outdoors again on Saturday. Probably.

3) I get to go to the gym tomorrow! Who knew that would ever be a thing that would make me excited? It's not the gym, it's the workout, and more than that, it's the people. I miss them!

4) Wow, what a boring Quick Takes! I don't write for a while and then I jump in with all the boring boringness. Ah, well, it has to happen sometimes. I would love to get back on a schedule of writing 1-2 times a week, but in order to do that, I have to start somewhere. I am really hoping that this is a lead in to much better things, but for now it's something, so I'm just going to embrace that.

5) I have a question. I know that a lot of us enjoy taking out the cameras; what are your favorite photo link ups? I feel like I need something to get me out of a bit of a rut. (Oh! A pretty mountain, let me take a picture of it!) Not that I want to give up what I'm doing, but I'm trying to figure out how to be a little more versatile.

6) Let's see, yep. That's about all I have. Sorry, when you've spent half your week staring into space because it was too strenuous to so much as watch television or surf the web, I really don't have that much new stuff to add.

7) Here's a photo that was taken while I was standing in the pollen that was taking me out (but it took me a couple of days to realize just how bad it was going to be!)


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

Saturday, June 6, 2015

You Shall Know the Truth

... and the truth shall make you odd.

That Flannery O'Connor was a smart one, wasn't she? I am thinking of and perhaps regretting a bit a certain line in this post. I was starting to get rid of chairs, and I flippantly asked, "What's next?" I don't know if I even want to tell you where I am right now in this, because it is odd. I'm holding tight to another quote.

"We have to be willing to do today what others won't, so that we will be able to do tomorrow what others can't." Thank you, Jerry Rice.

I still use chairs, in case you were wondering, but I do sit on the floor more than I used to. I am trying to stretch more to offset some of my bad habits, while I also work on eliminating the bad habits that I can. It takes time. Since I've started down this particular line of inquiry, I have started to see better use of my postural muscles in the low back. Less tightness in the hamstrings. Less pain in my hip and Achilles. I have arches?!?!?! I have also seen some great results in the parts that I am using with my patients (biggest surprise being increased balance).

All of this to say, so far these experiments have been leading to some very interesting results, so the experimentation has continued. The latest? Last night was the second night that I slept on the floor. Yep. You read that right. I'm not directly on the floor, I have about a 3" foam pad, but trust me when I tell you it's no mattress!

Cons to this new venture: it feels weird. No one I know sleeps on the floor, so I feel like quite the oddball. Also, it's certainly less comfortable than a mattress.

Pros: It causes me to get up and down from the floor more (hey, I don't have kids that I'm picking up after like some of you!) I can't just fall into bed, I have to use actual muscle control (trust me, the way we often let gravity take us in for a soft landing on chairs and beds is a big problem over time). So far, both mornings I have woken up  feeling less stiff in the hip flexors. I think it's because since I can't sink into the floor like I do the mattress, the muscles actually have to let go rather than letting the mattress hold them in a shortened position. (My tight hip flexors are a definite problem area for me.)

I have slept well, and the only thing that's been a little achy in the morning is my mid back and ribs. I don't have a problem with this, as these are areas that should be mobile but that are overly stiff in my case (and in the case of a lot of people). Breathing when against a firm surface (the floor) pushes back against the stiffness in those joints and makes them move a little. Breathing against a mattress allows the mattress to give and the joints to stay stiff. It's essentially doing gentle joint mobilization all night long. I anticipate that this soreness won't last long, but I'll let you know.

I can also tell you that about a decade ago, I decided that I was too old to sleep on the floor because it hurt. Now I will amend that to say that it hurt because I was too stiff to sleep on the floor. I am a decade older and sleeping on the floor doesn't hurt now. I have not been able to lie on my stomach on the bed for a long time; if I did, I would wake up with a stiff neck. I fell asleep on my stomach for about 20 minutes the other day and woke up feeling great! Those things are not all a result of sleeping on the floor, but they are a part of it.

It's been an interesting thought process in all of this as well. Being too comfortable on the mattress; it certainly feels better initially, but at what cost overall? Pressing into the discomfort at an appropriate level allows us to make gains. Staying within what is most comfortable gradually moves us into greater restrictions over time. This is true in movement and in life.

Okay, this is not the most well put together post, but tell it to me straight. On a scale of "one" to "off my rocker" how bad is this? Is there any hope for me? (I'm joking. Mostly.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

No Motivation

I am in a funk. Oh, baby. And everyone around me is in the same one. We've barely seen the sun in several weeks, and we are a bunch of spoiled brats that lose our minds if we haven't seen the sun in 3 days. My basement has over a foot of water in it right now, so there is no heat, and no hot water. No one can come to fix it until the water is gone. You might think this is no big deal, because you live in a place where you're hot right now, but it's 40's and damp here, maybe highs in the 50's, so my house doesn't warm up much right now.

I am finding that even though I don't really have to do anything to fix the basement (my landlords are great), I am still getting nothing done. It makes no sense, because the basement is unfinished and I don't really ever go down there. But I blame the fact that I'm cold. And the funk from lack of sun and outdoors. SOMEBODY TURN OFF THE FAUCET SO I CAN GO OUTSIDE BEFORE I LOSE WHAT LITTLE IS LEFT OF MY MIND!!!

I bought a bike just before this all started, so it's mostly been hanging out unused. I can't hike, and my weight is  creeping up. Not bad, but I saw some numbers on the scale that I haven't seen in almost 2 years, and I was not happy about it. I'm actually eating less than I typically do, but I think I'm also eating too much sugar. I blame the clouds and the never ending dripping.

Have I mentioned that roads and trails are washing away? Stop the madness!

It is confirmed. I can never move to Seattle. (I am considering a visit, however, because I guess they are currently having beautiful sunny weather.)

I know, I know I shouldn't be complaining because we often have amazing weather. I have tried to hold it in, I really have, but it's reached a point to all come bubbling out; kind of like the miniature springs of water that I have in my basement.

Deep breaths.

Okay, my equilibrium will return when the sun does, but for now there are clouds, so let's play Pollyanna and talk about the silver linings.

One: I was so bored being stuck inside so much that I finally signed up for Insta.gram*. I love it more than I should. I started following a bunch of climbing and cycling feeds, and some of those pictures are just insane and make me happy to see them. I also have started following a few bloggers, but I'm not that good about knowing who's on there, so if you are, let me know. I'll follow you!

Two: There is water in my basement, but it is only ground water. It's clean and clear, which is something that I was very grateful for as I was wading around in it yesterday to clean out everything that I had stored down there. Most of it went to the trash. It was a little sad to see some if it go, but thankfully I didn't keep anything too important down there.

Three: I discovered something about myself. There was one box that I didn't know was down there. It had some photos in frames, and I was sad to see them destroyed. Most were digitally backed up, but one was a framed collage a friend had given me from an epic hike we did, one of my first really big mountains from before I moved out here. It was kind of hard putting those photos in the trash, but the way the backs were already molding, I had no choice. However, even though I can be very sentimental, I realized I wasn't as sad as I could be. I like to hold onto those things because they represent things that are important to me, but what I realized is that the things didn't matter as much as I thought. Those people and experiences are a part of me. Losing those things doesn't change that.

Four: I am guilty of taking our normal wonderful weather for granted. I think I will appreciate it so much more!

Five: Most of the stuff in my basement was just extra stuff that I didn't really need. It felt really good to get rid of that, especially the microwave.

I'm sure I could find more, but my break is over for the moment. I am excited to have 4 of the next 7 days off, and while all of them have rain forecast, at least some of them may allow a little outdoor time. Maybe? We can only hope and pray.



*Warning! I'm so late signing up for things that often by the time I get on board, things are on their way out. If In.stagram dies, it's probably my fault.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Sixth Sunday of Lent

AKA: Mother's Day.

Y'all, I hope you all had a blessed day. I know it wasn't easy for everyone, but I hope that it was good. You've been on my heart. I will say that Mass was not 100% smooth sailing, but it was absolutely lovely in a number of ways. I went to an early Mass at a church I don't usually go to and was immediately reassured by by the fact that it wasn't terribly full and the people that were there mostly had gray hair. And the priest that was celebrating the Mass is an amazing priest. You know what happened after he got up front? He celebrated the Mass. No mention of the secular holiday at the greeting, and his homily was centered around the readings (and it was really fantastic and just what I needed to hear, as it turns out). Nothing about motherhood. There was a petition, but it was broad enough that I felt that it included about everyone.

The real kicker, though, was the blessing of the mothers. The blessing is difficult for me, but I do think that we should have it. As I've said, I do think that Mother's Day is something that is good to celebrate. The fact that it is hard for some of us doesn't mean that we shouldn't celebrate it. I was where I could leave if I needed it to. But here's where the priest kept coming with the amazingness. He invited all mothers to stand, "mothers, stepmothers, foster mothers, godmothers, and spiritual mothers." Although I chose not to stand (because it's still kind of weird), it allows anyone to stand up, because women are all called to nurture and love the people in our lives in a way that brings them closer to God. Obviously, those that are also physical mothers are called to be spiritual mothers first to their children, but also to anyone that is brought in their life. Those of us that for whatever reason are not physical mothers, are still called to nurture and "mother" those in our lives.

I didn't really care that I wasn't standing. I was in the back, I didn't feel conspicuous. I think it was also because I felt I could have stood if I wanted to that I didn't mind sitting quite as much. But the part that was absolutely most important was that because of the way he said it, and because I finally understood it, when he gave a beautiful blessing, he meant me, too. He meant all of you who ache for children that are no longer here, or whose arms are empty but whose hearts are full with a love that you would so love to give a child. Standing or sitting didn't matter to me, because I wasn't left out of the blessing itself. And for once I could see that in a real way, instead of just a cerebral way.

For once when I ducked out of church early on a Mother's Day, the tears were not only because it was hard, but also because it was healing.

Friday, May 8, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again

Y'all, this weekend is Mother's Day. I like the idea of Mother's Day. I have a mother that deserves to be recognized, and some amazing grandmothers. I have many friends that are amazing mothers, and I think that should be honored. I just hate that in practice, it becomes such an excruciating day for so many. Whether you're hurting because you've lost a mother, because of a poor mother/child relationship, because you've lost a child or children, or because your arms are empty and aching, or whatever your reason is, hey, let's ratchet it up a notch or a hundred.

Thankfully, for me personally, things aren't quite as raw as they have been some years, but I admit that Mother's Day can sometimes bring it all back on in a heartbeat. I dread going to Mass. Any other day is fine, but Mother's day is a problem. I'll go to the early Mass, be at the back door by the blessing, and out a little early. Sorry, but that's what it takes. I think that I will be relatively okay for the rest of the day, though. I'll be talking with my mother and otherwise I will be insulating myself in my home most likely.  I will avoid f.acebook like the plague.

Anyway, I don't say this to try to sound pathetic (though maybe I am). I just want to say that I know that there will be a lot of you in a lot of different situations that are going to be hurting this weekend, and I will be thinking of you and praying for you. There are also a lot of you that have a lot to celebrate this weekend, and I am so happy that there is reason to rejoice this weekend as well.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Giving Up

April was a crazy busy hectic month for me. I know a lot of people have it crazier and busier, but it was more than I can handle. The worst thing about my schedule getting off is that then it's even harder for me to deal with my food insanities. Here's the thing, I seem to have a high metabolism as well as hypoglycemia issues. But I also have a large number of food intolerances. So somehow I have to find time to cook and eat things and when I don't have time, I don't eat enough. It's a pain in the butt, because it's not like I can just go to the store and get whatever and not worry about it. When I have several days of not eating enough (which means that I am still eating as much or more than a normal person my size), the blood sugar issues get stupid. Or I get stupid is more like it.

Friday was one of those days to pay the piper. It started during my work out. I felt like crap, so I ate, but it wasn't enough. Therefore, I spent 20 minutes of my workout trying not to pass out and generating crazy low numbers. Really, I shouldn't have been there, or I should have left early when it was that bad, but like I said, I get stupid and can't figure out how to get myself taken care of. Just when I had almost convinced myself to leave (low blood sugar me takes a long, long time to make a decision) then my little snack kicked in and I felt a lot better and was a lot closer to my normal numbers, but when I'm running on a deficit like that, I don't need to be spending it in a workout. Which I found out when I fought issues all day on Friday. Low energy, everything was too much to handle, everything about my life that is a challenge reached crisis proportions. Not because anything bad happened, but because I couldn't deal. I was done, ready to throw in the towel. I quit.

Really what happens is that you keep plugging along and deal. I changed the calendar, and this photo came up.


I had forgotten that this was the photo for May. Suddenly I was back on that mountain on that gorgeous day. The thing about this hike, though, it was a huge struggle. It was long (not really a problem) but it had some exposure (drop offs). They were short in distance (but long in drop), and the surrounding terrain wasn't bad, but I couldn't handle it that day. I had just heard about my 23 year old patient's death the week before, and suddenly things like rock slides and drop offs were this huge specter. It was obvious that things could happen. I wanted to quit on the hike that day, too. I didn't want to go past the rock pile, then the drop off, then the narrow summit surrounded by drop offs. I told my friend that he should go ahead, and that I would come as far as I felt comfortable, then stop if I needed to. It was one step at a time, that summit. I got there, and instead of feeling a sense of accomplishment, I hated every second of being on that summit and kept thinking about going past all those things on the way back down.

The thing is, though it sounds dangerous and it felt dangerous, really the way the set up was, it wasn't that bad. You could step away from the edges. Those rocks weren't going anywhere. I was angry with myself for being that anxious about it. I could recognize that I was having something of an anxiety attack, and I could recognize that those aren't logical, but I was still angry that my reactions were completely over the top and I couldn't just decide to change them. This photo was taken when I had just finished coming back over the area that was bothering me. I had just figured out why I was having so many issues (because I didn't immediately connect it to my patient's situation, but I really do think that was it- his was a car accident, but it was still just as sudden and just as final; things that always bother me were just over the top that hike). I was still angry at myself for my overreaction, but I was starting to calm down, and I love this photo.

I felt like giving up that day, and when I didn't, it still didn't feel good. At the time. But it was good. That whole summer was a struggle (for a number of reasons), but it wasn't necessarily bad. Just hard. Some of the fall out is still going on for me. This photo is a reminder, one step at a time, and enjoy the beautiful moments along the way. It helped me get through Friday, even though I still didn't really enjoy the day.

On a practical note, I changed my weekend plans from a very strenuous hike to a fairly easy bike ride, and have caught up on some things around the house, including lots of eating. Turns out that the world is not such a dark and gloomy place when you're not fighting the low blood sugar beast. I also fell asleep on the couch this afternoon for about 3 hours. I really don't want to nap during the day, because then I don't sleep, but I'm going with the thought that I needed it. Hopefully I can get a little more back into my routine and not have quite so many issues this next month.