Archive | February, 2008

Hobby Rant

29 Feb

I’ve been bothered lately that I don’t really do any of the activities that I say are my hobbies. I like scrapbooking–haven’t done it since August. I like writing–that is like pulling teeth. I like cooking–I use being tired and not having enough grocery money as excuses to not do this often (although this is one thing that I do still do).

So tonight, I finally made my personalized travel coffee mug all cutsy (until now, I had been using the insert that came with it). You have to see all three angles: the front, the side, and the other side (it’s round). Isn’t it cute? The pictures aren’t so great because of the glare and I didn’t want to go to the trouble of taking the paper out again (because it isn’t very easy to get in there).

But there is one hobby of mine that I do on a very regular basis (nearly every day) but I feel like I would get scoffed at if I actually said I enjoyed it…exercise. I really enjoy exercise. I like going to the gym, I like lifting weights, I like running (except in CO where the air is so freaking thin!), I like feeling healthy and strong.

But there’s this aura of jealousy and sabotage surrounded weight loss efforts and health. It’s the reason why overweight co-workers jump on the free food in the lunch room and get disgruntled when I don’t. (My fellow Nesties know what I’m talking about–www.thenest.com) Anyway, I’m not going to get on that soap box.

Actually, I am. Why do people think that they can comment on healthy choices, making the person feel like they’re being stuffy and boring by eating right, saying “Wow, a salad, you’re being so good today.” I mean, it would be a major faux pas if I said, “Wow, you’re eating a really big burger. You’re being so bad today.”

And it’s not just limited to food choices either. I had a person at work (who happens to have a louder personality) ask me the other day if I was “always this quiet.” I replied, “No, I just don’t say anything if I have nothing to say.” For a couple days after that, I was really bothered. What if I asked that person, “Are you always this loud?” They made it sound like it was a bad thing that I don’t talk all the time. Being shy/quiet has been a source of beef with me since I was little. People always say I’m shy but I correct them saying, “I’m not shy, I’m just quiet.” There’s a big difference between those two, believe me.

Man, what happened here? I came to post my new coffee mug and I got riled up. Sorry.

Picture Perfect Success

28 Feb

For my job as Creative Resources Coordinator, I work a lot with pictures of our resources. Who would’ve thought, right? Well, the whole desktop publishing/Photoshop thing isn’t my training. I know more about it than the average Joe (or Josephina in my case I guess) but overall, it’s been “Here’s what you have to do…figure it out as you go.”

So I was very proud of myself today when I made a collage of our conference preview incentives. I downloaded the product images from their respective websites, made a logo with transparent background, placed the logo on the product, made the product’s background transparent (that alone is a feat for me), AND placed all the products into one file as a collage. And the collage had an transparent background. Man I’m good!! At the end of it all, I really couldn’t believe that I had done it. I’m learning!

I also devoted my time tonight (since Travis is still gone) to updating my Picasa web album with all the pictures that had just been sitting on my computer that I never use anymore (because it is slower than molasses). So check them out! Voila–pictures galore!

My judgment of movies = bad

26 Feb

I always get on Travis’ case about never letting me choose the girly movie that I want to see. He absolutely refuses to go near a movie that even remotely looks like a chick flick (although I am going to make him watch Pride and Prejudice with me once we get it from Netflix).

So I enjoy the freedom to watch whatever movie I want when Travis is gone. But I’ve noticed that my choice of movies isn’t so great. Maybe I’ve just had a run of bad luck (or most likely it is just that Netflix doesn’t have many good movies to watch instantly on the computer) but the past 2 movies I’ve seen have been horrible.

Granted, the first bad movie I watched was Perfect from the 80s starring none other than Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta. It’s about a Rolling Stones reporter (Travolta) who falls in love with an aerobics instructor (Curtis) while writing an expose on the health club industry–or shall I say “the singles bar of the 80s.” I just about threw up during the aerobics class scenes. There is more pelvic thrusting in that movie than I have seen in my entire life. Yuck.

I just finished the second bad movie–Suburban Girl with Alec Baldwin and Sarah Michelle Gellar. I thought it looked like a cute movie, other viewers rated it well. But the story has no real plot. The whole relationship between Baldwin and Gellar is immoral and juvenile. She’s a young associate editor for a publisher and he’s an editor-in-chief for a huge publishing house. She wants to learn about life; he wants to teach about life. He is a closet alcoholic who incidentally slept with her boss. She’s a weak little girl who wants nothing less than to prove to her dad and the world that she can take care of herself. Blah blah blah blah. The whole movie is boring. Like my Venezuelan profesor de cine used to say, “Fue un flop.”

So maybe Travis’ taste in movies–and the fact that I rarely get my way when it comes to the girly movies–is a good thing. I would be wasting a lot of time otherwise watching crap on the ‘puter. Time that I could be spending writing crap on the computer.

Speaking of writing, I can find no motivation to write more of my memoir. I worked on it this past Saturday but that time was spent retyping what I had already written (and lost, thanks to my hard drive crashing) and rereading what I had written in my journals back in 2004. I know that it’s probably just a case of writer’s block but when I only have a limited amount of time in the first place (because of that darn full-time job), sitting down to force myself to put words on a page (that I don’t intend to immediately post on the web for public viewing) just seems like too much to ask.

Attempting the possible?

25 Feb

So Travis and I decided that we’re going to run the Colorado Half Marathon in Fort Collins on May 4, 2008. Yikes!

I have been running more lately but I’m still only up to 3 miles. I can do this though! Back in 2006, I went from running 2 blocks in August to 10 miles in November. So I know I can physically do it–but can I do it mentally?

I have found that running is more of a mental sport than a physical one. True, there are a lot of physical ailments that go along with running (lost toenails, torn muscles, shin splints, sore calves, chafe like no other). But for me, the days that I struggle most with running are the days that I either don’t feel like running or I’m being a wimp and telling myself “I can’t do this…it’s too hard…I just want to walk.”

Anyway, today is the first day of my Hal Higdon training program. Mondays are for “stretching and strengthening.” When I told Travis what I was going to do today, he said, “Aren’t you ever going to run?” because I did the elliptical yesterday at the Y instead of running and then I’m not running again today.

It’ll come! Tomorrow I run 3 miles, Wed is 2, Thurs is 3, and Sunday is FOUR! I have only a little more than 2 months to prepare. Wish me luck!

Random side note: Last night after we went to the Y, we stopped by the grocery store. There were Girl Scouts outside selling cookies so naturally, we bought 2 boxes–samoas and thin mints. Both have chocolate! I’m going to hide my half in the freezer though because I know that Travis will eat them all otherwise.

Ten random observations of Colorado (by a Minnesotan)

21 Feb

1. The same street can have two completely different names. On one side of the intersection, it’s South Boulder Road and on the other side, it’s Table Mesa Drive. Makes it kind of hard to follow directions.

2. They never plow the roads when you need them to and they do plow them when the snow is gone.

3. They’re not very creative with street names. The same name, for example Arapahoe, is used in any combination they can think of: Arapahoe Street, Avenue, Road, Boulevard, Circle, Square, Lane, Pathway, Alley, Sidewalk, Gutter, etc.

4. They named the road in front of our apartment Table Mesa Drive. Mesa means table in Spanish. So technically they named the street Table Table Drive. ???

5. No matter what the temperature, Coloradoans always complain about it being cold outside. It can be 65 and sunny and they’re still complaining. Try living in Minnesota for a week. That’ll shut you up.

6. There are organic, overpriced grocery stores everywhere and they’re just as big as the regular grocery stores. There are literally four in Boulder alone. I personally have not yet stepped foot in one, anywhere.

7. It must be a hoppin’ auto market out here because I see more people driving around with the registration paper taped to their back window than I do people with actual license plates. (When you buy a car and are waiting for the registration to be processed by the DMV, you put the paper in your back window…we are one of those people.)

8. People regularly drive under the speed limit. This is unheard of in Minnesota. Absolutely unheard of. Are people just happier out here? More laidback? Or maybe their feet are lighter on the gas pedal because of the higher altitude?

9. Everybody loves to talk about how the weather is so great in Colorado. Except for this winter. And last winter. And the winter before that. Well, the weather is great in theory at least.

10. I love Colorado: 300 days of sunshine…………….5 days of winter.

Choco-nuts!

20 Feb

Just a little side note: I didn’t really notice how much chocolate I had been eating until I stopped eating if for Lent. It’s everywhere and I ate a lot of it! And as much as I have desired some–and been offered chocolate chip cookies, Milano cookies, expensive chocolate/hazelnut things, and even made a giant chocolate chip cookie for my husband–I haven’t caved! Only 32 more days to go!!

A heavenly country

20 Feb

Everyone has their own interpretation of heaven. Some people think that it’s an endless expanse of sky with white puffy clouds and nothing to do but play harps and eat Philadelphia cream cheese. Others think that heaven doesn’t exist at all. Once you leave earth, there’s nothing. Or maybe they think that heaven is part of earth, like the white sandy beaches of the Cayman Islands. Some people might think heaven is whatever you loved on earth all together in one place, like in the movie What Dreams May Come.

But for Christians, it’s none of those things. Instead, it’s a city where the streets are gold and there are no lamps and no sun; nevertheless, it is always day because the light of the Lamb reaches to all places. It’s the presence of God, intimate and forever. It’s no longer having sinful flesh but rather, gloriously resurrected bodies. It is perfection beyond any human expectation or imagination.

That’s what I have to look forward to. That’s what makes my life here on earth worth living and indeed, worth enduring. Even though my daily troubles seem puny compared to the human suffering I hear and read about–like just tonight, I read about female genital mutilation in countless third world countries–my life wouldn’t be worth living if I didn’t have such an end. I am always confounded by those who don’t believe that anything happens when we die. My roommate in college believed that. What do we have to live for if there is nothing after this life?

Moreover, if the glorious new earth described in the book of Revelations is not true, and if Jesus Christ did not die and rise again for the forgiveness of sins, we who are Christians have nothing to live for either. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15: “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” Christians–and I believe all people–need something to live for beyond this life. For “…If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people to be pitied,” because this life is hard and messy.

I have felt that truth about life living out in Colorado. I love my job and the people we’ve met and I’m with my wonderful husband. So I have a lot to be thankful for. But I miss my friends more than anything. Humans were made for community. Not just Christians but humans in general. I believe that God designed us to need each other. So leaving behind my very best friends has been very hard.

I feel at times like Travis and I are going through life alone, just the two of us vs. the Great Big World. It may be because when we became Christians 4 years ago, the first Body of believers we plugged into was a group fully bought into the value of discipleship. We had the importance of one-on-ones and intentional relationships drummed into our heads day after day. And I loved it. I loved being in a discipleship group and meeting once a week with a group of my girlfriends. We talked about boys, bodily functions, random things, and the Bible. We related our insecurities, our longings, our struggles, our joys and successes. I felt so close to those girls, not only because we shared the bond of the Spirit but because they bared their hearts to me and I to them.

But out here, I have not found this. I have met some great women through our church that I am excited to get to know. But it seems that the potential of that deep relationship forming is small when we only get together once every other week and everyone has husbands, kids, and full-time jobs. It looked different as a college student in a campus ministry.

So I have been delighted by the reminder of my real home: heaven. C. S. Lewis writes in his book The Great Divorce, “I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find that what he abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) has not been lost: that the kernel of what he was really seeking even in his most depraved wishes will be there, beyond expectation, waiting for him in the ‘High Countries.'” The fellowship I so desire, the bridge over the gap in human intimacy and vulnerability, will be waiting for me in heaven. And more than that, it will be beyond expectation: all believers will be together in perfect union as we worship and adore the Lamb of God forever.

Humility and prayer

16 Feb

Yesterday I had a meeting with the “big wigs” (so to speak) at my company and a marketing consultant. We were discussing our branding/marketing strategy. My boss seemed a little anxious about the meeting–she just really wanted it to go well.

So I was a little anxious too. I read branding terminology as I ran on the treadmill. We went to the meeting a little early to discuss branding and marketing before the consultant showed up. And the meeting went really well. The consultant was very easygoing and since there were 6 of us there, there wasn’t really a spotlight at all. It was the longest meeting I’ve ever been in–it went from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm. I liked it because it made the day go by really fast.

But the thing that quieted my heart the most was knowing that it wasn’t my preparation or knowledge–or my boss’–that would make the meeting go well. It was God’s sovereignty. I knew I could trust Him with it all. When I was tempted to continue reading my branding glossary at breakfast instead of the Bible, I reminded myself of that truth and got in the Word instead of relying on myself and my own efforts.

As I sat there not knowing what to read and feeling anxious against my will about the meeting ahead of me (as well as the other work I had on my plate), a verse popped into my head about anxiety. 1 Peter 5:6-7– “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”

As I read that, I realized that my anxiety over the coming day was a form of pride. I was assuming that I knew how the day should go and that my worrying and thinking about it would aid in it going that way. This verse shows the correlation between humility and prayer. So often, I don’t bring my anxieties before the Lord. I do remind myself of truth but because I don’t cast my anxieties on the Lord, I still retain control over the situation. I don’t have to acknowledge my dependence on Him. I don’t have to humble myself before the Lord.

But I see in 1 Peter 5 that one of the ways I humble myself before God is bringing my cares and anxieties before Him, committing them into His hand, entrusting the outcomes to His gracious and sovereign will. And not just in theory or in thought but in action and in words. Prayer comes out of a humble heart. And a humble heart naturally moves to prayer. Because when we are willing to recognize and acknowledge our own insufficiencies and weaknesses next to God’s sufficiencies and strengths, we are not only humbled, we are also moved to prayer.

Grammatical Twilight Zone

14 Feb

This past Sunday, the pastor at my church gave his message about the need for giving and receiving loving correction in the believer’s life. Over and over again, he emphasized how much people “need rescued.” When he first said that, I was like “Did he really just say that? He must’ve made a mistake…” Then he said it again. I wrote it in the margin of my notebook and showed it to Travis. Then he said it AGAIN. I glanced at Travis and laughed a little. What was this guy saying? I had never heard anyone say that before. I wanted to say, “Uh, I believe it should be “People need rescue…?”

As much as I love our new church out here, Travis and I have some issues with the pastor. His teaching is doctrinally sound and theologically correct for the most part. He just doesn’t have the greatest delivery, so to speak. Maybe it just clashes with my personality. And Travis’. It probably doesn’t help that we came from John Piper’s church in Minneapolis, who is probably one of the best preachers alive right now. I miss going to that church…

Anyway, so imagine my surprise yesterday when I was in a meeting with my boss and the same stupid phrase came up. We were looking over the handouts I had created for a speaker’s presentation at an upcoming convention. One of the points in his notes said, “People need rescue.” So far, so good. Then my boss said, “Isn’t this supposed to be ‘people need rescued?'” I told her I didn’t know–up to that point, I had only heard the phrase once and I had assumed it was because my pastor was a little “off.” But the fact that my boss had brought it up as well…that really rocked my world.

So this morning I was working on the handouts again, tweaking them a little before converting them to PDFs. I googled the phrase “need rescued” and found a lot of different sites–granted they’re on the internet where any moron can publish anything (like this blog!)–that use this phrase. I feel like I’m walking around in a daze now. This beats the time that my younger brother proved to me that “negate” was a word when I swore it wasn’t (that happened a lot unfortunately).

Since when did this universe start saying “People need rescued!?!?!!” Can’t we just say “People need to be rescued.” or “People need rescuing.” Anything but “need rescued.” I can’t take it.

This experience reminds me of the scene in Never Been Kissed when Drew Barrymore’s younger character gets invited to the prom by Billy. She says, “I don’t know what to say. I’m actually speechless. That never happens to me because words are my life!!” I am speechless as well, but more out of horror and shock, rather than excitement and anticipation.

What is this world coming to?

Valentine’s Day Cookie

12 Feb

Travis was gone yesterday and today on a work trip. The perfect time to get his Valentine’s Day present ready–a giant chocolate chip cookie heart with chocolate frosting and red hots. (See my Valentine’s Day Cookie).

If the cookie looks good to you, you’re right–it is good. Since I gave up chocolate for Lent, it was a test of willpower to bake this scrumptious cookie. This was actually my second attempt. The first one, I shaped exactly how I wanted it before I put it in the oven–so it came out looking like a circle pretty much. The second time around, though, I got smart and made the shape very exaggerated. And it came out good!

Anyway, back to the first attempt. It was all gooey in the middle and fell into about 12 different pieces as I tried to scrape it off the pan. And then I had all this chocolatey gooey goodness sitting there on the counter staring me in the face. It was screaming “Eat me! Eat me!” I even felt my fingers twitch. But I didn’t do it! I didn’t eat chocolate! I am so proud of my willpower (because usually I don’t have much when it comes to baking).

I am, however, going to freeze the chocolatey gooey goodness until after Easter. Then I am chowin’ down!