Challenge Accepted

Some might say that a challenge presented by oneself doesn’t really count as an actual challenge.  Pffftt, I say.  It totally does count.  My challenge to myself is one of fitness and health.

Over the summer, while everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is trying to watch what they eat and keep their figures beach ready, I’ve been indulging.  My kids were home for the summer, and we had a couple of birthdays to celebrate.  With birthdays come cake, something that is not usually present in our home.  There was also the additional snacks in our home that I don’t usually keep here…everything from cheese sticks to graham crackers to pretzels.  Now, to be fair, we had our fair share of fruit and yogurt on hand as well, which was never turned down when offered as an alternative to some of the “sweeter” snacks (except by me…I am not a fan of yogurt despite my best efforts).  My husband was here for the summer too, which meant that we dined out frequently because some of his favorite indulgences aren’t available to him overseas.

In addition to my poor diet over the summer, my exercise became almost non-existent.  I was taking daily walks with my youngest each morning.  Those dissipated as soon as school was out.  My excuse was that I couldn’t leave all the kids here by themselves while I went out and walked.  Two of the kids would wake up at a decent hour, while the other two seemed to sleep half the morning away.  I would use the heat as an excuse as well…it was even too hot to go swimming out back!

My high-fat low-movement regime resulted in an extra 5 pounds that went straight to my mid-section.  Now that school is back in session and my husband is about to depart back to his job overseas, it’s time for me to get back on track.  My challenge to myself is to cut the fat and increase the activity level.  I joined a local gym a little over a week ago, and I had my orientation earlier this week.  Challenge Accepted!  The plan is to go to the gym Monday through Friday-every day.  Five days a week, one hour each day. This seems like quite a challenge, especially each morning when I wake up and think to myself how tired I am, how good it feels to just lay in the bed, there’s always tomorrow…yadda yadda yadda.  Then, I force myself to get up, get dressed, and just do it.  Who knows?  Maybe this challenge will lead to a greater challenge later on…can you say Triathlon?

Learning to socialize from a 12 year old

I was on my way back home yesterday on a flight from DC to Atlanta when I saw a young boy being escorted onto the plane by a flight attendant. He is what is deemed an “unaccompanied minor” by the airlines. As he walked onto the plane, I could see his face was still wet from tears he shed while telling his father goodbye. His eyes were all red, and he looked really scared. My heart broke for this little boy, and made me think of my three children I had just dropped off at their dad’s the day before.

I wondered why his father wasn’t flying back with him. I wondered why his mother didn’t fly up to DC to go get him. I know that children over a certain age fly unaccompanied all the time, and it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. This little boy seemed so clearly upset and bothered by being alone. There was another unaccompanied minor that was sitting next to him. She was a very confident looking young girl…she looked younger than he was, but I would soon find out that was not the case. The flight attendants warned both of the children to stay in their seats when we arrived in Atlanta so they could escort them both off the plane. Afterwards, there were a few moments of awkward silence. I felt sorry for the little boy…I figured he was probably embarrassed about crying and now too shy to talk to the little girl seated next to him. I felt sorry for her too. I thought she probably was scared to talk to him for fear he would burst into tears at any moment. My thoughts of pity for the two of them were interrupted by the sound of their chatter!

The little boy apologized for the crying and explained to the little girl that he was just sad because he was leaving his dad’s and didn’t want his summer vacation to end. He introduced himself as Ryan. Ryan then went on to ask the girl what her name was, and she answered. They talked about Harry Potter, iPods, Angry Birds, school, sports, summer break, where they each lived, who they had been visiting, divorce, siblings, cousins, step-parents…they didn’t stop talking the entire flight. I was reading my book and overhearing lots of the conversation because they were seated directly across from me. By the end of the flight, I was just feeling sorry for myself…I had NEVER had the courage to strike up a conversation with a complete and total stranger, and then continue that conversation for a full hour and a half. It’s not that I’m stuck up and don’t want to talk to anybody…and in general I believe that most people don’t take the initiative to strike up such conversations because they don’t want to be seen as a pest. I don’t want to bother anybody. The man next to me might just want to sit in peace and read his newspaper (most likely he does!!). That’s all I usually want too! On the flip side, I really don’t get out much and should take the opportunity to meet new people when and where I can.

All in all, it’s pretty ironic that I learned something about socializing and meeting new people from some 12 year old boy that I initially thought was a shy, awkward kid…he sure proved me wrong!

To Purell or Not to Purell

Yesterday I took the kids to Panera for lunch.  While we were sitting there eating and watching it rain outside, I hear a Mom shouting at her child as her child tore out of the bathroom, “Don’t touch anything until you’ve had your hand sanitizer!!”  There was a sense of urgency in her voice.  It was evident that hand sanitizer is a DIRE priority in her opinion.

I realized how silly she sounded when I think back to my childhood.  We didn’t have hand sanitizer.  What we did have was good old soap and water.  Sometimes just water!  I survived.  We all did.  However, I’m JUST as guilty as this anonymous mother is of slathering that stuff all over my kids’ hands as well as my own.  It’s almost as if we believe that it puts a magical barrier around our children and ourselves to protect us from what evil lurks on doorknobs, tabletops and handrails.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the conflicting information about hand sanitizers.  Does it really work?  Does it subject us to any “superbugs”?  It’s up to you to decide what and who you believe.  Here’s a few links to check out:

The Myths vs. The Facts
Hand Sanitizers vs. Soap and Water

Last but not least, here’s what the CDC has to say about clean hands and how to get them:  Handwashing 

It would seem that good old soap and water is good enough!

P.S. Hey, if you like this post…Click HERE to vote for me @Top Mommy Blogs 

Love one another?

Love one another and you will be happy.  It’s as simple and as difficult as that.  ~Michael Leunig

Yesterday in Sunday School, the lesson was “Love One Another”.  This is a timeless message that I can remember hearing since I was a little kid.  We preach this to our children as they are having squabbles with either their siblings or classmates.

Is this even humanly possible?

Musicians sing about this message (“Try to love one another right now”…Let’s Get Together by the Youngbloods)

It’s a really simple message, but much easier said than done.  In a society where we also overuse the word “love”, how can we develop a true and pure love for one another?  This same society teaches us to judge others that are too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too smart, not smart enough, too blonde, too brunette, too tan, too white, too educated, not educated enough, too nice, too mean…the list just goes on and on.

One of my biggest questions about this lesson is how I can love somebody who has caused me hurt, or betrayed me in some way?  How can I not hold that grudge, learn to let go, and show love towards that person?  This is a big hurdle that I believe many Christians face.  I’m the type of person that won’t make a big deal out of something that ticks me off and confront you with it, but I certainly won’t try to pretend like it never happened and carry on with you as if it never did.  I am the type of person that will cut my losses and move on.  Simple as that.  How do I change that mindset and make a conscious effort to acknowledge the hurt, forgive the hurt, and move forward, all the while loving those who have hurt me?  I believe this is something I will battle for the rest of my life.

I have made mini-strides to be able to do this…I remember a lesson on prayer that taught us to pray for those who have hurt us, so they might find the Lord and stop hurting others.  Sometimes I remember to do this…most of the time I only pray for those I feel “deserve” to be prayed for.  I KNOW this is wrong.  I KNOW that I’m not the one who gets to decide who is deserving or not deserving.  I realize all of these things.  In the end, I want better for my children.  I don’t want them to see me holding these grudges, and judging other people…I want them to see me loving others.  I want them to see what a great life Christianity can provide for us.  Just since I have gotten back on track with God by returning to His house on a regular basis, I have been blessed in every aspect of my life.  My relationship with my parents has improved.  My relationship with my spouse developed and grew because of it.  I was blessed with another child.  I was blessed with the ability to continue and finish my education.  I was blessed with the right job at the right time in my life.  I was again blessed (yes…blessed) with a layoff of said job…at just the right time.  So, of course I want my children to see these things, acknowledge where those blessings came from, and want the same for their lives.

So, what have I done today to try to love one another?  For starters, I loved a complete stranger today…the cashier girl at Mrs. Fields.  It still counts, even though she gave me cookies.

I got something shiny and new today!

I was so very excited when there was a ring at my doorbell and I opened it to discover a hot guy plumber holding a box containing a shiny new diamond ring faucet.  In all seriousness, you would think somebody had brought me a shiny new piece of jewelry.  I could hardly contain my excitement!!  It’s shiny (stainless), and pretty much looks alot like a new version of our old one would.  Did that make any sense?

For me? It's not even my birthday yet!

I may have to consider getting on tranquilizers should we ever replace our washer/dryer set.  I don’t know if my heart could take all that excitement!