Archive | December, 2009

Minnesota Christmas

28 Dec

I’m in Minnesota right now at Travis’ parents’ house in Grand Rapids. We got here last night after driving up from Pine City, where we were at my parents’ lake cabin for Christmas with my family.

Christmas was nice and relaxing. We ate and opened presents late on Christmas Eve, then went to church and ate some more on Christmas Day. The church service on Christmas made me cry. It was a small-town Lutheran church and the pastor (a female) gave a confusing, vague and heretical sermon about the inner holiness that we need to see in every human by having our eyes healed by the baby in the manger. I know that there are members of my family who aren’t trusting Christ for salvation and it broke my heart to realize that hearing messages like that might make them think that they’re ok and don’t need Christ. I was actually so frustrated with the sermon that I went up to the pastor afterward and told her my concerns. She looked at me with pity and compassion, agreeing with everything I said and contesting nothing. I walked away even more frustrated. I wanted to tell her that she was leading people to hell with her heresies but I didn’t. I don’t think it would’ve done any good anyway.

We visited our good friends Mark and Sarah last night at Mark’s parents’ house. They live in NC so we don’t get to see them very often. Mark was the best man in our wedding and they got married about a month after we did. They just had a baby girl in August. So weird! It is very hard for me to grasp the fact that Travis and I are old enough to be parents and it could be just a matter of a few years before we actually are. So weird.

But I am think I am ready to have kids for the most part. We are going to wait until Travis is done with grad school (God willing) and we have more of our debt paid off. But I’m thinking we should wait only another 2-3 years at the most. I’ll be 28-29 then. Our relaxed, spontaneous family vacations are limited. Kids will change the dynamic even more than spouses did. But as with them, it will be for the better. Good additions to the family. Plus, I love having “sisters.” 

I don’t know what we’ll do with Travis’ family while we’re here. Usually we go to a movie, sledding, snowmobiling, read, ice fish and talk. This year, Drew (our nephew) got Big Buck Hunter for the TV so Travis will of course be playing that a lot. It’s great being on vacation and just chilling with family. It makes Travis and I wonder what life would have been like had we stayed in MN instead of moving to CO. It would have been WAY different. And I think, easier. But we are glad that we moved. We believe that God led us out to CO and that He has us there for a reason. We still talk seriously about moving back in 5-10 years but Colorado is where we’ll stay for now.

Nevertheless, Minnesota will always feel like home.

Majorly bummed.

22 Dec

So the whole job thing didn’t quite work out as anticipated. Not only am I not starting in January, I’m not sure I’ll get a job with that organization at all. From what my friend D (who left D2S to work for them) tells me, it sounds like they are rethinking a lot of things and haven’t figured anything out for sure. They’ve even talked about changing her level of responsibility and even her payscale, which is totally not cool. So D is glad that this happened before I got in the middle of it but it’s still a major bummer. I was really ready to leave AND I was really excited about the new opportunity.

But it doesn’t sound like they’ve for sure decided to not hire anyone… it’s just more about timing. Do they hire someone now or 3, 6, 12 months from now? If D has any say in it, if they do eventually decide to hire someone, I would be offered the position. So the hope and potential is still there. It’s just no longer on the near horizon.

Before I found this out yesterday, I had been reminding myself of God’s goodness, love and perfect timing. After I found out, I saw how easily I could abandon all those truths and instead be mad at God. “Why can’t I have this job? Why did You let me get all excited about this when You knew it wouldn’t happen? Why do You have to teach me to rely on You this way? I really wanted this job and You knew it!”

That’s what I wanted to say.

But I can’t let that be my attitude. God does have perfect timing and He is good, regardless of circumstances. And 24/7, He is not only able but willing to provide for me. So when I am tempted to lament to myself “I can’t take any more of D2S! I want out NOW!”, I have to remind myself of 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” and Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” It makes it sound like D2S is a horrible place to work (which it isn’t) but it helps to remind myself that God will enable me to endure, to perservere, to press on even when the going is rough.

On a positive note, there is a blizzard moving in across Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota so Travis and I are leaving for Minnesota a day early (tonight!) I haven’t even started packing but luckily, I did my baking last night so that’s all ready to go. I didn’t get a chance to buy my oldest bro’s Christmas present (was going to do that tonight) so we’ll have to figure out a Plan B for that.

The positive side, though, is that 1) One less day of work 2) One more day with my family and 3) One less day of work.

Hopefully Christmas and my fam will cheer up my spirits.

Jitters.

17 Dec

It has been getting harder and harder to be at work this week. Not because I don’t want to be there or I’m bored. It’s the anticipation that’s killing me.

More and more it’s sounding like if this deal with this organization goes through and I get offered the job (I will tell more specifics later, if it ends up being a for-sure thing), I could start as early as January 4th. Which means I would give my 2 weeks notice next Monday 12/21 and be done on Wednesday 12/23, because of Christmas and the mandatory furlough my company is taking the week after Christmas. Not only that but I would get back from Minnesota on 1/3, the night before I would start my new job. I wouldn’t even have my home office set up or anything! It would definitely be a whirlwind if it went down that way.

But with the major transitions and restructuring right now (we let go of 5 employees last week), there is a lot of talk about who will be doing what going forward. I would like to be able to give notice before too many things get reassigned to me, because I’ll just have to turn around and tell them I’m leaving.

It sounds hopeful because the president of this nonprofit asked my friend D when I would need to know for sure in order to allow me to start at the beginning of Jan. So at least he’s aiming for that! If it doesn’t happen, I am trusting that it is God’s perfect timing and the best thing for everyone involved. I would either give my 2 weeks notice on Jan 4th or as soon as I could thereafter.

Man, it’s so hard not knowing!! This is definitely a lesson in patience and waiting on God. And I know that He is able and willing to provide for me, and He is sovereign and good. He has a plan for my life. This may be His plan (as it seems) but it may not. And I pray that I will have the grace to accept His plan either way.

The Beast

15 Dec

I am typing this post on an 8-year-old IBM ThinkPad. Yes, you read that right… EIGHT years old. IBM doesn’t even make ThinkPads anymore (they outsourced to some Asian company). This computer is ancient.

But hey, it’s still working. It has seen some trouble (hard drive crashed 3 years ago) but thanks to my tech-savvy dad and brother, it is alive and mostly well. With a little TLC, it could have a year or 2 left in it.

You might be wondering, why? Why hasn’t that computer been sent to the dump a long time ago? Why would I resurrect such an old computer when we have 2 others in our household? Why now?

Well, exciting things are transpiring in my life right now. I have a very definite possibility of getting a new job that would allow me to work from home 50% of the time, at a friend’s, er my boss’ house 25% of the time and on the road 25% of the time. I would be working with another non-profit organization that organizes and times races (5Ks, marathons, triathlons) to raise money for other non-profits. I would be doing all of the marketing (direct mail, flyers, emails, etc), as well as potentially organizing volunteers and other stuff yet to be fleshed out. In addition to that, I would travel to all of the races that this company is either organizing or timing. Some of the races are local but a lot of them are in Utah. So I’d get to stay in hotels, work outside, wear pajamas, and have pretty much the whole winter off.

I’m pumped.

But since this job involves working from home, Travis find ourselves in a small dilemma. The best computer we have is our new laptop but Travis has been using that for grad school. So he wouldn’t want me taking that with me on the road. Obviously, a desktop computer isn’t portable either, which leaves this ancient laptop. For light tasks, like word processing and sending/receiving emails, this computer will totally work (though we need to get it a new battery because right now, it only has power when it’s plugged in… if you unplug it, it is out like a light.) Hence why I resurrected it.

I am also totally pumped to redo our office. If I’m going to be working in there 20+ hours a week, it needs help. It needs organization and reorganization. It needs a new desk and better workspace. It needs more light and a happier paint color (right now it’s a bright teal/ocean blue). It’s pretty but not the feel I’m going for.

I’m hoping to find out by this coming Sunday whether or not the job is being offered (If it is being offered, it has already been decided that it will be offered to me and I have already decided that Ih will be taking it). Cross your fingers!!

Finally, peace with food.

5 Dec

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my relationship with food. I wrote about my desire to eat intuitively instead of counting calories in February and then about my failure at doing so in March. After those posts, Travis and I went on a weeklong vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with my parents, brothers & significant others, aunt & uncle, 3 cousins, & 1 of their girlfriends, where I proceeded to overeat at every meal, despite my best intentions to keep things under control. Not only that, but my stomach was upset every time I ate for the next 2 weeks. Not fun.

After our vacation, my triathlon training began in earnest. I went gung-ho into training, so much so that I lost all motivation to do anything else. I went to work, trained, ate and slept. I didn’t want to grocery shop or cook. I didn’t want to blog or read. I just wanted to sleep and eat. I mention this because while training for the tri, I cut out my usual indulgences (ice cream and wine) for the sake of training but since I was burning anywhere from 300-800 calories in a single workout, I was eating a lot. Not more than I needed at the time but just more than I had been pre-training. Calorie counting was a joke. For me, my appetite fluctuated so much from day to day and workout to workout that I just ate when I was hungry and tried to make those foods ones that would help my training.

After my first tri, I realized that training had taken over my life. I love cooking but I had resorted to making Easy Mac and frozen pizzas for dinner. Something had to change. So I decided that I would do as much training for the next tri as I could without having it take over my life. Some workouts were missed or shortened but I was making real food for dinner. Travis was glad to have me back. My tri time may have suffered but I am not in it to win it anyway. The winners in my age group are WAY faster than I am so I would have major improvements to do if I wanted to be competitive. Do I want it that much? Not if it means it takes over my life.

I really don’t know what changed during that time. Maybe I became more adept at listening to (and responding to) my body’s signals. Maybe the eureka moment about my priorities helped cement my feeling about calorie counting being a waste of time and not glorifying to God. Maybe tri training took my mind off food obsession just long enough for me to conquer it. I really don’t know.

But I do know that my relationship with food is totally different now than it was back when I wrote those initial blog posts. I almost don’t want to admit it, for fear of jinxing it and having it go back to the way things were. In my post about wanting to eat intuitively, I wrote,

“Growing up, I had a fast metabolism and never worried about what I ate or how much. I just ate whatever I wanted. If I wanted a doughnut, I ate a doughnut. If I wanted a chocolate milk and PB&J on a bagel for lunch every day for months, I ate it. I was free from worry about food.

I envy those days. I want them back. My life now is consuming with thinking about food.”

I can honestly say that I have those days back and my life is no longer consumed with thinking about food (although, like the typical woman, I still do think about food quite a bit!). I am no paranoid about gaining weight. I don’t obsess over every little calorie. I don’t feel guilty eating a cookie…or two. I don’t feel the compulsive urge to eat everything on a buffet table before it’s gone. I can pick at my food. I can leave something on my plate when it’s not as good as I thought it would be.

For me personally, this is earth shattering. Even though I wasn’t overweight, my childhood and teenage years were frequently punctuated with eating so much, I only wanted to lie down afterwards. During my first year of college, when I was smoking pot every day and binge drinking every weekend, overeating practically happened every day. I gained 20 lbs in 3 months.

My sophomore year was the first time I was obsessed with exercise and counting calories. I lost all the weight I had gained my freshman year but my focus on weight killed any happiness that would have given me.

That struggle obviously lasted long after I became a Christian, since I was still struggling with it back in March of this year (and I’ve been a Christian now for almost 5.5 years). And I hate to say it at risk of sounding cliche, but reading the book Intuitive Eating really changed my relationship with food. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has had issues with food.

The authors start small and work up to the big picture. First, they tell you to get rid of the “One Last Diet” mentality. No diet is ever going to help you reach your natural body weight without you constantly monitoring what you eat. Diets provoke feelings of guilt and deprivation, which is why they never work long-term. Rather, by giving yourself completely unrestricted permission to eat anything, anytime (as long as you’re actually hungry), you destroy the power that food has in your life. You may not experience it right away but you will get to the point where you can turn down food or eat food, not out of guilt or adherence to rules, but because you honestly want to.

I experienced this most poignantly at Thanksgiving this year. We had eaten the Thanksgiving meal and an hour or so later, were going to have pumpkin pie. My former self would have eaten pie regardless of how full I was. But this year, I honestly did not feel like having pie because I was still full from dinner and would not be able to enjoy the pie as much I would be able to if I wanted until I was less full. So I had a cup of coffee instead.

What? Is that me making those decisions? Since when don’t I want pie?

Another instance was last night at Travis’ company Christmas party. It was at a bowling alley and the party package included appetizers like sliders (which I absolutely love) and pizza. Usually, I pig out when surrounded by food. But I didn’t last night. I ate just the right amount and when I noticed that I was getting full, I stopped eating. Maybe that sounds normal for you but it is a huge step for me. And not only am I more at peace with my body now than I have ever been as an adult, I have even lost 5 lbs! The weight loss is totally a bonus though because even if it hadn’t happened, I love feeling the freedom and joy in not being dominated by food.

I’ve been listening to sermons by Tim Keller recently and he often talks about the Greek word “epithemia” which means “overdesire” or “epidesire.” My epidesire for pleasure and happiness used to reveal itself in food. I used to (subconsciously) think that food brought happiness and that eating lots of good food would make me happy. As it turns out, it doesn’t. It actually just makes you more miserable.

And that’s not a surprise. Because true happiness and joy come only through having a relationship with Christ. Regardless of what we try to use to fill the void in our souls, whether it be food, sex, drugs, moral deeds, or material possessions, we will always come up empty at the end of it, inflated with a superficial joy that pops whenever a tough circumstance rears its ugly head.

I may not fully understand how I got here, just like I don’t fully comprehend how God sanctifies me,  but I do know that it has brought me joy and turned my focus back to God and His priorities. And that is a beautiful thing.