Friday, December 25, 2009

Joyful and Triumphant

I just finished reading a blog where the girl was talking about how she just can't seem to get into the Christmas spirit.  She was saying how when she was little, it was so easy to get excited about every tiny detail and all the magic Christmas had back then.  And I will admit, that as an adult, I have to make a conscious effort not to get overwhelmed with all the extra "to do's" and to set aside time to focus on my Savior.  Her writing made me so sad by the end- because she really couldn't figure out why the ornaments and parties and music weren't making her feel in the "Christmas mood".  I read this girl's blog from time to time, mostly b/c she's so different from me and she loves to be controversial.  I feel like it's good for me to get a different perspective sometimes, and she can actually be pretty funny.  But I remember reading on her site about a month ago where she definitely bashed conservative Christians- so I'm assuming she does not put herself in the Christian category.  I don't mean to sound judgmental, but by her writing, it was pretty obvious that she was glad not to be in that category- so I think it's safe to say that I wouldn't offend her.  Anyway, it just made my heart heavy for her.  Why would we expect people to get excited about Christmas, if they don't believe in the purpose behind it?  The shiny wrapping paper and cute gingerbread houses and Christmas carolers do give me a warm, cheesy feeling- but only because there's something so much bigger behind it. 
Every year, it seems like there's a different Christmas song that really speaks to me.  Although "O Holy Night" will always be my all-time favorite :)  This year I've loved "O Come All Ye Faithful".  The phrase "Joyful and triumphant" hit me the other day- as if I had never heard it before.  I know we're supposed to be joyful- although I wouldn't say that we usually convey that to others very well.  But triumphant- I love it.  That His victory is our victory.  It would make the daily grind easier to go through, if we lived triumphantly.  Here are a few of my other favorite lyrics- that help me get into the Christmas mood :)

"Long lay the world, in sin and error pining,
Til He appeared, and the soul felt its Worth. (love that)
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
(O Holy Night)

"Oh what a precious promise,
Oh what a gift of love;
The waiting now is over and
The time has finally come.
For the God who made this world
To roll back the curtain
And unveil His passion for the heart of man.
Oh what a precious promise,
Lying in a manger in Bethlehem."
(Precious Promise- SCC)

(This next one is amazing- every lyric is so good so I couldn't help but put all the words. This song has blessed my heart so much this season.)
"In the first light of a new day, no one knew He had arrived.
Things continued as they had been,while a new born softly cried.

But the heavens wrapped in wonder,knew the meaning of His birth.
In the weakness of a baby,they knew God had come to earth.

As His mother held him closely,it was hard to understand.
That her baby not yet speaking, was the Word of God to man.

He would tell them of His kingdom,but their hearts would not believe.
They would hate Him and in anger,they would nail Him to a tree.

But the sadness would be broken,as the song of life arose.
And the First born of creation,would ascend and take His throne.

He has left it to redeem us,but before His life began.
He knew He´d come back not as a baby,but as The Lord of every man.

Hear the angels as they´re singing,on the morning of His birth.
But how much greater will their song be, when He comes again to Earth.

Hear the angels as they're singing,on the morning of His birth.
But how much greater will our song be, when He comes to rule the Earth."
("In the First Light")

And my favorite verse this year has been John 1:14
"And the Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Full of grace and truth :) What a comfort that we can rest and know what grace and truth really are, in a world where that is such a rarity. Merry Christmas! What a beautiful Savior we have.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the Haser version of a Christmas letter

I used to be really dedicated to writing down in my journal all my favorite strange stories that happen at Woodlands- at least for the first year or so that I worked here. I haven't done that lately, and it makes me sad b/c they're so fun to go back and look at :) So here's one I want to save so I can look back and laugh later :)

We had a bunny rabbit donated to the Activity Room (it only lasted a few days before someone else decided to take it home- but that's another story). Anyway, so we were introducing our sweet new long-earred friend to the residents, and it just happened to have the same name as one of the residents. After a while of sitting there quietly, this lady- who can get quite cranky and bossy at times- said,
"Joy, I don't appreciate you naming that cat after me."
I explained, "L, I did not name the animal. And besides, it's not a cat, it's a bunny."
"Well, what's the difference between a cat and a bunny?"
I didn't really know where to go from here.

OK, now onto the purpose of this blog. I reached my goal of finishing all of our almost 40 Christmas cards this year on December 1st!!! Not super impressive, but I do like to write a few sentences to each friend/family to personalize it- which is more time-consuming than just signing our names- so that makes my goal sound a little less lame :) At least, I thought I accomplished my goal, until we received a few cards from people that we didn't have a card for- and now we need to add a few more names to our list. And there were about 3 more people that I somehow had forgotten that we just added. But, as for the original list, I did finish on time and can therefore mark that off my list :) Next year I may even try to make some of our Christmas cards- like the adorable ones below.

It also made me start thinking about how fun it would be to write one of those Christmas update letters. You know the ones- from families who are incredible overachievers and outrageously motivated and accomplished- so they have a lot that happens throughout the year tell everyone else about. I am not in any of those categories for sure. I realize some people do live very far away from all their loved ones, and this is their only way of keeping everyone up on what's new in their lives. But it made me think, "What the heck would Nick and I write about?" And then it made me laugh. Here's a list of some things I think would be in our Christmas letter :)

Dear friends and family (most of which we see at least on a weekly basis since Huntington is so small),

2009 has been an exciting year at the Haser home!!
-We have attended enough weddings this year to almost average out to 1 per week.
-Joy racked up about $25 in fines at the library (at a rate of 10 cents per day, this is pretty impressive.) But thanks to free fine day in November, she got it all cleared for free!!!!
-Copper has only torn up 4 sets of window blinds this year.
-Nick has hardly received any speeding tickets in '09. And the points on his driver's license used to be in the double digits, and are now down to about 4!
-Joy has left her entire set of keys hanging overnight in the keyhole of the front door only twice this year.
-We've decided that when April 2011 comes around (after Nick's 30th bday), we'll start talking about the idea of having a baby. Maybe. Possibly. This does not mean we'll begin trying. Let me be clear- this is just when the discussions will start.
-Neither of us ran out of gas while driving this whole year- yes!!!

Maybe when we have kids or move away from Huntington, then we'll have more exciting stuff to write about and will understand this whole Christmas letter concept. But this is all I got for now :) Merry Christmas from the Hasers!!!

(One last note: I was getting ready to write my Christmas card to Oswaldo and Christine, when I found out that Christine is no longer one of my World Vision children :( WVision wrote and told me that her family moved out of the area that WVision works with, and they have no way of keeping in contact with her or supporting her anymore. I'm so sad that I will no longer be able to correspond with her or know how she's doing. But now they sent me a new child to sponsor in her place named Merete from Ethiopia- so I'll try to write him every 3 months since I can't contact Christine anymore. It still makes me a little sad that I won't know how she is- but I'll just rest in knowing that her heavenly Father loves her more than I could even begin to, and I know her future is in His hands.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

May you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi

I was just thinking how much I love not only reading about Jesus in the Gospels, but also about His disciples. How real and imperfect they are, and yet, God still chose them to be His followers and left them in charge of spreading His message to the world- of changing the course of history. This is such a random post, but I was just thinking about stuff and had to get it out of my head. I was thinking about faith today, and what it is that makes me so confident in my beliefs. And one of the main things that encourages me is the reaction of the disciples to Jesus' death and resurrection. The change that occurs from Friday to Sunday is incredible. After Jesus is crucified, every disciple is devastated, heartbroken, and left full of questions- wondering if this man they gave up their lives to follow is really who He said He was. These men hide out- and are frightened for their lives. Despite all Jesus had been trying to explain to them, they still didn't get it- they had no idea what had happened or what to do.

But after those 3 days, it's a completely different story- and it fires me up!!!! These men who, just days before, were cowardly, spineless, doubting- seriously go out ready to take on the world, ready for anything!! There is no other explanation for this- except if they truly encountered Jesus after His resurrection, and realized He meant what He'd been telling them everyday for 3 years. What else would cause such a 180 turnaround?? To the extent that they would all (except 1) be willing to die a horrible death? What would inspire such a reaction- unless they were completely convinced that Jesus is the Christ? These men spent every moment with Jesus the 3 years of His ministry. EVERY MOMENT. I can maybe fool people for a few hours that I've "got it together" or that I'm a "good person"- but what about every waking moment for 3 straight years? Had Jesus been a fraud, these men would have known. And why would they have been willing to die a martyr's death for a lie? Jesus was the real deal. And these men whose natural, human reaction is to first run away and hide- they realize what Jesus is calling them to. And they dive completely in. I try to just imagine it, and I'm overwhelmed.

I love Rob Bell's perspective of the disciples. That these men were what he calls the "not good enoughs". These men hadn't "cut it" to be rabbis- many of them were fishermen, just learning the family business. To become a rabbi back in the day, all Jewish boys started out memorizing the Torah. Then, only the best of the best went on to study and memorize the rest of the Old Testament. Seriously, that's insane. Then, the best of these, would approach a rabbi and ask to be his disciple. If they were chosen, they followed their rabbi around everywhere. They wanted not only to know what the rabbi knew, but to also to become like that rabbi. These young men would leave behind everything in their lives, to devote themselves to becoming like their rabbi. And, as you can imagine, after following around your rabbi for the entire day on dusty roads, the disciples are covered in the dust from their rabbi's feet. So there was a saying, "May you be covered in the dust of your rabbi."

Then Jesus comes into town, and He choses these B team guys to be His followers. These young men who hadn't been good enough to "make the cut" and to be a rabbi. And this is who Jesus chooses to be His followers- which is so cool :) Because His movement is for everyone!! He knows I'm not the smartest, that I don't have the best memory, that I'm overly emotional, and terrified of speaking in groups, and can be incredibly moody and selfish at times (the list could go on for a long time, but I'll stop)- and despite that, He still asks me to follow Him!!
Here's some awesome words from Rob Bell:

"The rabbi doesn't chose you unless the rabbi believes you can do what he does... What if we can actually be the kinds of people God created us to be? What if He believes that? What if He actually believes that we can be the kind of people who live like Jesus lived? The kinds of people who take action because we're aware of all these endless opportunities around us all the time for good, for beauty, for truth? Jesus has faith that you can follow Him and be like Him."

What an honor. He seeks us out, and asks us to come and follow Him. And He truly has faith that we can be like Him. May you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

10,000 Villages- and other updates on the List :)

I'm getting so excited/nervous about the 10,000 Villages festival sale this weekend!!! I went to one last year at 5th Ave. Baptist, and was so impressed with the pieces of art and with the organization itself that I asked Katherine (who hosted it last year) if she would care if I hosted one this year (because she couldn't do it). All the posters are up around town (Marshall, Starbucks, Empire Books, Pita Pit, the Y, churches), the press release was sent last week, the facebook invites were sent out- and today all the boxes arrived! I realize that I still have the majority of the work ahead of me, but I'm glad I haven't procrastinated everything as badly as I usually do :) I just found out that Marshall's fall break starts on Friday- which is a bummer because I was counting on MU students, and now they'll be leaving the day before the sale :/ But I'm not going to worry (which sort of is my forte.) Friends have been amazing to offer to volunteer their time and help work the festival- just another reminder of how blessed I am :) Anyway, the big event is this Saturday and Sunday, so we'll see how it goes!! (If you're interested in finding out more info, check out It's basically a nonprofit group that works with artisans in 38 3rd world countries and pays fair wages for the pieces.)
Other updates:
#5- I'll start with the one I'm doing poorly on :) Not only have I failed to add much to my savings, but I KEEP TAKING MORE OUT!!! No idea how this is happening... unless I have a drug habit that I'm unaware of. I really am baffled at why my money wants to run away from me so badly. Maybe the horribly messy state of the inside of my purse is scaring it away??

#10- I'm definitely not blazing a trail through the Bible, but I'm at the end of Exodus. Yes, I know- that's only the 2nd book of the Bible. But the OT is a little rough for me, and also, I did start with the New Testament, and read about 10 books in that first. But with Christmas coming, I'm now going to skip back to the NT and read some of the Gospels, to get me in the spirit of the season. The OT is hard for me to really embrace sometimes. The God in the OT seems so drastically different from the God in the NT- and I definitely prefer the loving, forgiving characteristics that are emphasized in the NT. But I have been surprised by how much I've learned, just by actually reading it through instead of skipping just to the parts that are my favorite.

#28- I tried my best to get the cool wine rack from St. James art show this year!!! The art festival is in Louisville the 1st weekend of October every year. I was so excited to finally purchase the wine rack that I've been regretting that I didn't buy 2 years ago- and the booth for that group was nowhere to be found!!! I was seriously bummed! I'm still determined to find it though- or at least one similar. It saved me $150 at least- but I'm such a penny pincher that it takes me a lot of consideration to part with that big of a chunk- and I was so ready and knew it would be worth it :/ All was not lost though- it was one of the most gorgeous days of the year, so I just walked around for a few hours and enjoyed hundreds of talented artists. And then I got to see my friend Jess, and meet her little baby Kate for the first time :) AND, I found a new project that I'm determined to make eventually. Here it is:

#52- I'm only about 120 pages into Pride and Prejudice, and I can't figure out how I made it this long without reading it before. It's definitely more enjoyable than I was expecting- and I really love that Elizabeth is so fiesty :)

#55- Just wrote Oswaldo's Christmas card. But I got a letter last week informing me that Christine and her family moved out of the area that World Vision works in, so they have no way of providing her with care anymore :( They're going to assign me another child now, but I'm still sad that I'll no longer be able to keep in touch with Christine.

#56- Christmas cards!!!!! Started these about 2 weeks before Halloween :) Still only about 1/3 of the way through, but I'm gonna make it by my Dec. 1st deadline.

#61 & #62- Hosted 3rd family night last night, and Poppi came over also. I somehow always stress myself out in the process of getting ready, and then feel exhausted once dinner's on the table. And I hate that, because then it's hard for me to fully enjoy the evening.

#64- Had the 3rd friend night last Friday, and it was so fun :) We just ate goodies that are very autumn appropriate, and sat around and talked for hours, drinking apple cider and wine.

#69- My 3rd "just because" gift was Steph's care package that we sent to Elon a few weeks ago. I always loved getting care packages in college, so I thought she'd enjoy getting some random stuff :)

#70- Revising this one. I'm now going to count the movie if it was nominated for an Oscar, or if the lead actor/actress won an Oscar. I watched Revolutionary Road the other day, thinking Kate Winslet had won Best Actress for it- and later realized she won the Oscar for The Reader. So I spent 2 hours of my life watching a terribly depressing, dark, void-of-hope movie and then it didn't even count for why I was watching it lol :) I'll admit the acting was phenomenal, but the story was so depressing- and none of the characters were at all redeeming. I just kept thinking, "These people need some Jesus."

I've added a few new goals.
#89- After my 1st marathon is now accomplished, I now want to actually run it for a good time. I'm still frustrated that I didn't do what I trained to do, and it's my worst time of any race. So I want to run one in under 4 hours... unless a baby comes along (unexpectedly) and I have to wait a little while to accomplish this.
#90- Nick's parents' neighbor had advanced cancer about 2 years ago, and they asked Nick to do a buccal swab test to see if he might be a match and be able to donate bone marrow for the neighbor. It just brought to my attention something I hadn't really thought much about before. I know this is an extremely painful process, but to be able to save someone's life would be so worth it. And I know if it was my loved one, I'd really hope people would be willing to do it. Nick already did his test and is now in some national registry, so that they can keep him on file and call him if he's needed. The kit is about $50 and has simple instructions on how to do it, and then I just mail it in. So I'm adding this to my list.
#91- Go to the memorial service at the Marshall fountain. Nick and I already did this on Saturday. I've been wanting to go for a few years now, but am usually working during the service. Since November 14th fell on a Saturday this year, I got to attend the memorial service for the Marshall plane crash. I was impressed by how many people came to pay tribute to the 75 who lost their lives, and the speakers did a great job. It reminds me why Huntington is such a close-knit community, and what they had to help each other through during those difficult days.

That's it for now!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


November 1st finally came, and I can now say that I've run a full marathon :) It feels sort of weird, since it's been a dream of mine for about 10 years now. I almost feel like I place it way up on this pedistool of things that are impossible- and with all the times I've gotten injured in the past, I really wondered if I'd ever be able to do it. I definitely did not run the time I trained for and wanted to run, so I go back and forth between being thankful and glad I accomplished it, and then sometimes crying and getting frustrated that I didn't do better.

I haven't written about my running for a while, b/c during my last long run (about 2.5 weeks before the marathon), I went out to do a 20-miler and had some issues arise. I had just bought new running shoes and wanted to break them in before race day, and the shop owner had told me they'd be fine to jump in and run a long run. So I went out and was feeling fine, until mile 17- and my IT band suddenly locked up. I don't know how to explain it to people who haven't had issues with it, but it grinds on the outside of my knee and feels like it's going to snap. So I had to walk instead of run the rest of the way back, because I've learned after 9 years of struggling with this injury that I can't run through it unless I want to take 6-8 weeks off running. So I stretched, took Ibuprofen, and iced like crazy when I got home that night. The next morning it felt terrible still, which is a really bad sign :/ It hurt even just to walk, and usually it only hurts when I run- so I knew it could be serious. I cried that morning walking Copper, I cried on the way in to work, I cried with Nick after work- I cried A LOT. I really thought all my training was going to be a total waste. I considered backing out and saving my race number until next year, when I would hopefully not have any injury. I kept going back and forth on what to do. So for the next 5 days, I didn't run at all, and I just did tons of icing and stretching- and it definitely got better- about 80% healthy. I was able to run about 5 more times before the marathon- the longest being 8.5 miles b/c I was supposed to be tapering anyway before race day. My leg still hurt some, but I decided I was going to finish the marathon if it meant crawling.

Now on to NYC :) This marathon is the coolest thing I've ever done. Nick did it in 2001, and his dad did it in 1982 and 2002- and they've both talked about it so much that I had to experience it. There were so many people from so many countries- I didn't even know what most of the languages were that I heard when I was walking around before the race. The cool thing is that Natalie and Marshall (Nick's sister and brother-in-law) live on Staten Island- where the race starts. So everyone else has to get up at 4 or 5a.m. to catch transportation to get over to the start line from the main part of the City. But we were literally 1/4 of a mile from the start, and just waited til about 30 minutes before our start time to walk over.

Marshall decided he was going to just run it with Natalie at her pace, and his friend Ian said he'd run with me, and help pace me to the 3:50- which I totally should've been able to do. So we started with my 10:00 group, and they started with the 10:20- so we said goodbye and headed to our areas. I feel like there's no way to explain how incredible this experience is, and it almost cheapens it to put it into words. But running with 43,000 people and with almost 2 million people cheering you on the whole way is overwhelming. I think my favorite part was in Brooklyn. I had just warmed up, so I took off my long sleeve shirt, and so everyone could see my name on my jersey and where Nick had written it on my arms, and everyone started yelling my name. I would say 300-400 people yell specifically for me during that race, and it helped so much. I actually got a little emotional at one point, and had to pull myself together :) People are out there handing out bananas, orange slices, tissues, gum- anything you could want. And if you run on the side, everyone (especially the kids) wants to slap your hand- my favorite part :)

I told Ian pretty early on that my IT band had started getting irritated, but I kept popping in Ibuprofen to dull the pain as much as I could. About mile 9 it got really bad, but the medicine made it a little better by mile 12/13. Then we got on 1st Avenue (about mile 16) and I was so excited b/c I knew that Nick, my parents, and Nick's parents were going to be at mile 18. It still makes me sad, b/c I thought I was supposed to look for them on the left side, and they were on the right :( So I got to 88th Street (where they were) and looked so hard and never saw them. And with so many runners, they never saw me either. It was so disheartening, because that had kept me going when I had started feeling pretty crappy and my feet had started to charlie horse. The last 7 miles were rough- I think early on in the race I was compensating for my IT band problem and so I strained the inner part of my thighs, and they started to cramp and charlie horse in the last part of the race. Or it may have just been b/c I was running a marathon which I've never done before :) It was the weirdest feeling- I've never had anything like it!!! I could go about 5-6 minutes running, and then my legs would lock up and I'd have to try to walk and rub it out- and do that all over again. I had sent Ian on ahead around mile 17, so I made it the last part of the race on my own. And I can't even express how happy I was when Nick jumped in and ran with me for about 2-3 minutes right before mile 24 :) I had been so sad about missing them at mile 17, and that was such a help to get me to the end of the race. The last few miles go through Central Park, but you're so exhausted and ready to be done that it's difficult to enjoy. But I swear, except for 1 little tunnel, there are people lining the streets the ENTIRE race and encouraging you on. And that really was so helpful for those last few miles. I couldn't believe how long it felt to get from mile marker 26 to 26.2. I swear, it seemed like that 1/5th of a mile took forever. But I finished... and then the cramping really started. After the finish line, everyone is squished in- trying to get their medals, bags with drink and food, blankets, etc. and my feet wouldn't stop charlie horsing, but I had no room to even bend down and try to fix them! Then the chaos was overwhelming, with everyone trying to connect with their families. It took about 30 minutes for me to meet up with my parents and Nick and Brian (he's an NYU journalism student who needed to do a story on someone in the race, and since he went to Marshall for undergrad, he found and interviewed me). But during that time... I ran into ANNE HATHAWAY!!!!!! NO JOKE!!! I was walking around hoping to just run into my family, and she walked by in a peacoat and sunglasses, and I turned and asked the guy behind me, "DoyouknowwhoAnneHathawayis?Doyouthinkthatwasherjustnow???" He just stared at me- either because he didn't speak English, or because I seriously said it so fast that he couldn't understand. So I thought "I'm gonna be so mad if I don't find out and if I always just wonder if that was her!" So I went back, GRABBED HER ARM (seriously???), and when she turned around I said, "I'm so sorry, I'm totally dorking out right now, but I have to know if you're Anne Hathaway." She was so nice and smiled and said yes, and then she clapped for me and said "You just ran in the race- congratulations!" !!!!!!!!! Then the woman with her (maybe her mom?) said "Her brother just ran the race too". Anyway, that was the extent of our convo- I said thank you and sorry and goodbye :) But it was so cool!!! I later realized how terrible I looked and smelled and was a bit embarassed, but oh well :)

So in summary, I'm so glad I did it, and that now I know a marathon is not this unattainable goal. I definitely don't think I'll become an addict to marathon running like many are- I'll stick to my half marathons and shorter races mostly. But I am entering my name in the lottery again to try to get in the race for 2010- or I'm at least running 1 more marathon at some point to get my sub-4 hour time. I really think I could've done it had my injury not happened so close to the race :/ But no use pouting over it! I would recommend for everyone to run the NYC marathon at least once. Even hours later after the race was over, so many New Yorkers were congratulating me and saying such nice things. It's like the runners are celebrities for the day :) I will warn you: there is so much uphill!!!!! I know- it's NYC and it doesn't seem to have hills- I thought it was exaggerated too. But the hills aren't steep- they just go on forever and you wonder if they'll ever end. 1st Avenue is about 2-2.5 miles of steady, small uphill, and then between miles 22-23 is a mile long hill. Plus, the 1st whole mile on the Verazzano Bridge is uphill, in Brooklyn there's uphill, and the Queensborough Bridge is almost 1 mile of uphill- but those are early on in the race so they don't hurt so bad.

One last funny memory- a man ran up past me, and smelled rather strong. But I had been used to the foreign men smelling a bit like B.O. (I'm not being prejudice- it's just the truth), so at first I didn't think anything of it. UNTIL I noticed that there was brown stuff all down his legs coming out of his shorts. The man totally pooed on himself!!!! Really??? Really, sir- couldn't you make a quick pitstop at a porta-potty? They're like every 1/2 mile!!! And it's not like we're elite runners here- it's not like you were going to break a world record and didn't have time to stop! Hilariously disgusting :)

I apologize if anyone actually read all this rambling. I really just wrote this for myself, so I can look back and remember what this awesome experience was like :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Adventures in the world of Activities

I will admit that my job is a bit more exciting and unpredictable than the normal office job. Working with the elderly, many of whom have dementia or Alzheimer's, provides an endless supply of strange scenarios and awkward moments.
Monday was movie day. Once a month we take a small group of ladies (not because the men aren't invited, but I think they're intimidated by being stuck with all females) out to lunch and to see a movie. I feel like I'm pretty ready for the unexpected at this point since I've had almost 4 years of this job. But days like this make me realize I'm never quite prepared enough. For the sake of HIPAA laws, I'm going use fake names for my ladies :) On our way from Wendy's into the movie theater, a couple of the women needed to make a brief stop at the restroom. So Amanda headed with them for the pit stop, and I got the other residents seated in the movie and then made my way back to help in the restroom. After several minutes and a few times of asking, "Are you doing OK in there?", I realized things weren't going as well as expected behind the stall door. Finally "Becky" fessed up and told me she couldn't get up off the toilet- which also meant she clearly couldn't reach the lock on the door to let me in so I could help her get up. A little important background info- Becky, a few months back, was stuck in a doctor's office bathroom for about an hour for this same problem. She had locked the door behind her, and was then unable to get back up after finishing her business. So, with this story in the back of my mind, and me thinking "Oh no, oh no, oh no", I try to calmly devise a plan that would not include me crawling army-style under the door on the nasty floor. So I stand up on the toilet seat next to her and look over the stall and attempt to coach her at how to rock back and forth to get momentum, and to grab onto the toilet paper dispenser as leverage to pull up on. I quickly realize this is not going to be successful. I then get up on the back of the toilet- the flusher part- and hoist myself up gymnast-on-the-uneven-bars style, and try to evaluate what my next move is. I kick one foot over to her side so that I'm straddling the divider (so thankful at this point that no one else is in the bathroom), and on my stomach I shimmy my way down toward the door. I had originally envisioned just reaching down and unlocking the door so that Amanda, my co-worker, could get in and help her. But then I see, once I'm there, that there's no possible way for me to reach down and unhook the lock without falling and breaking my neck- the lock is on the opposite side of the door (clearly, I should have gotten up on the opposite side. Stupid, stupid.) So I finally just decide to slowly lower myself down into her stall, but the side of me that's still a teenager finds this hilarious, and my hysterical laughter makes this very tough. I'm hanging from the stall with one leg dangling, the other still stuck over the divider, and my arms getting very weak from all my laughing. I had considered using the toilet paper dispenser as my midway stop on the way to the floor, but realize it probably won't hold me, and end up just dropping to the floor. Thankfully, and surprisingly, I did not land on Becky, did not break an ankle, did not pull the stall down with me, and did not wet my pants from laughing. Becky then proceeded to tell everyone for the rest of the day that I saved her life :)
THEN, with about 30 minutes left of the movie, one of the theater employees comes in and says, "Um, I think there's a lady out here that is with your group." Sure enough, I look around and one of our ladies is gone!!!! Seriously, how the hell did she get out without anyone noticing?? So I hurry out, completely embarassed since this worker must think I'm a total moron or on drugs. We go out the hallway- she's not there. Then we get out to the lobby- not there. She had made it all the way outside of the mall and was walking around!!! OHMYGOSH. I seriously am not usually this incompetent at my job- although reading this, I myself wouldn't blame anyone for thinking that. So I turned "Dixie" back around and escorted her back into the theater, down the hall, back to her seat. At the end of the movie, we were talking to her about the incident, and I asked why she had left, and she said "Really? I left during the movie? I don't know where the hell I was going" and then just laughed it off. Wow. Only in the land of retirement homes :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A little revision

So, I've decided to make a quick change on #20: "Do something 5 times a year to meet a need for someone." I initially planned on just counting times that I helped somone meet a financial need, but then wanted it to be more than just that. Then the more I've tried to figure out how to measure or judge what qualifies as meeting someone's need, the more I've realized how ridiculous this goal is. Not in the sense that it's hard to do this 5 times a year- but just the opposite- if I'm only helping fill a need for someone every few months, there's something majorly wrong!! I started thinking about how often God places people in my life to meet my needs and help me through this journey, and I realized it's countless how many times a week, even a day, that others meet my needs! Whether it's letting me borrow something, fixing something I can't figure out, sending a message or calling to pass along encouragement, listening to me vent, giving me a hug- or even reprimanding me when I need it! There are millions of ways that friends, family, strangers touch my life everyday, and I realized that it's impossible to figure out a system to judge what constitutes meeting someone else's need.

A sweet friend sent me a book called "I'm Running to Win" that she found very encouraging and thought it would help me during my marathon training. I will say I've learned the lesson "Don't judge a book by it's cover" from this book b/c on the outside, it appears very cheesy and is definitely from the early '80's. But the woman is incredible. Basically, she's an author and inspirational speaker, and suddenly decides that she feels like she's been called to run a marathon and qualify for Boston- even though she's never run before. It's basically written in blog style and is totally random- but totally inspiring. The book goes back and forth between her daily spiritual and physical struggles she faces during her marathon training. She's definitely very over-the-top, and does things like singing Jesus songs to cab drivers, but her faith is so pure and genuine that you can't help but love her :) Here's one thing I read the other day that really struck me. It's not exactly an incredible epiphany, but I really enjoy how simply she writes:

"it is as important that i contribute to your life as it is that i let you add to mine.
the most beautiful part is that God provides me... you... with people to help us accomplish His will in our lives.
He finds them and puts them across our paths in the most unexpected needy moments.
He knows exactly what we need...
and who can supply it.
people are part of God's end of the bargain when we are faithful."

It may not be the most profound thought, but I love that last line. And how humbly and also affirming that He allows us to be used in His plan for others. That HE has faith in US- to help carry out His will. It amazes me when I look back on the times God has perfectly placed certain people in my life, in a time I needed Him and them so desperately.

So, to wrap this up, I'm changing #20 to "Organize a 10,000 Villages festival"- which I'm super excited about!!! I went to one of these festivals last year and it's an awesome organization that sells handmade things and then pays fair wages to the artisans in 3rd world countries. The festival is already scheduled for November 21-22 at First Presby, so I've got things started at least! That's it for now :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Running makes me a headcase

Today I ran the longest I've run in about 8 or 9 years, and it felt awesome. Actually, the run itself- especially the last 2 miles- felt painful, but the accomplishment felt awesome :) I did 16 miles and was determined to have a good run after last week's disaster (more on that later). I feel like I've just been basically waiting to get injured, and am finally thinking "Hey, I'm gonna do it this time!!" Such a cool feeling. I went out this morning ready to kick some butt b/c I was still pissed about last week's bad run and mentally I needed a good one today. I'm such a headcase when it comes to running- seriously, Nick confirms that all the time too. I just overthink things and get freaked out or doubt myself. But he rode his bike the 1st half of the run with me which majorly helped, so that I wasn't thinking the whole time "Crap, this is a long run. I'm probably gonna get tired. I'm probably not gonna make it. This is super boring." His company made a huge difference, and also that I ate something before I ran today. I know it's stupid to go out without anything in my stomach, but I NEVER eat before my morning runs. Not even before half marathons. But I'm seeing that's not an option with this long of distance. Also just got my convenient little 10-oz. bottle that wraps around my hand with velcro, so I don't even have to stop to get drinks. Super nifty, although I feel somewhat like a toolbag running with it.

So I'm 49 days away, and really thinking I'm finally gonna do my first marathon! I'm also excited b/c I can send out my World Vision letters now. I felt bad asking people to donate if I was maybe going to not be able to run the race, but I feel like I can finally send out letters for support. I have 2 really cool running books about marathons that I've been reading that keep me inspired- "I'm running to win" and "What I talk about when I talk about running". Just a little more and I'll stop with the running stuff. Last week I went out for 15 miles, and had my first not-so-successful long run. LOL it kind of makes me laugh :) I was at about 1:40 into the run, and I was getting physically worn out since I hadn't eaten, and I had mentally defeated myself. So I stopped to get a drink at a fountain, and then started walking instead of running :/ Nick had planned to come meet me and ride the last half hour with me, and he found me 2 minutes into my walking. So I started back up after about 2 more minutes, and still felt exhausted. Then at 1:54, I was basically shuffling my feet, and I got caught on a crack in the sidewalk and fell. Not just tripped, but hardcore fell. Scratched up my shoulder and the face of my watch. And I was so tired that the fall didn't even hurt or embarass me- that's how tired I was. I walked for a few minutes and ended up running the last 10 minutes, and so I got 14 miles instead of 15. But I was so mad at myself about how things went, that I needed some redemption this week.

Haven't done a whole lot else with my goals. But I did have my family over for dinner this week, and was so excited b/c Poppi stayed to visit with us til 10pm, which is super rare :) And, I made my first cheesecake! I like to think that was a huge accomplishment, but now realize that they're not that hard. I met with out financial guy about my 403B and tried understand what exactly happens, but that stuff is like a totally foreign concept to me. I really feel like a total moron when it comes to investment stuff. But things are better than they were before with my retirement, so that task is marked off. That's it for now!!! Tomorrow's Monday, and I'm gonna have to deal with a fight that broke out during Bingo between 2 sisters- one who's 80, the other 92. No joke- one was leaving mad and went up and apparently started punching on the other one. Not my normal issues as a healthcare activity director for the elderly.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why does my body hate me?

Nothing too exciting- just wanted to keep updating my progress on my "list" to keep myself focused and accountable. Here's how it's going:
#4: marathon- This is the biggie that I've really been focused on. And right now I've had quite a set back on the marathon training :/ I've had to majorly back off the last 4 weeks from running because of an old injury flaring up- my stupid hip flexor. I started noticing it about 6-7 weeks ago, but I've struggled with it before and so I was really good about icing, stretching, using my strengthening band, and downing TONS of Ibuprofen- thinking I could make it go away. Sadly though, it kept getting worse and more irritated. So I went to my physical therapist on Friday and have been doing what he told me, and I'm hoping that I can at least start aqua running in the next day or 2. I'm trying not to get discouraged, but I only have 95 days left and if it takes much longer, I won't have enough time to train properly and be ready by Nov. 1. Good news is that Nick said since I won my number in the lottery, I can call and tell them to save me a spot for next year instead- just in case I end up not getting to do it this year. He already had to call and put his number on hold until next year b/c of a knee injury :( This aren't going exactly as planned, but we'll see!!
#7: skydiving- We're on a bit of a temporary "budget lockdown" right now, so it probably won't be anytime too soon. But we were talking about going skydiving for our anniversary present and just doing it late :) I'm so worried I'm not actually going to jump out of the plane!! I seriously try to envision it all the time so I can prepare myself for when it actually comes :) When we were flying the other day, I looked out the window and thought, "Okay, just pretend someone could open the emergency door and let me jump out right now- could I do it?" I'm such a wuss. And a nerd.
#10: read the whole Bible- I'm on my way, but it's sure not at an impressive speed. And I started at a really random book in the New Testament- 2nd Timothy. So I read from 2nd Timothy on to the end (except Revelation- I'm saving that one) and now I'm in the middle of Genesis. I know that makes no sense, but I thought if I started in the NT it might jump start me to be more motivated than just starting in the OT. I will say that I LOVE the book of James, which I hadn't really read much before.
#11: 10 new cities- 2 more to add to this one: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania and Long Beach, California. We went to PA for Matt Scherrer's wedding, which was an awesome time. We hardly much of a chance to explore the area though, b/c our flight was delayed and we didn't get in until 2am on Friday night (and then we stayed up until after 5am talking with his high school friends- meaning we slept til noon on Saturday), and then we had to leave at 6am for the airport on Sunday morning. But it was still fun :) Then we went to visit Billy out in Cali. Los Angeles was just plain stressful and too busy to even enjoy, but we loved Long Beach and Huntington Beach. Billy lived 2 blocks from the beach, and 2 blocks down on the other side was this great street full of shops and restaurants that stretched for about a mile. And best of all, we finally got to meet Val, his girlfriend!!! She is super fun :) Billy had to work a lot which sucked, but we still got a good amount of time with him. I love seeing Nick with him- it's like Billy brings out this totally different side of Nick that only exists with Bill :) Billy's apartment is a suite, so it's just 1 main room and then a bathroom, closet, and kitchen. The only furniture Billy owns is 1 bed (with black silk sheets) and a giant plasma TV and TV stand. That's it. So it was really fun at night b/c Nick and I slept in the bed and Bill slept on an air mattress and it was like a slumber party :) The weather in CA was, of course, perfect and we're ready to move there whenever the opportunity presents itself :)
#40: improve my crappy swimming form- LOL This just makes me laugh thinking about it :) When my leg first started hurting, I met Nick at the Y and he was going to swim while I did my aqua running. After I finished, I asked him to "coach" me on my freestyle swimming form. Nick swam competitively in high school and is still a great swimmer- which then just frustrates me that I'm not good. So he attempted to help me, and gave great advice. But my stubborn-ness got in the way, and I was ready to quit after about 10 minutes :) I'm really not too horrible- I just need a little work so I'll enjoy swimming.
#48: volunteer with LV each month- I've been bad these past few months. But now that Bethany and Craig are back, I know Bethany will go out there with me and that'll make it easier to be motivated :) We went on Saturday out to the land and transported a sweet dog to the Hot Dog Festival where the LV tent was set up and trying to find homes for several dogs and cats. Then we finished our shift just in time to watch the weinie dog races- my favorite Huntington event :) I seriously realized halfway through the doggie costume parade that the amount of happiness I feel about dogs is bizarre and possibly unhealthy. My sister and I are basically opposite in every other way, but we both are ridiculous when it comes to animals in general, especially dogs.
#64: friend night every 2 months- Had another craft night a few weeks ago. However, I think only 3 of us actually brought something to work on, and the rest came just to hang out. So, needless to say, no one ended up crafting- just drinking wine and eating dessert :) Still a great night!
#67: 10 new crafts- Have begun my Christmas crafting!!! I know it's a bit early, but I figure since I usually procrastinate, I better get a jump on something for the Christmas season. I'm making some ornaments I saw in a Martha magazine last year.
#70: 20 movies that have won an Oscar- This is proving a bit tougher than I originally thought, since I'm only counting movies I haven't already watched. I didn't realize that I'd seen so many of the recent Oscar winners. So I may open this up and also watch some movies from the "Top 100 movies of all time" list. Nick and I watched "All Quiet on the Western Front" because I remembered really enjoying the book in high school. Other than that, I haven't made any progress on this task.
That's it for now!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Like Flynn!!!

We just found out this past week that Nick and I BOTH made it into the NYC marathon!!!! Can't even believe it :) The chances of getting into the marathon through the lottery is 1 in 4. So the fact that we both made it in is incredible!!! We had a couple of other options- either running for charity or making one of the time requirements. But to run for a charity, you have to guarantee that you'll raise $5,000 (obviously $10,000 if we both were running for World Vision) by putting it on your credit card up front- which is quite a large sum hanging over our heads if we couldn't raise all that. And to get in through time qualifications, I think I'd have to run a 1:37 half marathon- which is hard core. I could do around 1:40-1:42 if I trained, but I'm not sure about 1:37. So, this works out perfect!!! :) And now we can still raise money for World Vision too! Oh, plus, we found out the other day that World Vision's running team is already full- so we couldn't have done that anyway!

The running itself has been going well. I've been getting motivated and back into it for about 7 or 8 weeks now. I want to have a good base built up before the actual marathon training begins to help keep from getting injured. I've tried 2 other times to train for marathons, and had injuries get in the way :/ So, I'm trying to avoid that this time. We've done a couple of 5k races lately, which I haven't actually raced that distance in years! Not super pumped about my time since it's far from my PR, but I had a 22:31 which isn't too bad. It's just sad that I'm not as fast as I used to be :/ An added bonus from the running is that I've lost some of my "winter weight" that I seemed to pile on during the cold months. So I'm getting really close to my goal number- but I know the last few pounds always take the longest to shed.

Mom and Dad's 35th anniversary was Monday, and we had a nice surprise dinner with just a few of their closest friends. That wasn't really part of the original surprise plan, but it was a great evening :) I contacted lots of my parents' friends that have been involved in different phases of their lives, and asked them to send cards or letters and to share a fun story if they could think of one. There were a lot of people who sent cards for them- a few examples are some old neighbors, a girl my mom taught in Sunday school, my mom's friend who invited my mom to Campus crusade where she met my dad :) A fun mix of people from different stages in their relationship. So I'm happy with how it turned out!

One other part of "my list" I just finished was writing one of my letters to someone I admire. My freshman year at Covenant, I had an RA named Jana Werson who was one of the most precious, genuine, loving people I've ever met. She was killed a few years ago when she went out running and got hit by a car. I googled her name and read the story, and the quotes from her parents just made me cry. They were able to show that in the midst of their pain and this tragedy, that they still had a hope that was greater than their awful situation. I know this sounds horribly depressing, but I have no doubt that Jana's heavenly Father was so ready to welcome her with open arms and tell her how honored He was by how she lived her life for Him. I've been meaning to write her parents for a couple of years now, and just tell them how much I loved Jana and how sorry I am for their loss. So I finally did that tonight. I really look forward to the day I get to see Jana again and celebrate with her :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh what a night

Wow, Nick and I had the weirdest evening ever this past Friday. And I was super excited, thinking it was going to be a very chill evening with not much on the agenda except visiting with my grandfather. Not exactly how things turned out :)
Let me just give a little background info that is important to this story. Poppi is an athiest, and Nick is definitely a fan of Jesus. Nick is always wanting to bring up the topic and have debates with Poppi, which basically makes my mom and I almost have heart attacks at the thought. Poppi- and Nick also- are both very passionate about their beliefs and also very stubborn- which I worried could make for an ugly ending. Poppi isn't just the type who's never given religion a chance- he definitely attended church for a long time with his wife and kids, and saw some really awful things happen that left him incredibly disappointed in the church. He also LOVES to read and is super smart- loves studying Science and evolution and history. And he's come to the conclusion that religion is just a way to instill fear in kids at a young age so they'll "behave" and not want to go to hell, and he believes that religion is the cause of all war. Poppi feels like most religious people, especially Christians, are hypocrites and give no thought to science and that they hide behind their beliefs to "protect" them from what they don't understand. And sadly, I'd say that's a pretty good evaluation of how many Christians are.
Now- in walks my husband- to totally crush all my Poppi's incorrect assumptions :) I don't want to be the cheesy wife who brags on my hubby- but I'm going to do that just a little :) Nick LOVES to study evolution versus intelligent design. He knows evolution forward and backwards as well as anyone else. He feels that to be intellectually credible in his own arguments and beliefs, that he needs to also study the other side. And he's so ridiculously smart and retains anything he ever reads. So I see that Poppi is reading a book called "God is not great" by Hitchens, and I'm thinking "Oh no, oh no, oh no- I hope Nick doesn't see that" because I knew he'd use it as a conversation starter. And he definitely did see it- and did use it as a conversation starter. I was so nervous the whole time- plus that fact that I didn't have much to add to the debate between these 2 geniuses- that I just prayed the same thing over and over. After we left almost 3 hours later (only about 1 1/2 hours of religious debate though), I felt so encouraged and relieved about their talk. Neither side budged on their stance of course, but it also was the most civil and friendly conversation, and they both really enjoyed it! Nick is amazing when it comes to debating. He's so good at not only presenting his side and remembering facts so well, but he's so respectful and humble and just knows how to handle people. I feel like he completely broke the mold of what Poppi's idea of the "typical Christian" is. Nick isn't a Creationist- he doesn't believe the world is only 10,000 years old, but agrees with Poppi that it's millions of years old. There were a few other scientific points that Nick agreed with Poppi on, which probably really confused Poppi, and also won him some points toward Poppi actually listening to his side. Every argument that Poppi brought up for evolution, none of it surprised Nick at all. He already knew about each point and had his own answer b/c he's studied it so much. We also had a chance to address his frustration with the church, and we both agreed with him that the church CAN be incredibly disappointing and Christians do awful things sometimes in the name of Jesus. But that doesn't mean that's a true representation of Christ. This was about the only subject I was able to chime in on, since most of the science stuff is over my head :) But Nick and I both had examples of when people who were Christians really shocked us and let us down, but that their actions are thankfully not a representation of Christ's character. I told him that when a Christian sister really hurt me and I was devastated by her actions, the Bible was just a reminder that that's what I SHOULD expect from people. And it's only in Jesus that we can fully place our faith- not His followers. Because I sure know I've had my times of being a horrible representation of my Savior, and I would hate to think I've caused people to stumble by my actions. So I hope that's something he'll take away from the conversation and really consider. I hate that Christians are so often the reason that other people run away from following Jesus. I remember hearing a quote from Ghandi- "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Ouch. Anyway, I'll stop rambling. It was a great talk- way better than I could ever have hoped for. I'm so thankful that God equipped Nick and led the conversation and I know He was there among us.
SO, after that I was an emotional wreck and fell apart. Not because the evening went badly- it was just an emotionally exhausting conversation for me to process since I pray so often for my Poppi to see the Truth about Christ. So we went to Jimmy John's and I sat outside talking and crying with my mom on the phone while Nick went in to get his food. Some advice: never eat outside Jimmy John's on a Friday night past 9pm. Our first strange encounter was a couple- both young and nicely dressed- who made up a big long story about her purse was robbed at a party, they were from Wayne and needed a bus ticket, they just wanted $4- etc, etc, etc. Well, I believed them at first and so I gave them some money- because I was too worn out to try to think of another solution or to feel like assessing if I believed their story or not. But then as they walked away, the girl turned around for the first time (she'd been sitting at the table with her back to us) and I realized she was high as a kite. Nick told me after they left that he didn't believe their story for one second- but they probably saw my puffy eyes from crying and pegged me as a sucker who they'd get some money from. Oh well.
So THEN Nick says that he'd rather people just be honest and say why they really want to bum money, and he'd be more likely to give it to them. Right on cue, not even 10 minutes later, a man walks up and tells us how he doesn't need any food or a ride, but he just wants some money to buy a drink for him and his lady at the club. Seriously?!? After Nick gave him money, he wanted to know if we're Christians and then grabs each of our hands and has us hold hands and says he hasn't done this in a while, but he wants to pray with us. We thought that part was great! He then proceeds to talk AT us (yes, we never had a chance to ever respond- he always interrupted) about who knows what for 30 minutes.
Finally, I'm ready to go, and Shawn asks Nick to give him a ride to a shady part of town. So while I'm following them, to make sure Nick doesn't get shot with this probable drug dealer, I end up getting pulled over b/c I'm driving my dad's car and the registration is 7 months expired. Again- seriously?! Wow, it was a long evening.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Life to the Fullest

Yesterday, I had some of the coolest God time that I've had in a while. I realize "God time" isn't a great technical term, but that's just what it is. There were so many things that came to my head and that I was thinking about- and for anyone who knows me, I don't have to explain that my thoughts tend to jump around a lot :) So this may not make much sense to anyone other than me and my Lord. It was strange to come away yesterday feeling full of shame, and yet, wonderfully redeemed at the same time.

I guess it started because I was talking to a friend the other day about suffering. He's going through an incredibly difficult time right now, and we were talking about the hard time I went through a few years ago, which was a similar situation. It's so hard to see someone else go through a time like this- knowing you can't "fix" it or take away the pain. So Nick and I have just been encouraging him and talking with him a lot, even though there's not much that can be done to heal this wound quickly. And then I told him the other night that now, looking back on what I went through, I'm so thankful for those terribly painful months I went through. I remember my mom's friend once said to her, "Wow, God must really love you to allow you to go through something that hard." And it's so true- it's such a privilege to go through those dark times. I had some indescribable moments with God as I was going through my pain. And I know I'm a different person as a result- although still a definite work in progress :) But it hit me, that looking back on it now, I feel so selfish about my suffering. I mean, Nick is obviously a huge blessing that came out of my whole situation- and I get overwhelmed when I realize how awesome God's plan was in preparing us for each other. But, what if something that great hadn't come out of my suffering? What if there had been no Nick at the end- no reward in this life to make it make sense? Would I not have been thankful for God leading me through that valley? Would the promise of eternity and God's grace and love not have been enough to satisfy me? I feel like I'm all the time saying to people, or thinking to myself, that God has a reason for the pain and rough times that people go through. But do I fully trust in that and live like I believe that? Am I truly comfortable in giving over my life to whatever brings Him glory- even if that means pain? It just frustrates me that I act like I deserve some reward or honor for the suffering I go through. Or that I deserve some earthly justice when I'm wronged. Is Christ's sacrifice and my eternity not enough? And was His life not full of suffering and injustice? I love thinking that one day, we're all going to look back and any pain and difficulties we faced will seem so trivial and so worth it. But it's so hard to stay focused on that in the midst of the hurting.

Then, my mind jumped, and I started thinking about how I probably screw up 99% of the time. And then in that 1% that I may actually act in a way pleasing to Him, I'm still so quick to want the credit and the glory for it, rather than for it to go to my King. My war with my flesh side is so frustrating- and I hate how I get distracted so easily from what is eternal and what my true purpose is!!! Why am I so willing to seek Him in the dark times and give Him my ugly stuff, but then be so selfish in the good times and with my talents?

And yet, despite all my failures and my sinful ways, it's impossible to ignore the Easter message and the great hope I have that's bigger than all my faults. It's our God's way of affirming us and reminding us of His amazing love. Here are some of the verses that really spoke to me:
Colossians 2:14: "He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."
Isaiah 53:5: "He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our sins,
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
And by His wounds we are healed."
(***Totally cool song called "By His Wounds" on the Glory Revealed CD)
And one of my all time favorite verses:
John 12:25: "Anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal."-The Message

What a great reminder that only in dying to His purpose can I truly live life to the fullest. I hate to wonder how often I forfeit that awesome opportunity by simply getting distracted and sucked into the world's idea of living to the fullest. Thank you Jesus, for your incredible sacrifice. Forgive me when I'm so quick to forget the price you paid. And may I be willing to give you my glory as well as my sins.

I just want to end with some of my favorite lyrics ever, from Bebo Norman:
"Take my voice, and pour it out,
Let it sing the songs of mercies I have found.
For I have nothing, I have nothing, without you.
All my soul needs,
Is all your love to cover me.
So all the world can see that I have nothing, without you"

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My 28th Birthday Skating Party :)

This weekend, Nick had a surprise skating party at Skateland for me :) Which really makes me laugh to think that I had my 28th birthday party the same place I had my 8th birthday party. It was super fun, and I'm ashamed to admit that I was a little sore the next morning. There was also a delicious Dairy Queen cake involved (2 cakes actually- due to some miscommunication), which made the festivities even better. So I now can mark off my #82 "Host a roller skating party" from my list. Other updates for my list:

-#32 "Confront people who need to be confronted." I'm getting better at this one, and this past Saturday was my biggest one yet. I'll try to make this short. Nick's in charge of the church basketball league, and so I've seen lots of the games in the past few months. Our team was playing FAB's team, and I have some frustration with their coach. There's a guy on their team who LOVES basketball and is at every one if their games. I see him coming or going at the Y all the time to play basketball. However, the last time Nick played their team, I noticed that the guy never once got in to play. Not for a second!!! And the next time, I found out they had only put him in for about a minute at the beginning, and then I saw him go in for the last 15 seconds of the game- since they had already sealed the win. Needless to say, I was furious!!!! Of all places, the church should not be the place where someone feels left out or inadequate. It had seriously bothered me so much, and I'd even made sure that Nick had sent a message out saying that all players must get play time each game. I feel like it's also important to note that things are a little harder for this guy- that he's slightly mentally challenged- which makes me feel even more protective. So, this Saturday Nick was playing FAB again in the tournament, and the coach didn't put the guy in the entire first half of the game. I had told my friend Ashley about the situation, and had already warned her and Nick that I was going to give the coach a piece of my mind at the end of the game if he seriously left the guy out again. But at half-time, Ash pointed out that I should say something now instead of wait- since something could actually be done about it now, but not at the end. So I marched across the floor to his bench, and immediately I felt myself tearing up and my mouth started quivering. I hate that!! No matter how mad I am about something or how much I've "practiced" what I'm going to say- I always get emotional when the actual time comes to let it out. Anyway, so I basically just told him that I've seen this go on for several games and thought it was unfair what he was doing and that it just really upset me. He explained that the 1st half of the game was just so rough, but that he'd play him a lot the 2nd half. (Sidenote: I don't know much about basketball, but I do know that in any close game, the 2nd half is always rougher than the 1st! So I think that excuse was shenanigans.) Anyway, he did end up getting to play for about 3 minutes the 3rd quarter, and about 3-4 the last quarter- which was way more than usual. I have no idea if what I said made any difference, but I'm just glad I said something instead of always wishing I'd said something. That coach probably thinks I'm a bitch (especially since I started the conversation out, "I'm sorry, I don't mean to be a bitch, but...")- but I still think he was wrong for what he'd been doing. Sorry- that was long.

#34- I just wrote an email today to someone at Marshall about leading Zumba classes. I heard a rumor that they're looking for new instructors, so I figured I should at least check into it!

#43- I'm a blood donating reject!!! I tried to go to the Red Cross and got myself all pumped up for it- only to get turned down :/ Apparently, my iron level was not high enough! Seriously, who gets turned down for giving blood??? So, I guess I'm just gonna have to work on getting my iron up. Clearly, my 2 weeks of being a vegetarian will have to be at a different time than my blood donating. I just hope I can get myself motivated to go again, b/c it seriously stresses me out to think of the needle!!!

#57- Erin just gave me a certificate for my bday to go to the culinary institute to make sushi! So excited!!!

#75- Have started working on this, but don't want to spoil anything in case my parents stumble onto this website.

#48- Got rejected AGAIN. Tried to go out to Little Victories to drop off supplies and do some work- and the lady basically said they didn't need anything done. I asked if I could exercise the dogs and play with them, and she said sure. But then she realized the building was locked, and I guess wasn't motivated enough to just get the key for me. Seriously, the building is less than a minute walk from her front door- but I still somehow left doing nothing except dropping stuff off.

#27- So today is my 36th day- almost there! However, I forgot that Lent is not just 40 days- it's like 46 b/c it doesn't count Sundays. I plan to go til Easter, but I have 1 thing I need to buy- a new zipper. I took a pair of my pants and a shirt b/c the zippers are broken- and I thought this would be fine since it's not buying anything, it's just fixing something I already have. But for the shirt, they need me to bring in a zipper to match it. So, I think what I'm gonna do is wait til the 40 days is up and buy the zipper. And then I'll still wait until Easter before I buy anything else. I realize this is a little OCD and legalistic, but I'd really like to make it all 40 days and not feel like I cheated.

That's the main stuff for right now. Hopefully I'll get a little more accomplished this next week! On a totally different subject, I had a great morning run this morning in the yucky drizzle :) It feels good to be getting back into it and to be motivated again. One teensy step closer to a marathon! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh Well

So last night I was looking through the World Vision gift catalog, and realized I'd made a horrible error in one of my goals. I thought I could purchase a well through W.V. for $1,800- but I apparently overlooked one of the 0's at the end of the number, which was a very important 0. It completely changes the amount to $18,000 instead of $1,800!!!! So I sadly must admit that I'm probably not going to be able to buy a well now- at least not soon. However, they have so many other cool things in the catalog that I could do instead. One thing that really caught my eye was the mosquito nets, which are only $20. But I may set a goal of buying 50 of those and then something else cool too. We got a call a few months ago that one of Nick's World Vision kids died of malaria at age 14, and it seriously broke my heart. I was amazed at how much it affected me and saddened me over the next few days, considering I had never even met the boy. The woman said that his parents didn't realize how serious the illness was, and that he could have been treated if he'd gotten to a good hospital in time. It's just so hard I think for us to comprehend not just having a hospital right down the street, or not having access to incredible doctors and medical care. It's so unfair that what I spend on gum and soda each month could completely change the lives of people in another country. So I think my new goal will be mosquito nets.

This weekend, Nick and I were in Tucson for his company's rewards program which was amazing!!!! We stayed at Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort and I was blown away by the service we got. The weather was perfect, and I seriously just laid out, read, ran, golfed with Nick (meaning I drove the cart around the course), and got a facial and massage :) Sadly, I did not finish Twilight yet b/c I got so into a book called The Shack. But I'm only 100 pages away from finishing Twilight. We met some really fun other NAPA people at the dinners, which was nice since most of the people weren't even close to our age. I was seriously afraid no one was going to talk to us all weekend b/c we were the babies of the group. But it ended up to be a great time :)

The bad news is that I skipped eating a fruit or veggie for one day and broke my streak, so now I have to start over :/ I had been doing so well and just had like 11 days left. But it was my bday and we had been traveling all day long and when we got home I just wanted to go to bed. I even had an apple in my bag!!! And as I was climbing into my cozy bed ridiculously early at 9pm, I thought about it and considered going to eat the apple- but was just too pooped. So I now must start over- grrr.

This week I'm having friends over on 2 nights- tonight for FPC Soup Night, and on Friday the girls are coming for HSM night. Several of us are wanting to see High School Musical but feel dorky, so we're all watching it together :) It was also supposed to be the night I learned to bake an apple pie from scratch, but that's gonna have to be another night now. Meg is an award-winning apple pie maker (seriously- she's really won a contest) and I'll admit that I'm not usually a fan of apple pie but LOVE hers. But she has to come late, so we'll just save the baking for a later date. So I haven't gotten to mark off anything big on my list this week, but have gotten my massage for this year, gone to 1 new city, almost finished Twilight, and am hosting 1 of my get togethers. Not incredibly inspiring, but not too bad either :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Valentine's Day Goat

Well, this week was semi-successful in getting started.
-I cooked 2 new dinners, so that's a good start for my #33.
-#27 and #54 I started on and have been able to stick with so far. It makes #27 much easier simply by not going anywhere like the mall where there are things to buy. Although, I may have 1 obstacle: my car. I got my sweet Alero for my 21st birthday. She was only a year old and had been totaled by the previous owner, and my dad had a friend who fixed her up and we got her for $6,000- mom and dad helped me and paid half. Well, she's not feeling quite as perky these days, and she quit on me 4 times while I was driving the other day. It's a miracle that we didn't get in a wreck since 2 of the times it happened right in the middle of driving and I had to come to a complete stop, put it in park, and start her back up (the other 2 times were at stop lights at least). So I'm either going to have to pay for new parts to get her fixed, or, as Nick is encouraging me to do- get a new car :/ But I guess this will still be okay since technically it would fall under "things I need". I'd just rather keep the Alero for a little longer and have no idea what kind of car I'd like to have.
-#48- Ashley and I went out to the Little Victories land to walk and play with some of the sweet dogs this weekend. I wanted to go back again and spend more time out there helping around the land, but it's so freakin' cold that I couldn't bring myself to do it.
-#55- I wrote Oswaldo a letter, but haven't sent it or his care package yet. And as most people close to me know, the mailing part is sadly sometimes the hardest part for me. I'm not really sure why it's such an issue for me to actually send mail. I love picking out cards and writing them or writing letters to people, and will even put the stamp on. But somewhere along the way to actually mailing it, something goes terribly wrong. And I'll find the piece of mail 8 months later in my house or car. I realize it's not serving its purpose and not doing anyone any good there, but it just happens. It's like I'm postally-challenged or something.
#3- Things went well with my student at our first meeting. And I'll meet with him every Monday at the library.
#14- I'm LOVING the Twilight book. I'm only about 150 pages in, and despite my resistance, I really am enjoying the book. Only problem is that I'm reading too much all at once: "Chasing Harry Winston", "The Reason for God", "Girl with the Pearl Earring", "Confessions of a Shopaholic", "Jesus Wants to Save Christians", and finally "Twilight". Wow. Have I mentioned I have issues over-committing??? I hope to finish 2 of the books in the next few days at least!

I guess that's about all I've done this week for my list. This weekend Nick and I are celebrating our Valentine's Day :) Nick's bff Billy has come to visit us the past 3 weekends (including Valentine's Day), so we've postponed our "celebration" until this week. Billy's in Columbus for a little bit while interviewing for new jobs, so he comes to Huntington on the weekends to play in the basketball games and hang out. It's been great since Nick and Bill usually live so far away, and life is definitely always entertaining with Billy around :) So anyway, we're just going away for Saturday to go to a nice restaurant and stay in a hotel about 2 hours away. He already gave me my Valentine's gift, and it's one of my favorite ever- a goat :) Not that we have a goat living in our apartment now- but he bought me a goat through World Vision. I just told him I didn't want him to spend a bunch of money on flowers or candy or the usual gifts, when it could go to something more lasting. Don't get me wrong- it's not that I don't like flowers or romantic gifts (I made sure Nick understood this point too lol) But I was just really convincted at the time that that money could go to something bigger instead of for me to look at some pretty flowers for a few days and then have them die soon after. I've never been a big fan of the media's version of Valentine's Day and love. Not to sound hateful or like an angry feminist. I just think it's such a predictable, cheapened, watered-down version of what love really looks like. And it means so much to think that Nick's gift went to changing a family's life and giving them hope. I'm sure that in the near future I'll get the itch and want some tulips or peonies, but for now I'm so thankful for a husband who thinks outside of the box for gifts :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2 Down, 999 To Go :)

I haven't gotten a huge jump on things as much as Ashley has :), but I'm on my way. Here's what I've started on to get me to my goal:
#2- Ashley, aka one of the most thoughtful and generous people I've ever met, bought me a kit to teach myself how to knit :)
#4- We registered for the NYC marathon today!!! We won't find out until June if we got in yet, but I did what I could! If I don't get into the lottery for that marathon and if we can't raise enough money to get in through the charity program, I think I may to the Chicago in October, or maybe do the San Diego or San Fran Rock N Roll marathon.
#14- I have the first Twilight book, but have only read 10 pages :) I'm sort of in the middle of 3 other books and didn't want to get into another one yet. But I finished one of the books today, so I'm getting closer!
#3- I meet my student tomorrow for the first time :/ I'm not gonna lie- I'm a little nervous!!
#27- I start this on Wednesday. Selfishly, I'm not really looking forward to this too much. But I know it'll be a great practice for me and will be a great reminder of how blessed I/we really are. The one thing I hate is that my birthday falls right in the middle of the 40 days, and also that we'll be out of town in Tucson during this time. So I know that since we have no shopping in Huntington, it'll be so tempting to shop while out of town!!! It's amazing that I/we are basically able to buy whatever we want, whenever we want- and to exercise some restraint in this area will definitely be good for me. It's sometimes shameful how we live compared to the majority of the world. Not only do I never lack for food or shelter or warmth, but sadly I often waste money on unnecessary things that are impulse purchases. OK, enough about that- I'll get off my soapbox.
#11- Nick and I are taking an amazing trip in 2 1/2 weeks to Tucson- and I'm so excited!!! :) I had never been to AZ in my life until this January when I went to Phoenix- and I LOVED it. And now we're going again, 2 months later. His company is sending us there Wed-Sun, and I basically will be lying around, reading, enjoying the sun, and running in the perfect weather all weekend :) And getting a wonderful Swedish massage, all on NAPA's tab! Thank you, car part buyers!!! So that will be the first of my 10 new cities to visit. And just to make it even better, it just happens to be the same weekend as my birthday!
My list is obviously not finished yet. But I figured I'd rather leave it how it is and add things as I go along, rather than rush my list. OK, we're getting ready to leave so I'll wrap up for now! I hope to update this weekly- to help keep myself focused and accountable to reach all my goals.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Here goes nothin'!

Well, I'm just gonna be honest. I enjoy occasionally reading other people's blogs, but never thought I had enough interesting stuff to write about. At least, not enough to write outside of my journal where other people could read all my thoughts and dorky stories. It's not often that I have some great revelation to share, and Huntington sure doesn't have much exciting stuff that happens. But I'm doing this "101 things in 1,001 days", and I guess you're supposed to create a blog to go with it. So, here's mine :)
I'm not officially starting my 1,001 days until February 20th, so I still have a few days. Plus, I'm only on like #78 with my list- so I need to hurry my butt up and finish my goals. But I wanted to play around on here a little before starting the project. Tonight was pretty exciting b/c I finished my Literacy Tutor training, and I'm beyond excited to meet with my reader!!! I don't think I can write anything about him b/c I'm pretty sure the stuff is confidential, but I'm so excited for this opportunity :) And I can already tell this is going to be an awesome experience, even though I'm a little nervous. Seriously, I'm not sure that 6 hours of training makes me capable of teaching someone how to completely go from not being able to identify letters, to passing the GED. But I'm ready to give it my best! Anyway, this is enough for tonight. The tutoring will obviously be one of the first goals I work on accomplishing. And maybe I should add "Trying not to trip and fall after the age of 27" since I just about broke my wrist and face on my front porch a few minutes ago. Geez. I'm never going to escape my dorkiness.