Thursday, March 31, 2011

Step by Step by Step!!!

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Ahhh, what a day to be off Facebook. I want to share this with the WORLD!!!! Joshua has been taking more and more steps each day, and trying more and more ... here he is taking the most steps yet! and I CAUGHT IT ON FILM!!!!!!! Only a few days into his 11th month--way to go Joshua!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Entitlement Thinking and My Abs

It dawned on me tonight:

I struggle with entitlement thinking.

If you're not sure what entitlement thinking is, just picture yourself thinking you deserve something simply, well, because. Entitlement thinking is the opposite of humility, hard work and determination.

Still having trouble?

Well, here's a perfect example.

Entitlement thinking picture: Me, 11 months after having a baby, expecting to have rock hard abs and a trim waistline.

Reasonable you say? With hard work and determination and discipline, sure. But ask me how many sit ups I do a day--go ahead, ask me.

ZERO.

6 out of the 7 days a week, I probably do ZERO sit ups, crunches, leg lifts--you name it, I don't do it. And then I look down, and, in a completely surprised and aghast tone, I say, "What?? Why is my stomach not flat??" "How dare my muscles fail me like this!"

To be fair, once in a blue moon I pull out my TurboJam "Ab Jam" or my Brazil Butt Lift "Tummy Tuck" --but twice a month doesn't cut it.

And then my entitlement thinking sets in.

"I should still have a flat stomach!" "It's in my genes!" "I never had to work at it before!" "I was a gymnast for 10 years--doesn't that count for anything?!"

You should hear me; it's ridiculous. As if being a gymnast for 10 years 14 years ago has any weight on my muscle tone now. Post pregnancy. With no diet and rarely a sit up.

Rid-ic-cu-lous.

And so, here I sit, with my non-rock hard abs, and my opposite of flat stomach ... and I blog. With my "Tummy Tuck" DVD right next to me.

Kudos to me, I forced myself to do 15 crunches when playing on the floor with Josh a few hours ago. To even be sore tomorrow, I'd need to do like, 200.

So not going to do that tonight.

Yippee--go me.

:)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Joshua: A Glimpse of an 11 month old

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A day in the life of Joshua .. just a couple little glimpses. What a goofy goober!

Joshua at Bedtime

Love Love LOVE those thighs!

Hi Mom!


Wow. Cool robe.


REACH!!

Hot outfit Dude.

Joshua loves to pull ALL the books off the shelf!

More and more, he's starting to look at books by himself. So cute!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Benefit of my Laziness

I've been "reading" a book for a while now. I put reading in quotations because I've read it off and on since August. It's only 194 pages; you'd think I would have finished it by now. But, being the way I am, unless it's a novel, I rarely even finish a book. I tend to get bored about 1/3 of the way through.

For whatever reason, I've continued to push through this book. (And We Are Changed by Priscilla Shirer)

It's a good book, and I'm glad I've read it, albeit very slowly.

But I do believe today I benefited from my laziness.

Life has thrown me some curve balls in the last few months, and I'm trying to keep my head above water. For whatever reason, the changes coming at us are challenging me more than I ever expected. There's nothing I can do to avoid the coming changes, and I often feel hurt and confused. With the wise words of my sister-in-law marching through my mind, I'm daily trying to  
"in my frustration, avoid sin". 

It's not easy. 

And then today, on a whim, I dug this book out of the pile that sits collecting dust next to my favorite chair. I wanted to read a different book, but I feel strangely obligated to finish this one first.

Here are some phrases and thoughts I underlined today:

"When life gets painful, don't hang your head in despair. Look up. Keep your eyes open for the next move of God. He is preparing you for something big. Your heavenly Father's next move is...

More radical than your terrifying crisis ... 
more stunning that your devastating pain ... 
more powerful than your overwhelming circumstances ... 
more miraculous than your wildest imagination. 

God's next move is awesome, and He is preparing you to receive it. You must now position yourself to change paths."

"... Our task is not to spend our time looking at the circumstances but rather to look up--to turn our attention to the Lord."

"...don't stare at the heartache and the hurt. Position yourself for change by looking up!" 

"We need to make sure that in these times when we feel most vulnerable, we are carefully making wise choices. We must look upward to see what the Lord would have us do and what He is trying to teach us so that we can make the right decision."

"When you and I are saddened by life's trials, it is acceptable to be sad, upset, and even angry, but it is not acceptable to allow these emotions to overtake and control us. This is precisely what the devil wants. You do not have to be consumed with bitterness, fear, sadness, or depression ... you can choose a different emotional path."

These are words I desperately needed to read. And listen to. And so, though I feel like an incredible loser for taking more than 8 months to read a 194 page book, I am pretty sure God worked in and through my laziness and spoke to me this morning.

I can't control what's happening. I can't talk it away, obsess it away, or charm it in a different direction.

I can allow my emotions to dictate my days, choose to tear myself and my relationships apart, and let Satan and my own selfish desires get a foothold in my heart.  

Or, I can "choose a different emotional path" and "look up."

I think that's just what I'll choose to do.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

9 teenagers and a 10 month old

Every other Sunday night, we welcome 11 teenagers into our home for dinner and discipleship class AKA The Furnace.

I feed them dinner, while also feeding Joshua. The teens are great with Joshua, and he thrives in this social, crazy environment. (He's actually more scared of children his own age than of teens. Does this tell us something about who with and where we spend the bulk of our time??) Erik and I entertain, discuss life, ask questions, wipe dirty fingers (Josh's, of course), get refills, grab napkins, prepare Bible study, change diapers (again, Josh's...) ... 

It's chaos in real time. It's craziness defined. It's a normal person's vision of ludicrous-ness.

I. Love. It.

(L-R, skipping Erik) Wil (Senior), Drew (Senior), Jose (Freshman), Stephanie (Junior), Matthew (Senior),
Charlene (Freshman), Casey (Senior), Jessica AKA Mackey (Junior), Bethany (Sophomore), Me (feeling old).
Not pictured: Samantha (Junior) and John (Freshman).


I love that we can meld together so many unique personalities and come up with something so beautifully hilarious. These kids bring such joy to my life (and some drama, which is good for me, I guess ...)

I love that Matthew just randomly spouts off an impersonation of Jesus, as he quotes Scripture to the group.

I love that Drew almost physically forces Jose and Wil to publicly give thanks for something Drew had done for them earlier--and somehow gets laughs while doing it.

I love how Jose's face lights up when he shares that his "high" of the week was getting an iPod touch.

I love that, for all of Stephanie's subtle (and not so subtle) sarcasm and her attempts to appear cooly rebellious, she always has her homework done for class and is actually quite responsible. ;)

I love that Wil, in his own quietly funny way, will answer a question with surprising wisdom, but almost always caps it off with "... um ... yeah ......."

I love that my sister Charlene can hold her own with a group she's not with very often, and actual shows some surprising wit. She gets it all from me, of course.

I love that Casey, a superb student, read the wrong book (Luke instead of James) but instead of being mortified or defensive, she just uses every opportunity to remind us of how much Luke has to offer ...  When we talked about how James writes that Satan is the tempter, not God, she interjects that Satan tempts Jesus ... in Luke. On other topics, she'd say ... "It says that too ... in Luke." and to top it all off, she actually tried to convince us to assign Luke for next time ... "Can we read Luke for next time?", she suggests, with a sly smile. Casey Casey Casey --you sure make me smile.

I love that Mackey, for as quiet as she can be, is actually quite goofy and random. Sometimes others might forget she's there, so quiet is she on the couch taking everything in. But I never forget ... and when I'm able to draw her out, her quirky nature and good hearted humor lift my spirits.

I love that Bethany isn't scared to question status quo, and often speaks up with a depth that still surprises me ... always good for thought provoking moments that one is.

What would I do without these teens, who challenge me to know my stuff, walk my talk, and remember to live a little in this life? What a blessing to welcome this group, and others, into my life, and into my home for the time being. I pray this is something I'm always able to do, no matter where life may take me.

My Life is Bejeweled--not Bedazzled.

I recently downloaded the game "Bejeweled" to my Blackberry.

I love it.

It has been a rough few weeks, and "Bejeweled" has been a mind numb-er for me. Good or bad, I've been allowing it.

Today was no exception.

Joshua, just about to hit 11 months, has discovered The Tantrum. Complete with laying face down on the floor and shrieking. Good times. Good times. 

I just "re-entered" from a two day trip to Vegas. Good times. Good times. 

Big questions loom in our future, with  no clear cut answers coming anytime soon. Good times. Good times. 

And so I play "Bejeweled".

Just now, as I sat in my favorite chair and mindlessly played the game,
I kept getting stuck on one level. "No moves!" the screen would shout,
and I'd try again. "No moves!"

You know it has been an emotionally charged few hours when I begin to choke up and shed tears because the stupid cell phone game is yelling at me, "No moves!"

And then it hit me--this is my life right now. 

I feel like I have "no moves". And I'm not talking about my dance skills at Jazzercise.

My life, in many ways, is dictated by other peoples' decisions. Other peoples' choices. Other peoples' agendas.

And I have no moves.

I can whine and vent and scream and compile and push and prod and encourage and ask and request ....

But at the end of the day, I have no moves. It's out of my hands. There's nothing I can do.

I can pray, and wait, and seek ... but we all know that knowing that, and being patient through the process are two very different things.

At least with "Bejeweled" I can quit the game. Sometimes I wish I could quit the game in life too. Just throw up my hands and walk away. I don't want to face the challenge, I don't want to be refined. I just want to turn off the cell phone, and find something else to do.

As it is with life, when playing "Bejeweled", I often power through, determinedly forcing myself to keep on keeping on ... only to finally reach the next level and instead of finding relief and triumph, I feel an overwhelming sense of fatigue and discouragement.

This level looks mightily like the last ...
and it only gets tougher from here on out.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vegas Baby! (or ... Daddy ... ?)

Today I flew into Vegas. First time ever--Vegas Baby!

Except, I spent the evening with my Dad. :)

I am speaking for Verizon Wireless tomorrow morning, and my Dad happened to be here speaking at a restaurant franchisee conference this evening. So, we had a daddy-daughter date. On the strip.

Definitely not how one pictures seeing Vegas!

I grabbed a taxi and caught the last half of my Dad's session in a ballroom at the Monte Carlo Hotel. This was my first time entering a Vegas "hotel"--more like, mall with lots and lots of gambling. This is so NOT your mother's Holiday Inn Express.

I was on the elevator alone. For whatever reason, I forgot to push the button for level 2. So, I zoomed from level 1 to level 10. Silly me.

Stopped at level 10--enter dude with sunglasses and flip flops.
Stopped at level 8--enter business guy with outdated tie.
Stopped at level 7--enter Texas cowboys, complete with large belt buckles and boots.
Stopped at level 6--enter family of three from Scotland, no Ireland, no Vancouver. That's exactly how the nine year old girl explained it to me. In the most ador-ab-le accent ever.
Stopped at level 4--enter white haired man with full suit, tie and boutonniere.
Stopped at level 3--doors open to reveal 4 Spanish children, ages 2-4, crawling on their bellies yelling "Save me! Shark! Ah! Save me!" Thankfully, the parents waved us on and the doors closed. 
Stopped at level 2--little tiny business woman (AKA ME) steps out, wondering where in the world she is that she can encounter such a mixture of people .... ah yes--Vegas Baby.

So, I caught the last half of my Dad's session, smiled at some clients, was treated to dinner at Outback by my Dad, listened to his stories, grabbed another cab to my hotel (The Signature Towers at the MGM Grand) and am now staring out over the pool at the glittery lights of Vegas. Baby. Or Daddy ....

Dinner with my Dad
View during dinner
My first experience in Vegas, was with my Dad. Pretty fun, pretty grateful I have him.

And pretty grateful Erik is coming tomorrow. :) Vegas Baby!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dear Joshua: Where'd you learn that?!

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It's so amazing to be a mom, and watch this little person develop right before your eyes. How many times a day does Joshua do something, and I'm like, "What? Where'd you learn that??" The noises he makes, the facial expressions he throws our way, the movements, the obsessions, the mischievousness ... every day is a bundle of surprises with the Little Buddy.

He cracks me up. I find myself with sore abs, not because I'm working out so hard (ha.) but because I'm laughing so hysterically, with great awe and appreciation, at my son, who is a little ham.

Dear Joshua, you make Mommy smile. You make me laugh. You make me cry--with joy. In spite of the obsession with being held by me (which, as frustrating and draining as it is, is pretty darn heart warming and adorable ...) and in spite of your drool, and dirty face, and banana-crusted hair, I can't imagine my days without you.

Yes, it's hard to get stuff done when you are constantly clawing at my knees, or hanging onto my pants. Yes, it's draining and tiring that you still like to see me at least two times during the nighttime. And yes, getting out the door on time is a whole new endeavor, especially when, somehow, EV-ER-Y single time, you get a hold of my keys and won't let go.

But also yes, I love you. Yes, I'd never ever regret YOU. I will take every struggle, every stage, every tantrum, because I know these moments are overwhelmed by the moments of smiles, and cuddles, and exhilarated play, and fascinating discovery, and laughter, and constant pointing and joyous screams, and unadulterated glances of love. You love me--and it's amazing to know that my love can continue to grow and swell each and every day. I will never tire of you, Little Buddy. You are my joy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day One without Facebook

I knew it was an obsession.

I knew it was a time waster.

But wow--I didn't know it was an actual addiction.

Yesterday I decided to give up Facebook for Lent. I started today. Half way through the day.

Please, let me tell you how many times I've thought, "Oo! Status update" and reached for my laptop or phone.

Or, on some sort of creepy autopilot, I'd find myself directing my computer mouse toward the shortcut for Facebook on my browser. It's no longer there, so often today I clicked on the "Picnik" shortcut that is now in that spot.

When I walked to the gym and was enjoying the glorious Colorado sun, I wanted to post.

When Josh grinned and giggled and pointed for a full five minutes at my TEETH of all things, I wanted to post.

When my Dad offered to change Joshua, and I got to sit and listen to them giggle and shout and play from the next room, I wanted to post.

When Tasha and I played with Josh on the tramp, and Joshua got scared of my parents' horse, I wanted to post.

When I discovered that Josh loves BBQ pork and peas, I wanted to post.

When I was bored and tired of sifting through emails and chasing clients, I wanted to browse.

When I was procrastinating on drafting a document, I wanted to stare mindlessly at the home feed.

When I was wondering what Erik, my husband who I should be connected to in other ways, was up to, I wanted to search his page.

How sick IS this?


Very. Very very sick.

And so, I take a break. We'll just see if I'm even missed in the FB world when I'm gone ... or if I miss it that much at all.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Who AM I and why am I at Jazzercise???

I still can't believe it happened.

I attended a Jazzercise class on Friday morning.

Jazzercise. And me. Me and Jazzercise.

It kinda feels like a dream.

My mom purchased some vouchers through one of those "daily deal" emails that comes every day. (Side note: those businesses are cropping up EV-ER-Y-WHERE. And I spend way too much money on supposed "deals" that I never would have spent money on if the "deal" hadn't shown up in my inbox that morning .... Someone had a rather bright idea to make some cash. End sidenote.)

So, we went. To Jazzercise.

Pretty sure I was the youngest woman there.

Pretty sure I've never seen so many different types of flowery work-out apparel.

Pretty sure the rather elderly lady next to me was wearing ear plugs.

Pretty sure I'm not sure why ... ??

I picked up the routines quickly, and had a grand time people watching. Or, be-hind watching, since I was at the back of the group and could really only stare at 17 different ladies' derrieres for 55 minutes.

At one point--no joke--one lady can be-boppin' in with a terry cloth headband, a baggy sweathshirt, gray leggings ... and peeking out below the hem of the sweatshirt, I actually saw, get this--a navy blue leotard. OVER the gray leggings. This high energy, Jazzercise lover must have been over 55.

Moral of the story? Life lesson for me?

One would do well to turn off the BeachBody DVD, which contains perfectly sculpted L.A. blondes with hourglass figures and washboard abs, and instead high tail it over to the local Jazzercise class.

Why?

These are real women. Women who have jobs, and families, and have given birth, and ate too many Girl Scout cookies last night. These women struggle to fit exercise into their days, they struggle to fit into size 10 jeans, and they struggle to do more than 20 sit ups.

But these are real women. I've never felt so good about myself when working out. I've never felt so ... normal. I didn't compare myself to anyone (or anyone's abs). (Well, I must admit--there was this cute little lady, probably 60, in front of me with the tiniest little waist and great deltoids. But beyond that ... no comparing.)

I just enjoyed working out. To good music. With a bunch of ladies I've never met, but ended up feeling camaraderie with. So, here's to Jazzercise--may I continue to learn the difference between a box step and sashay, and burn some calories while I do it.