Archive | May, 2008

A weekend adventure

30 May

Travis and I are going backpacking this weekend with some friends. I’ve never been backpacking before but I got to buy a brand new backpack (it’s orange and I love it–out of all the backpacks I tried on during our 9-month “research period,” this one fits me the best by far) so I’m pretty pumped about that. I always love buying new stuff and using it for the first time.

Anyway, tonight we’re camping near the trailhead (and near our car) and then tomorrow we’re off on a 4-mile adventure. Not the longest hike but long enough for my first backpacking trip. I’m just a little worried about the whole food sitch. I tend to have a voracious appetite at times, especially out hiking. BUT like Travis said, nothing like a camping trip to make you lose a few. I’ll try reminding myself of that when my stomach is growling and tree bark is starting to look pretty tasty.

More reflections on contentment

29 May

Since I’m on the subject, why not a few more thoughts?

My boss, Carol Ann, reads from The Message translation. I’ve enjoyed it–it’s like reading a fun book, only it’s the Bible–and think I’m going to buy that version as a complement to my ESV Bible.

I read through Philippians today on my lunch break and while many verses stood out to me, I thought these applied to what I’ve been blogging about recently.

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 3:8-9

What to do from this verse: Meditate on the beautiful, not the ugly. Dwell on all the things I love about my appearance–my eyes, legs, back–and all the things my body can do–run, hike, bike, play tennis, give hugs, cuddle. Think positive thoughts and your attitude will be positive.

Along those lines, another verse I loved was “Celebrate God all day, every day.” Wow, that is a powerful thought! 

The other verse that really caught my attention was 

“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 3:11-13.  

Whatever I have…I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I can make it through not having what I think I should have. I can be content whatever my circumstances–even if I lose a leg and can never exercise again. Even if I develop a thyroid problem and gain 50 pounds. Even if I’m in a car accident and 90% of my body gets burned but I live.

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on

And there will an end to this trouble but until that day comes

Still I will praise You, Still I will praise You

 

 

Further reflections on contentment in God

28 May

What is my driving passion in life? Like many questions, the answer is my appearance—body image, weight, exercise. Greg said that it’s easy to do something in the name of Jesus and think that you’re worshipping God through it—but you’re not. I can tell myself that taking care of my body through diet and exercise is glorifying to God—which it is, in theory—but is that really the reason I do it? No, it’s not.

 

Yesterday, I felt like I had eaten a lot. So last night before dinner, instead of trusting God and believing that I am beautiful to Him regardless of how many calories I eat or what I weigh, I logged on to The Daily Plate and entered everything I had eaten. It came out ok so I was relieved. But a tiny inkling of guilt began to grow in my heart.

 

 How did I justify logging on when I knew I shouldn’t? I told myself, “It’ll make me feel better when I see that there’s nothing to worry about.” But I knew I was disobeying God. Why? My conscious betrayed me. I was putting my hope and trust in counting calories and in being in control of my own life rather than in God.

 

Counting calories in itself is not wrong. But the Bible says, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” My faith in Jesus does not lead me to count calories. In fact, my greatest desire is to be free from worrying about my body and my weight and to reach a point where I look to God for spiritual, emotional, and mental nourishment and I only look to food for physical nourishment.

 

Question: So why do I continue obsessing over calories, food, weight, body image, exercise, etc. even when I know that it makes me so miserable? Answer: Because I continue to believe that having the perfect body (according to my own standards, not God’s) will satisfy me.

 

But the truth is, I will never be satisfied if I’m not satisfied in God—and God ALONE.

Bodily contentment

26 May

“Because your steadfast love is better than ______________, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3

At one women’s meeting in college, we were challenged to fill in that blank with whatever our biggest idol was, the thing we wanted most. At that time, I filled the blank with marriage. That’s what I wanted the most–and the thing I had the hardest time trusting God with.

But now the blank would be filled with a flat stomach. My stomach is my least favorite body part and no matter how in shape I get, how many sit-ups I do, I’m never quite satisfied with it.

Like most Americans who aren’t satisfied with their bodies, I have tried diets and exercise. I have counted calories and analyzed nutrition facts. I have sworn off sugar, cut out pop, ate more protein, ate fewer carbs. And you know, in college I was thin. I look back at pictures and think “Hey, not bad!” But here’s the kicker: I was never satisfied. No matter how much weight I lost and how toned I got, I never got to that elusive point (that I sinfully think is still out there somewhere) where I think “My body is now exactly how I want it.” Even if I did get to that point, one cheeseburger and it’d all be over.

So the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about contentment, God’s glory, and my life. I listened to a great sermon by Tim Keller called Splitness about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the Apostle Paul in Romans 7. Keller points out that the commandment that gave Paul the most trouble was the 10th–Thou Shalt Not Covet. This commandment was different than the rest because it dealt with a heart issue and not just behavior. Keller said that the opposite of covetousness is contentment and that if we really had God, if we really understood how loved we were, we would be content.

Then, Travis and I were up hiking near Nederland. And I started thinking about something I read in Comfortable in Your Own Skin: being content with your body is glorifying to God. I had heard John Piper say that the purpose of our possessions is to show how much more precious God is to us than they are. The purpose of my body is to show how much more precious to me God is. It made complete sense: I remind myself to be content without the latest fashions and newest gadgets because God is enough. Being content with my body as it is right now–not because “it’s good enough” but because GOD is good enough–is glorifying to God.

Another thought I had that is weaved into all this is that in Christ, I have been freed from the Law–meaning I am justified on the basis of Christ’s perfection and not my own. Similarly, I have been freed from the law of beauty–being thin. Jesus thinks I’m drop dead gorgeous (to borrow from Greg Stier) because of Christ’s beauty in me. He is perfect so I don’t have to be.

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Being thin doesn’t compare to experiencing the Father’s steadfast love. His love trumps all.

“All of You is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need. You satisfy me with your love, and all I have in You is more than enough.”

Us, homeowners?

25 May

Travis and I drove around and looked at houses again today after having a little BBQ and reading session in a park near our apartment. The first 3-4 houses we looked at were “Eh?” or “Ew!” so we weren’t feeling very optimistic about the houses for sale in our price range. But the last 3-4 houses we looked at were more like “You know, given the right touches and help, this house has some potential” and “I could see us living here.” So we headed home with high spirits and high hopes.

So now the action plan is: prayer. Prayer, prayer, and more prayer. Travis and I are really asking a lot with the whole house hunting scenario. We want a nice, well-kept home selling for no more than $200K ($175 would be more like it), with a large yard, porch and/or patio/deck, a 2-car garage, a master bedroom w/master bath, and at least one additional bedroom and bathroom. On our “wouldn’t it be nice” list are: vaulted ceilings, open floor plan, lots of storage, big windows, and only minor tweaks needed (like not needing to overhaul the grody outside color of some houses!! honestly, WHAT were some people thinking?!?!?!?) 

In addition to all those requests, we are having our first day of looking at the insides of houses on June 7th. Hopefully, we’ll get to know what we like and don’t like, see what’s on the market, what goes for what price, etc. Then, according to our plan, we have a 2-week window to find a house we like, put an offer down, have it accepted, and set a closing date at the end of July. Some people spend 2-3 months looking at house (or longer!). We have about 2-3 weeks. 🙂

So you can see how we’re asking for a lot…

But God is able and willing to provide. And even when all of life falls into place just how I think it should, God is behind it, orchestrating it all. Even if our house plans don’t fall into place how I “think they should,” God is good and sovereign and has a purpose for everything.

So as we’re driving around looking at houses, and I can feel rising up in me the controlling maniac that wants to run up to the door of a house that I “kinda like” and yell “We’ll take it!”, the same maniac that will throw a fear-based temper tantrum if I see a house I want to put an offer on but Travis doesn’t, I know that I need to ground my heart and trust in the Lord everyday. I need to be a godly woman whose roots are sunk down deep into the truth of the gospel, a woman who doesn’t fear ANYTHING that is frightening (insert John Piper’s voice from his sermon The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission).

God will provide. He always does.

Five things

23 May

My blog friend Carrie tagged me to do this post about 5 things. So here I am!

The Rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.

2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.

3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.

4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing 5 years ago? 

Five years ago, I had just finished my freshman year of college at the University of Minnesota. For the summer of ’03, I lived in a college house with 2 other girls and 2 guys (the guys moved out b4 the next school year and were replaced with girls).

A typical day for me was sleeping in/getting over a hangover, then laying out on the beach at either a lake up 35W North near Mounds View or at Lake Calhoun, trying to exercise outside (I was very out of shape at this point), then working at Herberger’s until closing, then coming home to party it up. The next day I did it all over again.

What are five things to do on your to do list for the day?

1. Survive work. 🙂

2. Enjoy the weather outside by either going on a run or a walk.

3. Spend time with my husband tonight.

4. Get time in the Word over lunch.

5. Cook dinner with what little food we have at our apartment. As my mom says, “It’s Mother Hubbard!”

What are five snacks you enjoy?

Do I have to choose just five?

1. Dried cranberries/raisins/fruit–too bad they’re so sugary!

2. apple or banana with peanut butter

3. baby carrots with avocado, salsa, and salt & pepper

4. granola or berries with light n fit vanilla yogurt

5. anything with cottage cheese

What five things would you do if you were a billionaire? 

1. Travel the world!!

2. Quit my job and volunteer for disaster and hunger relief.

3. Write my memoir.

4. Pay off the debt for everyone I know.

5. Donate money to every cause I could think of (hunger relief, disaster relief, non-profit ministries, Op Xmas Child, my church, fellow believers in need, fellow humans in need, unsuspecting restaurant patrons, etc.)

What are five of your bad habits?

1. Wasting time on the internet

2. Starting multiple books at one time

3. Using artificial sweetners like it’s my job

4. Being jealous of other girls’ clothes that are cuter/trendier than mine

5. Not praying every day–or even every week!

What are five jobs you have had?

1. Car hop at Sonic in Myrtle Beach, SC

2. Sales Associate at Herberger’s (a department store)

3. Hostess at Cracker Barrel (my least favorite job ever)

4. Continuing Education Support Specialist at Prometric

5. Creative Resources Coordinator at Dare 2 Share Ministries

What five people do you want to tag? 

1. My boss Carol Ann

2. My co-worker Neva

3. My blog friend Juliet

4. My boss’ daughter Robbin

5. And her other daughter Bethany

 

Our first anniversary is today!

19 May

A year ago today, Travis and I got married. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year but so much has happened during that time. We moved to Colorado where we didn’t know a soul, got new jobs in different fields than we had worked in before, started going to a new church, met new friends, bought a new car (well, new to us), and are now planning on buying a house.

We have also learned so much about the importance of communication–and the results of miscommunication. I learned to accept my husband as he is and not expect him to be what I consider ideal–especially since I don’t really know what this is. I have found a new appreciation for Travis and all that he does for me and our marriage and am realizing more and more everyday how much I take him for granted. He is truly my best friend. So often when we’re spending time together, I realize that I don’t ever concentrate on our interactions–they come so easily and naturally that it really feels like he is my other half.

So to celebrate this milestone, Travis surprised me by taking me to a secluded mountain cabin about 30 minutes from Woodland Park (very close to Pikes Peak). The cabin had a great view of Pikes Peak, a hot tub outside, and a big bed, comfy couches, great deck, full kitchen, and satellite TV. What more could you ask for?

When we first got to the cabin, I took some pictures and then read for a while on the deck in the sun–one of my very favorite things to do. After reading, Travis and I watched some TV and then made dinner. After that, we went in the hot tub and then opened presents. I bought Travis The Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright–a book he had showed me at Borders and said he wanted. It’s 800 pages long and very up Travis’ alley–an academic book that’s hard to read. Travis bought me a picture of me running the half marathon and put it in a blue metallic frame. I love it! I had wanted to buy a picture from that race… I think I look pissed in the picture though. Travis said that I just look determined. 🙂

Today, I “slept in” until 7:15 (I fell asleep at 9:30). I ate breakfast in bed and then made some for Travis. We watched TV for a while and then went in the hot tub again. After that, we packed up all our stuff and headed to Mueller State Park, where we did a few moderate hikes. My legs were sore from the race on Sunday so I didn’t have much energy to hike. The snow-covered mountain ranges around there are so beautiful.

Then we drove back to Boulder and are planning on watching “Secondhand Lions” and drinking champagne. So relaxing and nice.

See pictures from our weekend getaway here.

Update: Going solo

19 May

So I ran the race yesterday morning and I made my goal!! I ran the 6.2 miles in 62:36, which is about a 10:06 mile. I was shooting for 10:00s and was actually running sub-10s for the first 5.5 miles. But right at mile 5.5, there was a huge hill. Since I had been really pushing myself, I didn’t have much extra energy to get me up a hill. Plus, I couldn’t breathe. So I ran as much as I could up the hill and walked the rest. It was a great feeling anyway to run that far in that time–a PR for me in Colorado and in a race period–and I got a cool medal to boot!

Here I am:

me running

Going solo

17 May

Tomorrow morning at 6:00 AM I am running a 10K (6.2 miles) in the Colfax Marathon Relay. This will be my first race that I run alone, without Travis. I’ve only done 2 races–a 10-miler and the half marathon I just ran 3 weeks ago. But they were both with Travis. We trained together and we ran the race together (at my pace of course).

But Stacey is the one who asked me just this past Thursday if I wanted to run in the relay and they only needed one more person. So Travis is just going to cheer me on from the sidelines. I’m not too worried–6.2 miles isn’t that far compared to a half marathon. On Friday morning, I ran 3.7 miles no problem and I ran it in 37:08! I really want to try to push myself tomorrow to run at least sub-11s–none of this 11:30 crap. 🙂

As I was looking at the marathon website tonight though, trying to figure out parking and where the start line was (I’m running the first leg of the relay), I found out that each separate leg of the relay (there are 5 total) has a different color bib. The first leg’s bib is yellow. I was given a green bib. The green bib is for the last leg–the 12K. Oops. The woman coordinating our team picked up everyone’s packet for them so someone else on our team must have my bib. I’ve tried calling Stacey’s cell and home phone because it sounds like this is a non-negotiable thing from the website. I’m praying that the Lord will work everything out…

Or else we’re not running!!

This may not be normal…

16 May

But I love exercise.

As I was reading the book my mom gave me called “Comfortable in Your Own Skin,” the author was suggesting ways to live healthily. She said “You should exercise at least 30 minutes 3 times a week. I know, I hate exercise too but for the past 5 years, I have been diligent in exercising 3 times a week.”

First of all, three times a week isn’t really that much. I probably exercise 6 days a week, if not 7. But I’m not in a gym all 7 days–probably not even 2.

Second of all, how do you hate exercise? This is mind-boggling to me. Humans weren’t meant to sit around on their butts, doing nothing all day long. We were meant to DO things and be active! I can’t stand how I feel after sitting down all day.

But here’s the thing. I think most people think exercise = gym = bored out of my mind. Well, good news for them! There are many forms of exercise that don’t require a gym AT ALL! You can rollerblade, bike, run, hike, walk, play tennis, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, go canoeing, kayaking, swimming, dancing…really, the possibilities are endless. And I bet that if you asked the author of that book or anyone else who says that they “hate exercise,” they could probably name at least one (if not two or more) things on that list that they would enjoy.

Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now. The reason why I say all this is because I’ve been thinking about it ever since I read what that author wrote and also because last night and this morning I’ve had 2 great “workouts” that were extremely pleasant. Last night, Travis and I biked to McDonald’s and got their free Southern-style Chicken Sandwich (with the purchase of a medium drink). We also split a hot fudge sundae (yum…) Then we went on a 10-mile bike ride around Boulder. It was so peaceful and relaxing and a lot of Boulder’s Greenways go through undeveloped parts of the cities. So the ride was very scenic, spring-like, and wonderful.

Then this morning, I went on a 3.7 mile run. I normally don’t run in the morning (because the sun doesn’t come up until 5:45) but Stacey from work asked me to run a leg of the Colfax Marathon this Sunday. I’ll probably be running a 10K (6.2 miles) so I wanted to get out and run a little before Sunday, just to reassure myself that I can still do it. And I found out this morning that not only can I still do it, I can do it faster than ever! I ran 10 minute miles–I had been consistently running 11 or 11:30 minute miles before! Granted, I was beat by the end of my run but I did it!! YAY!

As I was praying on the way to work, I was thanking the Lord for my body. It’s a lot of hard work to get in shape but once you do, it is one of the best feelings in the world. I wish more people could experience it. It’s worth it. (Plus, all that hard work builds character.) 🙂