Archive for November 2012

What I am thankful for

I guess since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I should write a post about what I am thankful for. I’ve struggled all week to write something, and I don’t know why it never occurred to me to write about Thanksgiving. Well, actually, that isn’t entirely true. It’s hard to be thankful when you are sick and have a pulled muscle and you want to wallow in self-pity. ;)

Lots of folks have been posting as their daily status on Facebook something that they are thankful for. I guess it’s supposed to be done for each day of November. Half the time, I don’t even post a status anymore. But I digress, and am already getting off topic.

This year I am thankful for the trials I have been through for about the past 5 years. One normally isn’t thankful for having their dad die, their mom to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, 2 back-to-back job problems, 2 teenagers with issues (likely stemming from their parent’s issues), and an alcoholic spouse who had to go to rehab. Who in their right mind would be thankful for stuff like that? Let me tell you, each and every one of those situations sucked big time! There have been times that I wanted to just run away, and times (like late last year) that I was so depressed that I wanted to die. (Note: I was not suicidal. There is a BIG difference.) But each of these things in their own unique ways brought about much needed changes in my life.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. (James 1:2-3 ESV)

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 ESV)

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV)

Each of the events increasingly broke down my emotional barriers and showed how much of my life I had spent controlling or avoiding situations around me in order to keep the barriers up and to fortify them. Little by little, and painfully the control issues, the emotional stuffing, and what I thought was long buried insecurity all busted out and tore me down to a state much like I was as a pre-teen. Broken and undone. But this time around, I couldn’t just go through the motions and perform like I was so (in my mind anyway) adept at as a kid. Daddy didn’t set his affairs in order before he died because he was a control freak. Yeah, that would be where I get it. Mom started showing signs of Alzheimer’s soon after Daddy’s stroke, but even more so when he died. I still had to work. I couldn’t check out from parenting. And I couldn’t check out from my marriage. I couldn’t just cope with all these issues; I had to actually work through them. Oh, and also during this time, I had a LOT of sin to face and repent of that I had fallen into while wrapped up in my self-righteousness.

In my brokenness, I had only one place to turn, and that was to God. The worse things got, the more I was driven to him, and that is why I am thankful for the trials. I learned after many many years to actually trust God. I learned to open up to close friends about my struggles so they could pray for me and help me through them. So, yeah, I am thankful for the trials that are beginning to get me out of self-reliance and into God-reliance.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)

Oh the pain

It’s funny. Sometimes I can connect the dots right away, and sometimes it takes me a while. And, yeah, sometimes it’s after the fact. With the exception of a couple meals last week with cornbread, I’ve been eating vegan since the 5th. I know this would involve detoxing, much like I did back in January, but I didn’t expect it to be painful. Sure, I am probably reaching, but the migraine last week followed by joint pain this week is almost the same as I went through back in January when I gave up the artificial flavors/colors/preservatives. Which makes me wonder just how bad was I really eating since I didn’t give up meat back in January. Regardless, Monday and Tuesday I had awful leg pain without having been on my feet enough to justify that kind of leg pain. Yesterday, it was concentrated mainly in my left leg, though it was in general the entire left side. Today it is the right side. Weird.

Anyway, so I am now losing the 5 pounds I gained thanks to the Halloween candy container that is located in my office. I have noticed another benefit of giving up meat, but I will spare you that despite the fact I shared it with Petra already. She was very appreciative that I told her. hahaha! I got on pinterest again and found a few more recipes that were either already gluten free/vegan or were easily modified. It would be great if I actually liked to cook, but alas, I really would rather heat up a box or bowl full of chemically enhanced “food” than prep. :sigh:

So really this point of this post is just to whine because I want a bacon cheeseburger. And I want it on a gluteny bun. And the hubster wants me to cook the usual big Thanksgiving spread. :sigh:

So now I can just relax

Let me repeat what I said when I got to mile 11 of the half marathon: “You only have 2 more miles and then you never have to run again!” But, then my knees quit hurting, and the reality of the fact that I actually ran* 13.1 miles sunk in and I was like “Yeah, I can do that again.” Sort of.

I certainly cannot do that run again, hilly or flat, without some additional training besides just running. While I can run faster and longer since I lost weight, the loss of fat around my knees have not really been replaced by muscle, and so that old problem of too much side to side kneecap movement is a problem again. This also (I think) is causing some knee rotation which affects both my ankles and hips. So, I will be working on strengthening my knees to build up muscle and decrease patella movement.

Also, I need to work on core. This, too, affects everything from the waist down. That and I would love to see some definition back in my upper body. There is still a significant amount of flab under my arms and on my back in addition to the spare tire I am still carrying around. My doctor told me that my weight is now fine, and that I just need to concentrate on fitness rather than weight loss. So I am not looking so much to lose weight as to firm and tone.

And now that I am no longer hurting from the half, I am thinking that I might get up the nerve to run a full next year. I’m mostly committed to another half in March (I told Karyn she would probably be able to talk me into it, but I haven’t registered yet), and how I perform in that will determine finally if I will shoot for a full…which Karyn will have to do with me. ;)

I ran 3 miles Saturday because 1) I’ve been registered for a 5k on Dec 1 since like August and 2) Karyn talked me into an 8k Thanksgiving morning. So I made myself run even though I absolutely did not want to. It was cold, and I didn’t wait long enough after using my inhaler so I wheezed and gasped for 2 of the 3 miles. I booked it pretty well the last half mile because I had to use the bathroom. Yes, you all need to know that. If I’d ran more than 3 miles, there would have been an accident. Just sayin’.

And finally, since the DragonLady refuses to run in the dark alone, she is going to join the YMCA because she is pretty sure that would be cheaper than buying a treadmill with a wide track. I couldn’t use the one we had because I stagger too much when I run, and the track was just too narrow for me. The hubster was fine with it, but we sold it because it was mainly collecting dust…much like our elliptical and stationary bike and Bowflex.

So, yeah, I guess I can’t really relax relax. But, I have a couple of weeks before half marathon training begins again.

*Run is a relative term. Trot/slow jog would have better described the last 3-4 miles since there were walkers passing me.

Maniacal Monday #13

1. I hurt. Nearly every joint in my body. It makes me cranky.

2. I have the munchies. This is particularly difficult to deal with when trying to eat vegan and you really really want a bacon double cheeseburger on a gluteny bun. This also makes me cranky.

3. I did a lot of laundry today. I hate laundry. See a pattern yet? ;)

4. We had family photos done Saturday. The children were completely uncooperative. 16 and 14 are the new 4 and 2 which was their ages last time we had a family photo shoot done (because I don’t count the church directory photos from a couple years ago).

5. This young man, Travis, and his aunt and uncle came to our church and spoke yesterday. Incredibly moving and so inspiring. I am so glad I got the chance to meet them.

6. I made myself run Saturday morning. I only did 3 miles, but it was my fastest 3 miles.

7. I want this:

I call him Chester.

8. Wants someone to come fold and put away my laundry.

And the sun still rises in the east

Yesterday was something else. I woke up with a worse headache than I had gone to bed with, finally conceding that since no over the counter meds and no amount of hot showers were touching the pain significantly, the headache was a migraine. So I called in sick and took prescription pain meds which successfully took care of the pain while making me all loopy and ADHD. That’s why I didn’t write anything yesterday.

Tuesday night the hubby asked me, “So who do you think is going to win?” First I rolled my eyes because I knew he was just poking at me because I was so fed up with the politickin’, but then I grinned and I just said, “God.” Now I was pretty certain well before the election that President Obama would win reelection. In 2008 I was completely certain he would win the election. And, you know, in 2008, I realized that I could be at peace with Barack Obama as President even though I disagree with him politically on pretty much everything.

Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him. (Daniel 2:20-22 ESV)

The President of the United States is not a king, nor is he the supreme ruler. His power is shared equally with that of Congress and the Supreme Court. In 2008, Republicans ridiculed the Democrats saying that they raised Barack Obama up as their messiah. After the lamenting I saw yesterday, Republicans did the same thing with Mitt Romney, and were therefore crushed by his loss as if the world is now going to end. There was (and still is) a plethora of derisive blaming and name-calling by defeated Republicans that is nothing short of vile and mean-spirited. And what’s worse is that many of the awful remarks I have seen are from professing Christians.

I think what the Christians lamenting the direction our nation is heading fail to realize is that we are not going to be judged for what is happening now or what is going to come now that the Republican messiah wasn’t elected (because apparently now if you are a Christian you have to be a Republican). We ARE being judged for what we have done for decades with our legalistic moralism and prosperity gospel teachings. The legalistic moralism focuses on sins that good Christians don’t do while the prosperity gospel promises us material wealth and happiness in the here and now. So what we are left with is either the self-righteous critical Christian or the selfish materialistic country club Christian, the latter of which pretty much prescribes to moral relativism and only as much backbone as to protect their possessions and personal comfort.

So to my fellow Christians I ask this: Which are you? Or are you a combination of both?

I think as a whole, Christians here in the US, particularly among the Bible Belt, are known more for what we are against than what we are for. We will attend political rallies disguised as prayer walks, and we will support entrepreneurs when they offend homosexuals, and then pat ourselves on our backs for standing up for our faith and our freedom of speech. But where is Christ in that? We want to pass laws to protect human life and protect marriage, but when has the law ever changed the human heart? We rail against homosexual marriage but turn a blind eye or even justify no-fault divorce. We may not be quite as vile as the Westboro Cult, but we still point the finger at homosexuals telling them that they are going to hell for their sin as if being homosexual is THE sin that will send them to hell, yet we are largely silent about fornication and adultery. Therefore, homosexuals see us just as they see the Westboro clowns because while we don’t picket funerals with “God hates fags” signs, we are just as guilty of not showing the love we are commanded to show to our neighbors.

So Christians, you want to “turn our country back to God”? You can’t do that through political means. Once social issues are political issues, the culture war on that issue has already been lost. Laws don’t change hearts; only the Holy Spirit can do that. Engage the culture instead of just condemning and avoiding it. Disciple instead of pressing for a quick decision that amounts to offering a “get out of hell free” card that produces no fruit. Stop looking at evangelism as a way to fill up your church building on Sunday mornings so you can continue to pay for it, and instead be willing to give up the comforts of an elaborate building in order to actually lead the lost to Christ and build his kingdom instead of filling our pews. Pray for a heart that is broken for the lost, and repent of your own self-righteousness. And pray for your duly elected leaders, whether you voted for them or not – not for your comfort, but for God’s glory.

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17 ESV)

Rex Healthcare Half Marathon Recap

I ran my first half marathon yesterday. I did manage to run the entire 13.1 miles though from about 8.5 miles on, people were increasingly walking faster than I was running. Karyn talked me into running a half and we’ve been training for this since June/July. Harsh, brutal, hilly training especially when we ran at Kiwanis. We reached a point where we had to start doing the long runs together for accountability. By together, I mean we would start running together, and then she would pass me 2 or 3 times before I finally managed to finish my run. ;) We had good runs, bad runs, injuries, illnesses, and events that threw kinks into our training, but we kept on even when we didn’t really want to.

Molly, Abby, & Ryley made me the most awesome motivational video that may or may not have made me cry a little. ;)

We made it to race day after a week of avoiding eating anything that might cause “issues” during the run, and got up with dread because 1) we knew it was going to be cold and 2) there was chance for rain which would suck very much in the cold. Fortunately, the rain passed through before we even left the house. But did I mention it was cold?

Seriously, if I could have run like that I would have. lol It did get a little better once we got in line because other people were blocking the wind, and there were a LOT of people. Thousands turn out for sixth City of Oaks Marathon By the way, you can see the back of my head in the 2nd image on the right side mid-way down with the obnoxious yellow top and yellowish headband with the ponytail. I know this only because I caught the video during a WRAL halftime report, and kept backing up video (thank you dvr) until I was able to pick myself out. Anyway, when the gun went off, we slowly walked towards the start line and when we got close enough to the start chute to start running, Karyn disappeared. Yes, she runs that fast. ;)

Since we had driven the route the week before, we knew the first 6 miles were going to be the hardest. Many times I thought, “This is why we did hills.” Boylan Ave. Ugh. That entire stretch was a hill and nearly a mile. I was able to maintain my normal pace until about mile 8, and then I gradually slowed. At mile 10, my knees started hurting pretty bad. At mile 11 I thought, “It’s only 2 more miles and I never have to run again!” Right before mile 12, Karyn popped out from the last water station, and ran the remaining little over a mile with me. About a half mile from the finish line I asked her for an epidural. Yes, I was hurting that bad. Her husband and kids were hanging out right before the finish line, and her kids had made me a sign:

The hubster was behind the chute, and after I got my medal & a bottle water, I collapsed into him saying “It hurts so bad!!” and tried not to cry. I took one of the offered foil blankets because I was FREEZING and it at least kept the wind off my wet upper body. We found Karyn & Joe and had the hubbies take our pictures with our medals.

On the way home it occurred to me that not only did I not time the run myself on either my watch or my phone, but I did not look at the time when I got to the finish. I’m sure they had times posted there, but I didn’t even bother with checking that out. So it was nearly 10pm last night before I saw my time. Now, I was sure that it took over 3 hours because the 3hr pacer ran past me at about 11.5 miles. So imagine my surprise to see 2:58:35.

Today, I hurt. Everything hurts. Let the recovery begin.

Random Randomness

1. I am running my first half marathon Sunday with veteran marathoner Karyn. We drove the route last Sunday afternoon. The first 6 miles are going to suck.

2. I have run 340.76 miles this year…so far. Petra asked me last Friday night if I was running Saturday, and I said, “Yeah, but it’s only 6 miles.” Then I realized what I just said and followed up with “I can’t believe those words just came out of my mouth.”

3. Part of the conversation with Petra was about how crappy we’ve been eating lately and how crappy we feel because of our diets. So, starting Monday, I’m going to attempt to go vegan again. And because of me she can no longer eat hotdogs. lol

4. I am so ready for the election to be over with. I am so sick of the ads. Every year I get more and more sick of them. You know, with all the millions (or is it billions) that were spent on advertising, a lot of the poor could be fed – by each side.

5. I still don’t know how many kittens Spot had, but they are under the non-functional wet bar. Technically, I could just pull up the sink (since it isn’t fastened down) and count. But that area is like another closet where we just stuff things quickly to get it out of the way instead of putting it away (or throwing it away), so it would turn into a place to clean.

6. Have watched part of 2 episodes of Survivor this season for the first time…ever. I swore never to watch that show because in general I cannot stand “reality” shows. But, Blair…lol

7. Tuesday was our 19 year anniversary. 19 years. Wow. Where has the time gone?

8. The hubster took the kids trick or treating last night. I did not get a single picture. :( I did, however, pay a large price for clothing items for their costumes. :-/

9. So I was booking it at the end of my run last night and thinking how great it felt and wishing I could feel like that for the first 2 miles, and then I realized that that was only the 3rd lap. I still had one more to go, and it was getting dark quick. Suffice to say, I maintained or maybe exceeded that pace for the remaining lap and a half (by lap, I am talking 1 circle around campus which is .94 miles) because it was dark and I was scared that werewolves were going to come out of the woods and eat me. Ok, I wasn’t really afraid of werewolves, but anybody could have stepped out of the woods and I’d have been done. Fear is a great motivator for speed. ;)

10. The hubster has a done a FANTASTIC job of cleaning up around the house since he’s been back. Aside from the upstairs rooms, I am no longer embarrassed to have someone come over to the house.