Archive | March, 2009

Give me a revelation!

28 Mar

For the past year or so, I’ve really been struggling through what the point to life is, especially my life. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? No matter how long I think about or who I talk to or how much I read the Bible and pray about it, I can’t escape the feeling that I’m supposed to be doing more with my life.

For the past week (though it’s by no means an isolated incident), this feeling has completely overwhelmed me. I feel depressed and lethargic. I don’t feel happy. I don’t feel like myself. The only way I can really describe it is that I want to escape from my life. I want my life to be different but have no idea what different is. I want to do more but don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.

Some people have said “Just do something. It doesn’t matter what it is.” I also came to that conclusion once upon a time (you may even be able to find a blog post of mine echoing that same sentiment). But I have come back around to the conviction that it’s just not that easy. See, I don’t want to just be “doing things.” I want to be doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I want to fulfill God’s purpose for me and no matter how much I beg and plead for Him to give me insight and guidance, He is disturbingly silent on the whole issue. I am so entirely confused and clueless about my life and yet my hands are tied because God holds all the answers.

When I first heard Third Day’s new song, Revelation, I felt like it was the cry of my soul. I feel like shouting these words at God. This is my heart! I’m admitting that I need You and can’t do anything without You! Do You not hear me? Why are you leaving me all alone to figure this great mystery out all by myself? The Christian life is supposed to be about joy (or so I’ve heard). Then why do I find myself in the pits of despair? And why do I feel abandoned by God?

I know the “correct” answers: God hasn’t abandoned me and never will. The Christian life involves immense sorrow as well as joy. God is sanctifying me and giving me answers in His own perfect timing and sovereign way.

I cling to the truth of those words, despite the seeming contradiction of my current experience.

My life has led me down the road that’s so uncertain
And now I am left alone and I am broken,
Trying to find my way,
Trying to find the faith that’s gone

This time, I know that you are holding all the answers
I’m tired of losing hope and taking chances,
On roads that never seem,
To be the ones that bring me home

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You

My life has led me down this path that’s ever winding
Through every twist and turn I’m always finding,
That I am lost again
Tell me when this road will ever end

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without…

I don’t know where I can turn
Tell me when will I learn
Won’t You show me where I need to go
Oh oh
Let me follow Your lead,
I know that it’s the only way that I can get back home

Give me a revelation,
Show me what to do
Cause I’ve been trying to find my way,
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here,
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You

Oh, give me a revelation…

I’ve got nothing without You
I’ve got nothing without You

Back from Mexico

27 Mar

We got back from our vacation to Mexico on Sunday night around 10:45 (our plane got delayed an extra hour in Phoenix). Let me tell you, it has been THE HARDEST transition back from a vacation that I have EVER had, not only weather-wise, but energy-wise and mood-wise.

But more on that later (like tomorrow or the next day). First, the pictures and recap!! I’m going to give the highlights day by day but let it be known that every single day involved stuffing ourselves to the gills with every kind of food and drink you can possibly think of.

Day 1: Sunday, March 15th

Travis and I got to Puerto Vallarta around 12:30 PM. We had about 2 hours to kill before the rest of our family showed up so we went up to our room and watched TV while waiting for our suitcases.

Travis with my "welcome flower"

Travis with my "welcome flower"

Our hotel

Our hotel

The view from our hotel room (in the morning)

The view from our hotel room (in the morning)

After we unpacked, we went for a walk on the beach. I didn’t have any sunscreen on and even though we were only out there for 30 minutes, I  had a tanline by the time we went back in. Darn Norwegian skin!

Travis and I found a little coffee bar and chilled there until my family came. They were famished when they arrived so we went and ate at one of the restaurants (the first of many meals that involved primarily dessert for me!) Around 5:30, Jeremy (my oldest bro) and Jen (my SIL) arrived. We ate with them (again!) and by then, we were all pretty much beat so we went to bed.

Day 2: Monday, March 16th

Travis got up at what we like to call the asscrack of dawn–also known as 6:45 AM–(pardon the French) to go running on the beach. It didn’t even look like it was light outside yet so I opted to go later (at 7:15ish). We ended up running (literally) into each other on the beach so we went back up to the hotel room, got showered, and got in the Word before breakfast (sadly, the only day that would happen).

Breakfast was delicious. These were my favorite breakfast things: chocolate milk, pineapple, cheesy potato oles, sugary French toast with real maple syrup, and scrambled eggs. 

After breakfast, we adjourned to the beach, all of us sitting in a big long line of beach loungers.

Chillin' with the gang

Chillin' with the gang

Travis and me on the beach

Travis and me on the beach

There were many “tourist activities” on the beach you could do: buy jewelry and clothes, parasail, go jetskiing, go on a banana boat, etc. I was intrigued by the parasailing. Every once in a while, someone would joke, “So who’s going to be the first to go parasailing?” And I said, “ME!”

And that’s just what I did. I was excited but also a little nervous, standing there wearing a harness, waiting for the boat and the rope to straighten out. Before I knew it, I was being pulled forward, off the ground, and then I was 200 feet in the air. It was great being up so high, seeing so far. It may not be worth the exorbitant amount of money to do it again but it was definitely worth it for one time.

After I went, Jeremy, Brian, Lauren, Chris, Travis, and even my dad and uncle Roger went parasailing. Those guys got their money out of us!

For dinner we went to the beachfront restaurant called Mar Íntimo:

From the left, my uncle Roger, cousin Ben, cousin Josh, aunt Sharon, brother Jeremy, SIL Jen, SIL Meg, and brother Chris

From the left, my uncle Roger, cousin Ben, cousin Josh, aunt Sharyn, brother Jeremy, SIL Jen, SIL Meg, and brother Chris

From the left, me, my mom Sheri, cousin Tim, his gf Lauren, brother Brian, his gf Lindsay, my dad David, and my husband Travis

From the left, me, my mom Sheri, cousin Tim, his gf Lauren, brother Brian, his gf Lindsay, my dad David, and my husband Travis

After dinner, we watched a rendition of Mamma Mia! (dancers played each of the major roles and lipsynched to the soundtrack…they were good dancers, it was just a little cheesy.)

Day 3: Tuesday, March 17th

Travis and I got up and worked out, ate breakfast at 9:30 with the group, then we sat by the pool, ate some more, hung out on the beach. In the afternoon, we rode dune buggys. Jeremy had talked to a guy on the beach named Orlando who would let us ride dune buggys for 4 hours at $75 a couple. Orlando said we would get to cross streams and see great scenery, more of Mexico, and all the pictures looked pretty cool. In addition, my brothers are all kind of in to that sort of thing so the whole clan ended up going.

Let's do this!

Let's do this! (For some reason, I ended up with goggles that had one dark lens and one light one...it didn't look weird from the inside, just the outside!)

My parents in their buggy

My parents in their buggy

My cousins Josh and Ben

My cousins Josh and BenMy cousin Tim and his girlfriend Lauren

We met up with our guides at their business (as you can see from the pictures above) and from there, we drove right onto the busy, crowded, regular-car streets of Puerto Vallarta. No adults seemed surprised to see us but the little kids waved and smiled.
Jeremy and Jen when we were driving through the streets of Puerto Vallarta

Jeremy and Jen driving through the streets of Puerto Vallarta

Not 20 minutes into our drive, the buggy that Brian and Lindsay were driving (they were right in front of me and Trav) fell apart. The wheel axel just snapped in half as they went over a speedbump. You can kind of see it in this picture:

 
I don't think it's supposed to look like that...

I don't think it's supposed to look like that...

One of the guides who had been following in the back of the pack pulled forward and Brian and Lindsay jumped into his dune buggy so they could continue on. Unfortunately, that buggy was extremely loud and Lindsay had a headache after 5 minutes. Poor girl.

Chris and Meg

Brian and Lindsay right before the accident happened

Driving the dune buggys was fun for about the first hour and a half…it was neat getting to see Real Mexico, not just the tourist-y part. But the unfortunate part was that we were driving on the unbelievably dusty, sandy roads through the slums of the city. We kept thinking, “Just a little farther and we should be getting up into the lush mountains where we get to drive through streams, get muddy, and see lots of great sights.” The more time went by, however, the more we realized that we weren’t going to the jungle…this was it. We were driving down alleys, dirt roads, past shantys and farms, and through (what seemed like) people’s backyards.
 
As if that wasn’t bad enough, my goggles had obviously been broken and fixed with a lens from a different set of goggles because one of the lenses didn’t fill the whole eyehole–so there were gaps in my goggles where the sand could come in. I spent quite a bit of time with my left eye shut, my right eye a slit, hoping Travis didn’t crash and I didn’t get hit by any rocks kicked up by the buggy in front of us.
 
As for the streams, we decided that the water running down the roads (most likely with sewage, oil, and other nasty things mixed in) didn’t count. The real stream was at the halfway point–and it was more like a small river. Though it was only about 2 feet deep, we definitely got wet. I think the guys really got a kick out of that. The women now, we just humor them by being good sports and playing along.
 
On our way back, we stopped at a tequila restaurant where they gave tequila tours (the history of how tequila got started and is made). When we saw ourselves in the mirror, we couldn’t help but laugh at how dirty we were–there were outlines on everyone’s face where their goggles had been. The swimsuit I wore didn’t even get clean when I washed it in the washing machine. A permanent reminder.
 
We were resistant to take the tequila tour because we were doing one the next day with our resort but we did it anyway. I’m glad we did because it was very interesting. They gave everyone 4-5 little shots of tequila at the end (I didn’t take any because I’m not a huge tequila fan).
 
Finally, we jumped back in our dune buggys and got back to where we started. Now we had a new challenge: how to get back. The guys working at the business (our guides) didn’t want to arrange a ride for us until we agreed to buy some of the pictures they had taken of us (which we couldn’t because we didn’t have any money!! We had spent it pretty much all of it on the dune buggys. Plus, they wanted something like $80 for all of them!)
 
I suggested we walk out to the main street and hail some taxis. With 16 people, we were going to need several. My mom suggested to me that I go inside a gas station (since I can speak Spanish) and ask the clerk if there was a bus we could take back. I took the easy way out by asking the man “¿Hablas ingles?” He said “Un poquito” so then I talked in English. 🙂
 
I found out that there was a bus that would take us back to our hotel. The guy said we would have to walk 3 blocks to the bus stop but as I was explaining all this to my family, I saw one of the buses coming. I waved my arm and said “That’s the bus we need!” I wasn’t expecting the bus to stop, but it did so I ran up to the driver and asked if he went by Vallarta Palace. He did and when I asked how much a ride cost, he said 12 pesos (or $1 USD). So we all hopped on the bus and in 20 minutes, we were back home. I think my parents were a little worried…but I thought it was an adventure.
 
After we cleaned up, we ate dinner at the restaurant called Momo No Hana, a Japanese restaurant, where I stuffed myself with sushi (I am a total convert…I love it now!) Then we played some pool…me and Brian dominated the table (only because the players who were usually really good were usually crappy that night)!

Day 4: Wednesday, March 18th

By 9:00, we had set out on a day excursion into downtown Puerto Vallarta on a tour with our resort. When we arrived downtown, we watched four men twirl in a circle upside down while hanging from a 100-ft tall flag pole and playing what looked like wooden recorders but sounded like bagpipes. Little by little, they got closer to the ground and at the end, they grabbed their ropes and righted themselves. Ta-da!

Our guide told us history about Puerto Vallarta as we looked at sculptures along the sidewalk and made our way to the Catholic cathedral. It was very pretty inside but I’ve always been kind of creeped out the way Catholics have so many figurines of the crucified Jesus–lifesize ones! When we left there, I bought some of this amazingly delicious coconut dessert from a street vendor. I wish I would have bought more…mmmm…

We were then given 30 minutes to shop in the market. My mom bought me a “real” (who knows if it’s the truth?) turquoise necklace (which I love!) and Travis a t-shirt with fish and fishing rod on it that says Puerto Vallarta. She also bought my dad a couple of t-shirts. Then it was time to leave. 😦

We drove along the ocean coast in the coach bus, admiring the million dollar homes and the beautiful beaches (the water gets bluer toward the south end of Puerto Vallarta…it was pretty murky where we were). We stopped at the Parque de Las Rocas (I have pictures of them later).

On the way back, we stopped at a real tequila factory (they make the tequila there and you can definitely smell it!) I decided to drink the tequila there and the guy who was giving out the shots decided to pick on me by not just giving me a little taste,  but by filling up my shot glass completely. We tried tequila blanca (for mixed drinks), reposada (for shots), and anejo (for sipping). Then we tried Almond Tequila and Chocolate Tequila. That chocolate tequila was absolutely delicious (coming from a non-tequila drinker!) and if it hadn’t been $80 a bottle, I would’ve bought some to bring home.

Instead of going to a restaurant for dinner that night, Travis, Chris, Meg and I just hung out in their room and ordered room service. It was a lot of fun, just chilling. I felt like we got to actually talk to Chris and Meg. When you’re in such a big group, the conversations are usually just light banter and random discussions, nothing deeper. So it was good to spend some time with them. Plus, Travis got to watch baseball so he was happy. (He liked spending time with Chris and Meg too though!)

Day 5: Thursday, March 19th

After breakfast and a little pool time, all “the kids” (me, my bros, and all our significant others) went kayaking and bodyboarding out in the ocean. Tons of fun. My parents didn’t go kayaking, though I wish they had… I hope they had fun anyway.

We played a little more volleyball in between bouts of beach lounging and then at sunset, we went on a cruise aboard a catamaran. The ship was a lot bigger than I had expected and they served margaritas and some nasty snack food (including what looked like cut-up cold hotdogs). There were several members of our group that felt sick after that night.

I took some pretty pictures (which is a feat with my ancient camera!):

Rock Formations in the middle of the ocean that the natives call Las Rocas

Rock Formations in the middle of the ocean that the natives call Las Rocas

Another angle

Another angleFor some reason, I think these are really cool and really creepy all at the same time (creepy because of all the birds flying around them).

A cave in one of the Rocas

A cave in one of the Rocas

Me and my schweetie--I'm wearing my new turquoise necklace!

Me and my schweetie--I'm wearing my new turquoise necklace!

Brian and Lindsay

Brian and Lindsay

Chris and Meg

Chris and Meg

Jeremy and Jen

Jeremy and Jen

My parents

My parents

Sun over the water

Sun over the water

The beautiful shoreline

The beautiful shoreline

Roger and Sharyn

Roger and Sharyn

Tim and Lauren

Tim and LaurenMe and my MomOur tour guidesBeautiful Sunset

When we returned from our sunset cruise, we went to eat dinner (though I had snacked on the boat and wasn’t hungry). I am not proud to say that I ate a full meal anyway (I blame it on the margaritas). I felt so sick that night. Yuck. I hate doing that.

Day 6: Friday, March 20th
I woke up with the worst alcohol/food hangover I’ve had in years. I was weak, tired, nauseated, and dizzy. In an effort to not feel incredibly disgusting all day long (at the beach  no less!), I got up early (7 AM, but I couldn’t really sleep anyway) and did the elliptical at the gym for 30 minutes. Then I went and ran on the beach for another 25. I felt somewhat better by the time breakfast rolled around but I still only ate fruit and pb toast…anything else made me want to gag.
We were scheduled to go on another tour with our resort, this time on a small boat through the canal to see wildlife like crocodiles and birds. I was feeling decent enough after breakfast to go along. I had been skeptical about the tour…I don’t really care that much about watching wildlife. But it was very interesting. We saw crocodiles, iguanas (they’re like cats in Mexico), and cranes.
Our totally cool life jackets

Our totally cool life jackets

The crocodile--they blend in so well!! This one is only 1-2 years old.

A crocodile--they blend in so well!! This one is only 1-2 years old, just a baby.

A Crane with his skinny little legs

A Crane with skinny little legs

After the tour, we shopped at a local supermarket for more sunscreen and I bought Mexican candy for some of my co-workers.

We ate lunch and went bodyboarding some more, interspersed with laying on the beach and playing volleyball. We had signed up for Sunset Pictures, where a professional photographer takes your picture at sunset. With our whole group, you can imagine what an ordeal it was. And it was so windy on the beach!! I hate wind so I was not a happy camper.

After the pictures, though, we had dinner on the beach…literally. The resort had set up tables and food right on the beach. It was pretty cool.

Me and the hubs

Me and the hubs

Leis complete their looks

Leis complete their beachy looks

The Krsnaks at their beach table

The Krsnaks at their beach table

After dinner, some performers came out into the middle of the tables (where there was an open space) and did capoeira fighting. They did flips, karate, and even fought with swords and sticks. Then some fire dancers came out. They were awesome. I can’t even describe the moves they do.
After that, we went and watched a hotel performance of the musical Grease. It was like the previous one: lip-synching to the soundtrack. But the dancing was good.
Somehow, after all of that, Josh convinced me, Travis, Brian, Jeremy, Jen, Tim, and Lauren to go with him downtown to some nightclubs. We went to 2 clubs, one called the Zoo and another called Hilo. The first was a decent place…good drinks, good dance floor…minus some crazy, drunk girls and one really creepy guy with long hair. The second bar was loud and smoky and sucked. There was more drama to the night but it doesn’t matter…we ended up getting back to the hotel around 2:45 AM.
Day 6: Saturday, March 21st
If my memory serves me correctly, I was up fairly early on Saturday morning as well because of drinking too much and not feeling well (due to the night on that catamaran). No wonder why I have been so exhausted since getting back home! 
I spent the majority of the day at the pool or beach. We played volleyball in the pool and Travis almost lost his wedding ring. I say almost because he had somehow flung it off his finger without knowing. All of a sudden, he realized he wasn’t wearing it so in the middle of the game, he just started walking around, with his head down looking into the water. We were all like “Travis, what are you doing?” To that, he fessed up that he had lost his ring.
Mind you, the ring doesn’t have much actual value…just sentimental value. We borrowed some swimming goggles from a boy who was near by. Everyone playing volleyball stopped and walked around the pool, looking for Travis’ ring. We had pretty much given up hope because we had looked in all the places Travis had been in the pool and not found it.
All of a sudden, Lindsay yelled, “I think I found it!” She picked it up and was like “No, I didn’t. I found a ring, just not Travis’ ring.” I went over and took the ring from her. It was Travis’ ring. I laughed at Lindsay’s initial reaction. Yes, Travis’ wedding ring is THAT scratched and beat up. He won’t let me bring it to a jeweler to have it refinished. Eh, oh well. At least we found it!! And the crazy part was that it was in a section of the pool that Travis hadn’t been anywhere near. Strange…
A minute after we found the ring, Chris came back to the pool with a brand new pair of swimming goggles that he had paid $14 for, just so we could look for Travis’ ring…what a sweetie.
Saturday evening, I got a free back massage, manicure and pedicure (they come with our all-inclusive package). The back massage was half-relaxing, half-annoying (I had done my hair because we were going to dinner afterwards and the masseuse kept massaging my head and messing up my hair!!) but the manicure and pedicure were the best. The chairs they have you sit in face a wall of glass that faces west…and I was there at the perfect time to watch the sun set. Doesn’t get much better than that. Pedicures are one of my favorite things in the world.
We went to eat at Momo No Hana that night and I paced myself better than I had been doing…but still left uncomfortably full (I was definitely ready to go home and eat regular meals again at that point!)
Not wanting to go to bed quite yet, I grabbed a couple of Jenga sets from the bar and we played a few games outside under this mossy terrace laced with flowers and lanterns (absolutely gorgeous!) They were the most intense games of Jenga I have ever played. Both games that I played in, we went so long that we were literally out of moves. The first game ended when I was forced to pull out a piece that just did not want to come out. I tried to wiggle it but it wasn’t coming. So I tried the tablecloth trick–pulling it out really fast. The whole thing toppled over.
Day 7: Sunday, March 22nd
This was by far our most stressful day of vacation. Jeremy and Jen had to leave the hotel around 7:40 or some godawful hour. After much miscommunication with their ticket for a return ride to the airport, they got going around 8:45. Travis and I had to leave around 10:45 for the airport so we had just enough time to pack, get ready, enjoy the pool for a little longer (Travis went bodyboarding again), and leave.
Colorado was warm when we got back but yesterday, we got majorly dumped on. Here is a picture of my car, left sitting outside my office from when I arrived at work to when Travis and I retrieved it around 6:30 PM.
That's a lot of snow!

That's a lot of snow!

Pardon the bad picture, I took it with my phone.
So that was our trip to Mexico. My parents are already planning our next family vacation: Dominican Republic in 2011. Can’t wait!
This is quite possibly THE longest I have ever written so I’m signing out now.
 

Me Voy a Mexico!

14 Mar

Tomorrow, we leave for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I am SO incredibly pumped. But I know that the time will go by fast and before I know it, I’ll be back in Colorado with no vacation on the horizon keeping me sane.

But for now, I’m jumping for joy. Our plane leaves at 8:55 AM tomorrow morning and we get to Mexico at 12:11 PM. Whoop whoop! So pumped to lay out in the 85 degree sunshine next to a pool that looks like this:

Boo-tiful

Boo-tiful

Or on a beach that looks like this:

Aerial view of our resort

Aerial view of our resort

 With a drink that looks like this:

A frozen Mudslide...delicious

A frozen Mudslide...delicious

We are staying at the Vallarta Palace. It’s an all-inclusive 5-star resort. They make animals out of the towels and have amazing smelling lotions. The times we’ve gone before (twice), we’ve gotten free massages, manicures and pedicures (I’m in desperate need of a mani/pedi!) They have free day trips to different tourist spots around the area and all the food and drinks you can handle.

I am the most excited for going to a new part of Mexico. I’ve been to Cancun twice but I’ve never been to the western side. Travis wants to go to a bull fight on Wednesday night. I’m intrigued but have also been warned that it can get pretty gruesome. So we’ll see what I think when we get down there.

It’s going to be a big group of us: me and Travis, my parents, my 3 brothers, my 2 sisters-in-law, my brother’s girlfriend (and probably future sister-in-law), my aunt and uncle, and my 3 cousins. Total number of people: 15.

We’re going to have a good time.

I packed last night since we’re going to go help some friends today work on the house they just bought. All I need to do is load up my toiletries, pack my carry-on with books and my iPod, and I’ll be ready to set sail.

So if you haven’t guessed, I’ll be MIA on my blog for the next week or so. But when I get back, I’ll have tons of fun pictures to post!!

Woohoo!!

Mi fin de semana

8 Mar

Don’t ask me why I just decided to break out the Spanish…maybe it was that Dulce de Leche Girl Scout cookie I ate earlier (which btw, isn’t that fantastic, especially compared to the usual Girl Scout cookie-ness).

Just a little weekend recap for ya:

Like I had planned, I went to the Rec yesterday morning and did a leisurely 8 miles on the bike (my flem kept me from exerting myself too much). Then I went to Panera where I had a delicious egg and cheese breakfast sandwich with really crappy coffee. Oh and my ancient laptop just about got thrown through the window (by me, if you hadn’t guessed). It…is…so…slow… I really hope that we buy a new laptop soon.

After that, I went to the Arvada library where I checked out Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink, Ph.D. and The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever by Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson. I’ve already read The Skinny. As in I read the whole book yesterday. I’ll give my thoughts on the book some other day. Overall, it was just ok.

When I got home from the library, I forced myself to clean the house. I REALLY didn’t want to, mostly because I, in fact, loathe cleaning. But I do like a clean house. And I do like serving my husband. So I cleaned.

I rewarded myself for that feat of willpower by laying in bed reading my new book. Then Travis came home from ice fishing and we both took a nap. I got up and made Chili Beef N Pasta for dinner and then we went to see Bedtime Stories with Adam Sandler at the Arvada 8. It was a really cute movie. There’s a guinea pig in the movie named Bugsy because he has these giant eyes. He is the cutest thing ever (and the exact same colors as my pet guinea pig growing up, Cinnamon. He was the best pet. When he died, I made him a tombstone, which read “Cinnamon–The Best Pet.” No joke.) Anyway, that guinea pig made me laugh so loud. Seriously hilarious. 

Today, Travis and I left for church and as we were driving by the business sign that has the temperature/date/time on it, the time read “10:40 AM”. Church starts at 10. “Is that sign wrong?” I thought first. “Or are we doing daylight savings time?” I thought second. Ah, the latter. We missed church. Bummer. That means, with the business trip last weekend, our blunder today, our vacation the next 2 Sundays, and Children’s Ministry the 2 Sundays after that, it will have been 6 weeks before I attend another church service. Boo!!

We went grocery shopping and bike-helmet buying instead. Then Travis went to shoot clay pigeons with a friend and I went swimsuit shopping (for the tri). I don’t think I’ve ever felt more annoyed or frustrated at shopping for something (except maybe dressy boots–near impossible to find cute, affordable ones that don’t make you look like a hooker). I want to buy a polyester suit and 2 out of the 3 stores I went to had NOT A ONE. They have them on their websites!! I finally just settled on trying sizes on at REI up in Boulder and buying a suit online (I bought 2 sizes, Please let one fit.) The suit I bought was the Dolfin Poly Solid DBX Back. And I got it for $26.95. Score!

Here’s what it looks like:

Front and Back

Front and Back

I bought the black one:

Sleek and sophisticated, no?

Sleek and sophisticated, no?

I’m really crossing my fingers that one of the suits fits because I really don’t want to look any more.

I also snagged these cute little things for $10.25:

They're pink!

They're pink!

If I’m going to look goofy with goggles, I might as well look girly too.

After my online “shopping spree,” I caught up with my friend Brittany. It was really good to talk to her again (the last time we talked was Christmas!) I miss having a really close girlfriend like that. But those things take time. Brittany and I didn’t hit it off right away–our friendship blossomed over a few years.

I did a quick little 3-mile run (though I’m still not up to par from being sick).

And now Travis (when he gets home already!) and I are going to go hang out with our friends Paul and Carrie. Eat some Papa Murphy’s Chicken Bacon Artichoke DeLite pizza (my fave!) and some garlic popcorn (Paul’s specialty).

What a great weekend!

Midnight thoughts

6 Mar

Ok, so it technically isn’t midnight. But I tried to go to bed with Travis and was just laying there, wide awake. I didn’t want to go to bed. But then, I didn’t want to read, watch TV, or be on the computer either. So I tried to go to bed, though I wasn’t that tired. Usually I just can lay there long enough to fall asleep. If my eyelids start feeling heavy when I try opening my eyes, I know that I’ll be falling asleep soon enough. But tonight, nada.

And then I started thinking about stuff I could blog about. So what better time to write said blog than right when I’m thinking about it?

The 3 things I was thinking about were:

1) I’ve been toying with the idea of training for a sprint triathalon. I haven’t quite found the energy to  commit to another running race of any substancial distance (or any race at all, for that matter) and one of my co-workers, D, is training for a triathalon. She’s planning on doing like 6 different ones this summer. Um, one sounds good to me.

I finally looked up training programs this week and realized that Holy Cow! If I’m really going to do a triathalon this summer, I need to start training like, 2 months ago. Because even though I’m a decent runner, I am not in biking shape (I can do a leisurely 7 miles…) and I don’t know the first thing about swimming. The triathalon I want to do is July 18th (3 days after my 26th b-day!), so that leaves me just about 19 weeks from tomorrow to train. Gulp.

First order of business is getting the equipment. I need a swimsuit (as I don’t own a one-piece), I need to get my bike fixed and to buy a helmet, and in an ideal world, I would also buy new sports bras (for the running part, though it’s just a 5K so I’m not too worried about it).

Second order of business is mustering up the courage to go to the swimming pool. For some reason, the pool intimidates me to no end. If there was some way I could get around having to go to a public pool (where there are probably rules I don’t know about and people who will gawk and point at this poor little girl who only knows how to doggie paddle–ok, so I do know some real strokes), I totally would do it. But I don’t think there is. At least, not an economical way.

Man, I can just see myself putting this off and putting this off. But once I buy a swimsuit (hopefully tomorrow), I will have no excuse!

In the meantime, I will be trading the elliptical for the bike at the gym in hopes of getting ready for a 10.5-mile bike ride. I will also be raising money for Life Choices Pregnancy Center, since the triathalon I want to do is the Tri For Your Cause. So if you all want to support me, I totally encourage it! (But I would wait until I have a better idea if this whole doing-a-triathalon-this-summer idea is realistic).

2) As I mentioned in my earlier post, I went out for Chinese food tonight with Travis and Debb (my boss) and her husband, Rick. It was lot of fun. Driving home, I realized what a blessing it is to have older Christians in our lives who we can learn from and bond with. I have never been friends with people so much older than me before but I like it!

Anyway, I ordered the Sweet N Sour Chicken. I had debated about ordering tofu and veggies but settled on the chicken. It was a disappointing meal. The chicken was really tough and it just wasn’t that fantastic. (Chinese food is one of those take-it-or-leave-it foods for me. I’m not that huge of a fan…although I do love tofu.) A disappointing meal turned into a regrettful meal once I discovered (no surprise) that the fried chicken gave me acid reflux.

A condition I didn’t realize I had until it landed me in the ER one day with horrible chest pains, acid reflux (for me) is just a nuisance. Instead of being painful, it usually just makes me feel incredibly nauseated. When I overate on fried food at a friend’s birthday party, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I had just ridden on a merry-go-round for 24 hours straight. I couldn’t throw up so I went back to bed in writhing pain, only to realize that I had acid reflux, not an upset stomach (at least not the kind that makes you puke). So I took some meds, propped myself up on 4 giant pillows, and fell back asleep. The next morning, though, I seriously felt like I had been throwing back tequila shooters all night. A literal food hangover. Yuck.

But tonight, I just feel a little nauseated. Which isn’t fun when I have a cold and sore throat to begin with. Ah, but such is life.

Which brings me to my conclusion:

KATHY’S STOMACH: “Kathy, you don’t like fried food. You don’t like greasy food.”

KATHY’S TASTE BUDS: “I know, I know. It just all sounds so good on the menu. But then I order it and it really doesn’t live up to the hype. I usually end up wishing I had ordering some grilled chicken on a salad. Or a sandwich. Like the Panera breakfast sandwich that I’m going to eat tomorrow morning. Or a Tasty Turkey sandwich from Einstein Bros. Bagels. Mmmm…turkey.”

STOMACH: “So why do you still eat fried and greasy foods when you don’t like them and you know they give you acid reflux?”

TASTE BUDS: “Um, I don’t know.”

STOMACH: “Well, will you cut it out already? I’m dying down here.”

That’s what you get from me at 11:48 PM. (Hey, it’s late for me!)

3) I have a wonderful little day planned out tomorrow. Travis is getting up at 6 AM to go ice fishing so that means I have the morning and early afternoon all to my lonesome.

If I can get to sleep sometime this week, I’ll be getting up early-ish (who knows what time since my sleep schedule is all out of whack now–usually I get up around 7:00) and going to the Rec for some much-needed exercise. (Note: I will be doing the bike in prep for the tri…and probably some elliptical too, we’ll see how I feel). Then I will shower and head to Panera for a delicious breakfast sandwich (every morning I hear their commercial, my mouth starts to water…their sandwiches that good). While at Panera, I will get in the Word and probably do a crossword. Then I might go to the library. The book I had wanted to check out (Good Calories, Bad Calories) sounds a lot more scientific and intense than I can handle…but maybe I’ll find another book I want to check out.

I also need to clean the house and chip away some more of my article to translate, AND I need to buy a swimsuit for the tri, but other than that, my day is wide open.

So there you have it, 3 midnight thoughts to snack on. Toodles.

So about that…

6 Mar

I’ve been struggling lately.

I didn’t get in the Word once while in Columbus (at a Christian conference no less!) I got in the Word Wednesday and today but out of sheer willpower. 

I encounter the cards with my memory verses on them every time I open my Bible. There they are, tucked neatly between the pages of Romans. I feel a twinge of guilt as I stuff them back between the pages at the end of my quiet time. I’m still writing verses on cards every Sunday. I’m just not memorizing them.  

Every time I go to the bathroom (excuse me if it’s TMI), I am reminded (and grossed out) about how dirty my bathroom floor is. Once I notice that, I start glancing around at the other surfaces and notice that indeed, they are all just filthy.

In this year’s election, I voted for Obama. But I am just now familiarizing myself with the changes he’s made and policies he’s created…oh and giant bags of money he’s handed out. And I majored in journalism. Yeah, I know, I would suck at being a journalist. Politics to me is like sports–I find it just interesting enough to care but not interesting enough to consistently pay attention.

[Side note: I am sooo glad that I am not the President right now–or really anyone that needs to make decisions about our nation’s future. When I read about the financial situation of the global economy, I want to crawl into bed and pretend that the problem will just disappear on its own. I bet you’re glad I’m not the President too.]

My vacation to Mexico is a week from this Sunday and I haven’t felt more bloated and flabby than I do right now in a long while. Eating chinese for dinner tonight didn’t help. I honestly tried Intuitive Eating from when I wrote my last post about this until yesterday…when I broke down and logged my calories on Livestrong. “Just until after Mexico…” I tell myself. Uh huh, right, just keep telling yourself that.

I volunteered to translate articles from English to Spanish with Gospel Translations and while I’ve had the article sitting in my inbox since February 16th, I just started working on it Wednesday night…And I only translated 3 paragraphs.

Well, this blog post wasn’t meant to turn into a Woe Is Me lament. I’m just being honest–this is where I am right now. I am a messy, ambitious but lazy, paradoxical, confusing sort of person.

Some people have willpower of steel. They have to force themselves to take it easy (and even then, they don’t really take it easy). 

Some people are always laidback and chillaxing. They have to force themselves to do at least one productive thing during the day so they can say it wasn’t a total waste.

I am a pendulum that swings back and forth between the two. Sometimes it takes me a month to swing from maniacal to couch potato. Sometimes it only takes a day. You could say I’m slightly bipolar. Or you could say that I’m just your average woman. Both would be accurate.

Waiting upon God

4 Mar

Tired but happy. That’s how I would describe my mood today. Since going to Columbus last Thursday for the National Youth Ministry Conference, I have felt like myself again. Happy. Positive. Social. Energetic. Alive. I had been in a funk for so long that I actually forgot I was in a funk.

It’s good to be out.

But now I’m battling a cold. Boo. I like to think that because I take care of myself through eating healthy and exercising regularly, I’m somehow above getting sick. My sore throat and achy body remind me that I’m not.

The conference was great though. I felt very blessed by the opportunity to go. It was great getting to bond with my co-workers (and bosses!) outside of work. My roomie was Debb, the Exec VP of Ministry Advancement (a.k.a. my boss’ boss). She’s the head of our side of the ministry. She’s great–very business savvy and driven but also very down-to-earth, friendly, and open about her life. That’s one of the things that I really love about being a Christian–there’s this authenticity regardless of your status or rank that you just don’t find anywhere else–because we know that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.

So here’s a tiny recap of what we did at the conference (I’ll try not to bore you with details): Thursday, we flew into Columbus and set up the booth. Friday, the conference started. I had 2 shifts in the booth (meet and greet kind of thing) for a total of 4.5 hours (but I also worked on marketing copy when not in the booth). Saturday, we had two 2-hour track sessions. I helped set up our room and the tables with all of our handouts, centerpieces, decorations, etc. Sunday, same thing. Two 2-hour track sessions. Monday, Super Session (90-minute condensed version of the previous 4 sessions), booth teardown, and repalletizing. Flew back to Denver (and I got to have lunch with Rick Lawrence, the editor of Group Magazine!! How cool is that?!?! I feel like the nerdy kid who gets to meet all these cool, important people as I tag along with Greg Stier and Debb).

During the mornings and afternoons of the conference, the sessions took up pretty much all of my time so the only general sessions I was able to go to were the evening ones (that ran from 7:00-9:15). I got to see the band Braddigan (Brad Corrigan was the lead singer of Dispatch!) and Derek Webb in concert, as well as hear Doug Fields and Alex and Brett Harris speak. I also got a bunch of freebies, which is always fun. 🙂 I went to one late night session (from 9:30-11:30 so it got pretty late after a long day!), a documentary that Braddigan made about a concert they played for a garbage dump community in Nicaragua. It was very moving and sad. It made me realize that it is only by God’s grace and providence that I was born into a middle class family in the United States. I could’ve just as easily been born in a garbage dump in Nicaragua. It has renewed my conviction that I need to do something with my privilege, instead of just living for myself. More on that some other day. 🙂

For the time being, work is pretty busy, which is great. During one of our many chats, Debb told me something that has convicted me and clarified a lot of my career struggles. She said that if I concentrate on what she called my current “circle of influence” (the areas that I have influence and impact on now) and seek to do my current job with excellence, more opportunities will be given to me. I can’t concentrate only on what I want to be doing (while slacking on what’s right in front of me), because opportunities aren’t given to people who don’t prove themselves. I have to work myself into where I want to be. Jesus said Matthew 25:21, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”  

That is convicting because I  have been guilty of half-hearted work at my current job. I haven’t sought to do the job with excellence. I have done the status quo. There has been a nagging thought in the back of my mind (no doubt from the Holy Spirit) that I am not glorifying the Lord with lukewarm efforts. I have tried to motivate myself to be more enthusiastic, to no avail. But something changed over the weekend: I realized that Debb believes in me and wants me to advance beyond where I am right now. It’s amazing what a difference that makes, to have someone championing you and wanting you to succeed and be the best you can be. It makes me want to be the best I can be. It makes me realize that I do have potential and I just need to apply it.

What Debb said is also clarifying because as she is older and wiser than me, and has gone through a lot of the struggles I’m going through right now, she can speak truth and wisdom into them. She reminded me that I am not in charge of where my life goes. I don’t need to (and can’t) direct it, plan it out, chart in a graph. God does that. I just have to be faithful with where I am right now. There is an Elisabeth Elliot quote that I used to reference constantly when Travis and I were dating:

I wait dear Lord. Thy ways are past finding out. Thy love too high. O hold me still beneath Thy shadow. It is enough that Thou lift up the light of Thy countenance. I wait – because I am commanded so to do. My mind is filled with wonderings. My soul asks “Why?” But then a quiet word, “Wait thou only upon God.” And so not even for the light to show a step ahead, but for Thee, dear Lord, I wait.

What an amazing woman of God! Her testimony provided immeasurable assurance to me in the midst of the greatest spiritual struggle I’ve had. And those words of wisdom still apply here, to what is, deep down, the same struggle in a different disguise. Then, I wanted to know if Travis and I would get married. Now, I want to know what God’s will and plan for my life is.

It’s easy for me to put a certain spin on my sin so that it doesn’t look like sin, per se, but more like just a character flaw. For example, with my body image, instead of outrightly saying, “God, I don’t like the body you’ve given me,” I put a spin on it and say “Well, I’m not content with my body because I’m not vigilant enough with diet and exercise.” Another example, Travis struggles with feeling jealous of other couples who have bought bigger, nicer houses than we did. Instead of outrightly saying, “God, the house You provided us isn’t good enough for me,” he spins it and says “Well, maybe we should have looked at foreclosures more. Maybe I made a poor real estate deal.” By putting the blame on ourselves, we can “get away with” being discontent in and with God (only in the sense that we don’t immediately recognize it as being discontent with God).

In the same way, I’ve put a spin on my struggle with life direction and career, etc. I’ve told myself, “Well, I’m the one who has to act. God can’t make my life be what He wants it to be if I’m being lazy and self-interested all the time.” Those excuses have been covering up my unbelief in God’s plan. Unbelief in His ability and willingness to guide my life. I pray for God to reveal His will for my life, all the while expecting for His will to look completely different than my life looks right now. Why? I haven’t consciously subverted God’s will. I’m not living in sin. Why would God’s will be different than my life right now? Whether I believe it or not, God is leading me.

I’ve also put this spin on my struggles with marriage. Instead of waiting upon God and turning to Him for help, I told myself, “Well, it’s my own sin that is causing these situations. How can I approach God for help with this when it’s all my fault in the first place?!?”

I realized over the weekend that I have been silently accusing God of not helping me–mostly in my marriage, but all areas of my life have been affected. I have been spinning my wheels, so to speak, in trying to better my marriage, my job, myself–for so long that I thought God and His Spirit had abandoned me to my own devices. If my marriage was going to improve or I was going to figure out my life, I was going to have to do it myself. Kay Warren wrote in her book, Dangerous Surrender, that Saddleback had been waiting for a church building of their own for 13 years. After many setbacks and hurdles, there was yet another. “Certainly we believed…in God’s timing…but eventually it got so old.” Certainly I believe in God’s power to sanctify and guide me…but being stuck and in the dark has gotten so old.

That’s where Elisabeth Elliot’s quote comes into play. I ask “Why?” and God says “Wait thou only upon God.” Don’t wait upon an answer, a breakthrough, a promotion, a better body, a better self–wait thou only upon God.

Whew.

2 Mar

I have been really out of the computer loop because I was just in Columbus for 5 days with Dare 2 Share for the National Youth Ministry Conference (my first business trip!!) And since I don’t have a work laptop (and my personal one weighs like 10 lbs), I didn’t have access to the internet the whole time we were there (which I was actually ok with!) The conference was a whirlwind but a total blast. I want to spend some QT with my husband right now so I will wait until tomorrow (which I have off!) to recap the weekend.

Until then…