Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Id



Primitive
As ochre reddened lips.

Urgent
As lovers separated.

Energetic
As waves that crash on the shore.

Unrealistic
As drinking gravel through a straw.

Innate
As a cavernous crumple on a seaman’s face.


From B's five word Friday list:

Crash

Crumple

Straw

Gravel

Ochre

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Mood


Ok, so I didn't put quite this many miles on my body today, but it sure feels like it. I am definitely now at 0 mph and boy am I glad. I hope I can work up the gumption to get out of this chair and go upstairs to bed. What a first day back to the real world!

The first clue that it was going to be a challenge to go from beach time to real world time was when the alarm went off at 5:15 and I sat up and said, "What in the world is that noise? Marty, what is that?! What? Well turn it off!"

Once my feet hit the floor I was on the ground running. I actually went for a walk to start my day. This was huge for a girl who only drinks coffee and reads for at least 45 minutes before even attempting a shower...really huge for my first day back to reality. I went out and came back in a few times before finally just making myself go. It took a lot of prayer. It felt really good once I was done, even if it was only 0.5 mile.

In the 30 minutes between work and Erin's first gymnastics class I managed to slip in Hallmark, Pier One, Hair Cuttery (but it has a new name), Sally Beauty Supply, and Rite Aid. This may be a record for me. I was a woman on a mission with limited time to complete it.

Thankfully I had a yummy, yummy roast waiting in the crock pot for when we finally made it home...glad you came on by and ate Ken, sorry we missed seeing you but happy you enjoyed the food! You can come by and eat anytime you are in town....maybe we'll be home next time.

Now I am finally sitting in my new happy chair (thank you Sandra, I'm thinking of it as a fabulous birthday present!), red wine in hand with Nelly playing. Whew, life is good.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Pilgrimage Begins


I have decided to try to reboot by feet of faith by going on my first pilgrimage. My first pilgrimage will be more realistic than the blister invoking 120 miles to Canterbury or the 500 grueling miles on the Camino...it will simply be going to church. As I started my journey this evening I had planned on tracking my mileage with a goal of 120 to Canterbury, but realized this was a lofty and less likely attainable goal for a beginner. As I prayed and walked I was reminded of Paul Boers' suggestion of walking to church (literally) as a way to put feet to your faith. It didn't take me long to choose this as my starting place, I mean let's get real here. You can't go from couch potato to an iron man overnight.

Several years ago Ken preached on drifting and advised everyone to confide their signs of drifting to friends they trusted. These friends would be your accountability partners. I realized then that one of my signs of drifting spiritually (and mentally) was when I stopped exercising. I've gotten far away from Ken's teaching and boy have I drifted.

If you notice my exercise ticker I've got my mileage started on the first pilgrimage and plan to start a new pilgrimage when this one is done. I may have to "walk to church" several weeks before picking a new destination. If you notice I'm not walking please email me and ask me about it. I obviously need accountability.

Also, if anyone is interested in joining me on a pilgrimage I'd love to have traveling companions!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Closing Remarks


When He designed earth's stormy oceans, God painted a picture of His spirit breathing His timeless passion out onto the heavy seas of time on the first day of creation ...He hung this picture in His nursery (earth) for His children to see. Peter Kreeft.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and
the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, "Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day.

And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening and there was morning -the second day.

And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and
the gathered waters he called "seas." and God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:1-10

Thy way was through the sea, Thy path through the great waters; Yet they footprints were unseen. Ps 77:19

"And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and his voice was like a noise of many waters and the earth shined with his glory. Ezekiel 43:2

Exaltation is the going
Of an inland soul to sea,
Past the houses-past the headlands-
Into deep Eternity.
Emily Dickinson

As another week by the sea ends so begins another season of life...adieu until next year.

Surf Snippets


Here are some snippets of conversations I heard while walking along the surf.

Two forty something men drinking beer, I could only hear one voice: "Yeah....Yeah...Hey Wait a minute on that one."

Thirty something man and woman walking towards the pier: Man "Can you imagine fishing from the pier today. Throw your line out and ZZPPTTFFF...gone." Woman "Hmmm"

Woman to boy about 5 or 6 years old: "You come back here and get your sunscreen on. I said come get your sunscreen on. Your mama's gonna be mad if she comes back and your burnt! Now come on!"

Two teenage looking boys, both with bogey boards: "Hey man, watch this!"

A group of people, one man talking: "...and then she said, 'I'm pregnant!' Can you believe that one?"

A very pregnant young girl to older lady: "Mama! Mama you'd better come get Jed! Look how far out in the water he is."

Older male to teen age boy: "So, ya think you're a fast runner? Do ya' think you could beat me? Of course I am older...and well, um...heavier..." (Imagine Yogi Bear's voice)

Two older women: "Then she said at the top of her voice 'Just look at these prices! Can you not do any better than this? This is outrageous!' I was so embarrassed and that is why I didn't want to go shopping with her again this time."


The Way


Somehow the books I've been reading this week all lead to the same path. Obviously I realized two of the books are related to exercise, but didn't plan on reading more about this topic. Methinks God is speaking...

Two more books I have come across, one I grabbed during a last minute dash before leaving Saturday, the other one B just finished. I devoured the first one The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen and have started devouring the other one The Way is Made By Walking by Paul Boers.

Nouwen uses the teachings of the Desert Fathers to cut the spiritual path set before us by focusing on solitude, silence, and prayer. He refers to solitude as "the furnace of transformation" (yikes, not the way I have been thinking about solitude); silence as a way to keep us as pilgrims so that we keep the inner fire of God tended; and prayer as standing in the presence of God with the mind in the heart.

Boers is writing about his experience while making a pilgrimage across the Camino de Santiago and speaks about Henri Nouwen as his spiritual father. He says God is a God of movement....wow, there is so much that could be discussed just based on that simple 3 word phrase. He has this to say about a pilgrimage: Pilgrimage unites belief with action, thinking with doing and requires that the body and its actions express the desires and beliefs of the soul. Pilgrimage is about integration, body and soul, feet and faith. He points out that Jesus was not only the Way, but also that he was usually found on the way...even traveling to Bethlehem in Mary's womb and he continued that course. Much of his teaching was done on the road. He didn't spend too much time in one place. Following Jesus is a journey.

Yes, I've thought about a pilgrimage across the Camino. I have a renewed interest in the pilgrimage to Thomas Beckett's tomb along the way of Canterbury...I read this in 9th grade and was amazed by the thought of making a pilgrimage even then. (Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer) No, I don't think I am being called to drop everything and trek through other countries, but this has made me realize that there is something God is telling me about my walk with him, about my daily pilgrimage, about being on the move physically as part of my faith walk...about seeking him, sole to soul with my feet of faith.

I'll be the first to admit that looking back on my life I think one of the reasons I didn't struggle with depression at a younger age was because I was so active. Reading the book Spark has redirected my thinking to the unique and marvelous creations humans are...so many ways God has made us to stay healthy in our minds and bodies. The minute connections of GABA, BFND, IFG, ANP, VEFG... and a host of others that keep our minds and spirits healthy...all stimulated by...you guessed it...EXERCISE. So why am I not using God's way to have a healthy mind?

As I walk through this grief process of losing my dad I have faced many demons that I thought long since gone. This walk is one of the most difficult and I could easily write and write about. There seems to be something daily that makes me think of and miss my dad. There is not a day on this vacation even that something hasn't reminded me of him...tears in my eyes and heart with missing him. My emotions are absolutely raw...crazy candy seems to be having odd effects on my brain rather than helping. My reserve tanks are empty.

God has hardwired us in such a way that there is something I can do through His strength. My readings this week have helped me see my needs and options more clearly. I can continue willy nilly letting the waves of life toss me about or I can seek God's path to healing. I can walk this journey with His strength made perfect in my weakness. For me I think walking isn't so much a choice as it is a necessity.

I have so many thoughts rolling through my brain and I'm not sure if this came out just right. I have a lot to process. So, pray that I will be on my way...The Way that is.

Thirsty Thursday


I thirst.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My American Idols

Sunday afternoon we noticed an interesting group of ladies parked next to us. They were laughing and talking, very carefree and enjoying one anothers company. I immediately thought of my own friends, picking out a twin for each of us. They intrigued me. It took all of about 5 minutes for the intrigue to win, for me to ask for their picture for my blog. They were so relieved they weren't in trouble for having glass bottles on the beach that they eagerly said yes.

As I started writing this my instinct was to focus on the humor of it all, but instead I found myself amazed at the beautiful tapestry created by the threads of their friendship. I have spent the week pondering the many stories they've lived, and how these interwoven threads provide not only beauty, but strength. I have tried to imagine the individual threads of loss and love, sickness and health, broken marriages and fragile relationships, death and birth, aging of self and parents, spiritual struggles and growth...the vastness of the collective wisdom each has to share...the unbelievable strength usually unnoticed by others.

Thinking about these ladies has made me thankful for the women in my life, the multi-colored threads that weave in and out of my story even as I am interwoven into theirs. It has been a poignant reminder to cherish and nurture my friendships, to hold onto each one as though I am holding threads of the most precious silk. It has been a reminder of how blessed I am to have sisters who are my friends and friends who are my sisters These are the women who will surround me when my hair is gray...these are the women who will remember the younger more daring me...the women who know the path I have walked because they have walked it with me...the women who will love me until the end.

These ladies didn't know me, I didn't know them, yet the conversation flowed with an excitement that crackled in the ocean breeze. Yes, these are my American Idols. The women who have walked the path before me, the women who have left a trail of crumbs for those who walk the path behind them....the women who live, love, and laugh together still.

Dear Ken


Sorry Ken...I accidentally rejected your comment. I'm not even sure which post you commented on, but it was very nice. I tried to undo the moderation thing...can you imagine me with an exercise watch with a timer??

Glad you are back and hope you had a great trip. Looking forward to the pictures! Try another comment so I can see if I fixed it.

Hello Lynn!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Birthday List



Someone suggested I post my birthday wishes on my blog to make things easier. At first I thought that I didn't want anything, but it is amazing how many things I could think of that I'd like to have. Something about wanting so much just feels wrong, but here goes.

In no certain order:
1. Exercise clothes (it is hard to beat new clothes for motivation,plus I'll feel guilty if I don't use
them).
2. Work out watch with a timer. (This should be funny.)
3. New sneaks for my aching feet....seriously.
4. Charm for my Pandora bracelet.
5. Amazon gift card is always marvelous.
6. Computer printer.
7. Trip to Greece or Italy.
8. New kitchen...stainless steel appliances and granite counters.
9. Furniture for my happy room.

Well, there's a good start. Happy shopping!



P.S. If none of the above works how about some warm, happy wishes?

My Totem Animal


Today I read more from my book that deals with walking and spirituality. The author has had one chapter on prayer which I liked, but a lot of this book is not so much what I was looking for. Although I did try an imagery thing out today. Here is the excerpt from the book so you can try it.

"If I were an animal, I would be a ...."
What came to your mind? Just say it. Fast. No need for analysis or deep contemplation. "If I were an animal, I would be a..." What's there? No matter. This animal wants to walk with you. Stop right now and consider the animal that came to you at the first flash of your imagination. Invite this animal to accompany you on your next exercise outing. As you walk, imagine it moving beside you, or leading you, the way my tiger sometimes does. Find something in the animal's walk or in its use of energy that you imitate with your own body and spirit....A totem animal has special significance...in many cultures it is believed that there is a natural affinity between that animal and the person to whom it appears.

What was the first animal that came to your mind?

Even I hate to admit this, but mine was a monkey. Good grief. Stop laughing. Since I am trying to be positive here I decided to invite my new little buddy on my walk today. (yes I did walk!!!) We had a fine walk. I decided to name him as we strolled along the surf. I came up with a couple of names for him...LocoMoco, no not as in crazy, but as in fast and strong, like a locomotive. My other name is Nutty Bit. My Little Nutty Bit.

He was a bit distracting though...noisy and hyper...and the flea search, well you can imagine. I decided not to imitate his movements as I didn't want to alarm other beach goers.

I'm thinking I may need to stick praying and breathing.

Can't wait to hear what your totem animal is.

Stress Shrinks

Egads! I think my hippocampus has shrunk to the size of a raisin!

The neuroscience behind exercise and the brain declares that chronic stress can actually cause your hippocampus to shrink. They also think the hippocampus does a lot more than we have realized in the past. Yet another reason you should exercise especially during times of stress. Exercise is the weapon that defeats the dreaded effects of stress. The good news is, even if your hippocampus has gotten all shrunk up you can unshrink it through exercise.

Guess as my butt has grown my hippocampus has shrunk....might as well take my chubby butt and shrunk up hippocampus down the beach for a walk today.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beach Reads


Two of the books in my bag are about exercise. I am really trying to get myself motivated to exercise again. I don't recall ever needing this kind of boost as I've always enjoyed exercise, but for some reason I just can't seem to get myself going. I haven't even walked on the beach which is completely unusual for me. The girl who always took PE as an elective while my other girlfriends couldn't wait to opt out. Of course I was also the one who took an extra speech class ...or two... what did my friends do for fun anyway??

Anyway, on to my books. One book is about the spiritual connection with exercise and was written in 1998 by a female journalist. The other was written in 2008 by a male MD who looks more at the effects of exercise on the brain/mind. Two completely different views, which is why I thought they'd be great to be read together...kind of like the concept behind a Reese Cup.

The first looks at spiritual growth as you exercise...using your soles to boost your soul and vice versa. It seeks to help the reader use walking to enhance clarity, balance, and spirituality. I am intrigued with the many ways you can grow your soul...the many paths to God. So far, the writer hasn't really come across as a Christian, but she has used examples of others who have used exercise as their direct line to God. Great ideas that I think will help develop a spiritual side to my regimen (once I have a regimen)...she also gives tips for developing a regimen which I obviously need.

The second touts "supercharging mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen thinking, lift mood, boost your memory, and much more". It looks more at the scientific, medical approach to exercise. It shares research findings of the impact of exercise on the brain. Pretty impressive, compelling information. The brain amazes me just as much as the soul. I have to admit that this book made me tingle, yes I realize I am a geek when a book about the brain and exercise makes me tingle. I really did have goosebumps by the first chapter.

Body-soul-mind.

So far, they are both very compelling and make me want to get up and go. The problem is I'm only making it from the chair to the towel....chair...water...chair...towel...snack...chair...you see the problem here don't you?

Monday Mood


Sea squirt, yep that's me. Sessile in that I planted myself on the beach, but at least I haven't eaten my own brain... yet.

(By the way, these unique creatures are a hot commodity in the research world. They share about 80% of their genes with humans and other vertebrates. They actually start out with a primitive spinal cord. They are cutting edge in genome studies, cancer studies, and fertility studies. Ummm, that part is not like me, guess you guys knew that already, though.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Monday Mood

Although the tractor looks battered and rusted, it is the just the result of living. ..of serving it's purpose by getting out of the safety of a barn...of serving others... of taking risks. I'd rather be a bit dented and rusted than to not truly live at all. Peaceful in my circumstances for today at least. Plus, this picture was taken by a friend's brother and I really like it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ego

So cold and driven to be your own master.
Locked in a prison of denial from inside your cell.
You stand alone wrapped in comforting misery.
Even if someone were to toss freedom into your hands
you would let the gift slip through your fingers
like soap lost in dirty, grey bathwater.

Surely, you need no one’s help.
You bask in your own glow,
You can rescue yourself when you choose to do so.
Not able to see the oddness of this
becomes a poison that will leave
An empty shell with hollow eyes
more myopic than before.

An army of one.
Invincible you.
Negative permutation.

From Belinda's Five Word Monologue words:
Oddness
Permutation
Toss
Soap
Cold

Eternal Investments


Last night a dinner companion raised an interesting point about churches focusing on the church building itself rather than the church... meaning the people. He raised an excellent point that the church service usually focuses on growth and renewal for believers, but often does not speak to unbelievers- if you can even get them in the church building. Many nonbelievers are intimidated and don't go to church in the first place. The solution? Take the gospel into communities, focus more resources on getting the gospel out of the building and into the people. Go to their worlds as we can not expect them to feel comfortable entering ours.

This led me to think of Tim Keller's ministry in NY. They do not even have a church building. They use an auditorium at a local college. It is really amazing that they reach so many people from all walks of life without a physical church building. The church is the people. They have small groups in people's homes and their money goes into different ministries to reach people outside the building. At first I thought it rather odd, then I realized how scripturally sound it is.

I really am not doing it justice here. The Sunday I went was so powerful. I was impressed by how many young people were there and by how many different races were there. It was one of the most beautiful rainbows I've ever seen. A young girl got up and spoke about her fear of starting a small group, but how God had blessed her efforts. I was awestruck that there in the big city there were so many small groups of believers holding Bible studies in their communities. It made me think of the ancient church, that is church held in people's home not in a physical building.

I'm not saying we shouldn't build churches. It just makes me wonder how much money we should use on the physical building vs the spiritual building. How can the church budget be heavier on the outward focus vs the inward focus? Can churches obtain as little debt as possible so that the money can reach those not in the physical structure?

This in turn made me think about our own financial situation. How much money do we have bound by debt? How is this limiting our ability to help others in need? It really isn't our money-it is Gods, and we are only stewards over it. What kind of stewards are we being? Is our focus more on what we can do for ourselves-how we can satisfy the greedy beasts that live in our hearts....do we waste more money on worldly gain, worldly pleasures for ourselves than what we invest in God's kingdom? Do we have an eternal view? Is it God or is it money we serve?

Father God,

Open my eyes that I may see, open my mind that I may learn, open my heart that I may love you and your creations more than I love myself. Give me an eternal focus. Help me to not be a prisoner to money full of greed and my own pleasure. Show me the true meaning of success.

In Jesus name---Amen.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Stealing B's Seven on Saturday Idea


The countdown begins....in seven days we will be leaving for the beach!


So, my seven on Saturday is as follows:

1. Sunday

2. Monday

3. Tuesday

4. Wednesday

5. Thursday

6. Friday

7. Saturday...here begins a new seven including but not limited to peace, rest, relaxation,
reading, sleep, solitude, and laughter.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday Mood


From Ch 5: In Which the Adventurers Become Lost


"Have you any idea how long this journey is going to take?" asked Edward.
Avon stopped suddenly. "Me?" he asked. "I thought you were leading the way."

Edward was upset. "Great," he answered. "We're lost."
Avon felt like crying. "I'm sorry Edward. My mind is on any adventures that might come along. I wasn't paying particular attention to where we were going."

"There, there." said Edward, realizing he had hurt Avon's feelings. "Getting yourself lost is easy. Happens all the time. It's finding yourself that's hard. So I suggest we stop at the first door we come to and ask for suggestions."

"You mean directions, don't you?"

"It's hard enough being lost," explained Edward, "but worse still if you don't know what you are lost from. So, suggestions first, directions second."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Congratulations Sis!


Congratulations Susie!

Your new home is beautiful...fancy....modern...spectacular! As a matter of fact I didn't realize how dark my home is until I walked into yours. You have huge windows throughout giving it a light, uplifting feeling. You should feel uplifted just by walking through the door, walking into such light. And talk about location...oh my goodness!! The pool...I could go on and on.

I'm so happy for you guys that I feel like I could burst. You deserve it and I hope you have many happy years there.

Hope you make lots of new friends, keep your old, to have great porch parties with!