Sunday, December 13, 2009

J. J. Challenge: Week Two

Made it another week... barely! I did 200 jumping jacks each day (if you read the comments from week one you will know why.) I made it to 65 - 70 J. J. this week before feeling as if my legs were softened macaroni (which I ate too much of tonight; feeling full and ugh.)

I am ready to face week three of this challenge and I am eager to hear from each of you and how your weeks have been. I hope that you are continuing on, even if it has been difficult.

Remember, 'One small jump for fun, one GIANT leap for our health!'

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Journal Blessings

Over a year ago, I felt in my heart that I needed to purchase journals for my son, Studly, and my daughter, Baby Girl. Not for them to write their thoughts in, but for me to share memories, hopes and dreams for them and their future.

This idea was born from my past and I wanted to share a small (I know I probably won't keep it short, but please bear with me) piece of it with you.

I remember as a child, sitting in the kitchen, at the dinner table, or in the living room listening to my mother tell stories of my past. Things that were unique to me; who I was and who I was becoming. The intricate things that only a mother knows.

Like how I was (still am) a "night owl." My father would be on one of his many missions, (he served his country in the Air Force for 26 years) and because I would not go to sleep early, I would stay up with my mom and be her company. Sometimes I would sleep with her at night and she would have to shake me from my slumber and send me lovingly but earnestly back to my own room. (Turns out she didn't like having feet in her face while sleeping; who knew?)

Stories of mannerisms that I had (have) of talking fast and too much! Hearing her tell me how I could fall asleep anywhere, while my sister had to be in her bed at bedtime, or she would let her disapproval be known to all.

Feeling her kisses on my cheek during the middle of the night, because she had gotten up to check on my brother who has asthma. I remember mom saying, "That once her son was born, she never got a full nights sleep again for many years." Her mother's intuition had woken her during the black of the night, on several occasions, where my brother would have been knocking on death's door if mom had not been there.

Waking each morning to mom making coffee and all sorts of breakfast for her children. Cream of wheat on the first day of school each year; I think it was by chance at first, but then a tradition was born.

She had a gift for being able to "tune her children out" until she heard a blood curdling scream that signified a line had been crossed and someone was about to get beat. (I envy that gift at times.)

She let us create and use our imaginations in the house and outside. We built forts in the dining room that could be left up for a week. The backyard and surrounding fields were our battlegrounds, circus rings, zoos and whatever else our eager minds could dream.

As a child I took for granted that I would always have mom there to share my life with me and to help me create some of those same memories for my children. But as fate would have it, this will be our 5th Christmas without her. She is home in heaven rejoicing with our heavenly Father and celebrating eternity with Him.

My kids love to sit and pour over photo albums for hours. They giggle at stories from their small pasts and beg to hear more. They crave knowledge of who they were such a short time ago, and dream of who they will become in the following years.

The memories that I have from my past seem to fade a little each year with so many precious new memories being lived. So I write in their journals. I record who they are today, so they can share their yesterdays with their tomorrows.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

J. J. Challenge: Week One

It is Sunday night, the end of the first week of the Jumping Jack Challenge. Were you able to get the 100 J. J. (jumping jacks) done each day?

I was able too, but oh my goodness (I know that today it is acceptable to write omg, but what the heck, why not go "old school".) I am amazed at how difficult it is to get 100 J. J. done without feeling like my legs are limp noodles and my chest is going into convulsions! Not to mention the fact, that after 50 or so J. J., it feels as if the floor is sucking me down and gravity is working extra hard to keep me on the ground. (It's a conspiracy I'm sure; gravity has it in for us ladies.)

I am a fighter though! I would take a look in the mirror (ouch) and say, "Not today you don't! Today, you are NOT a quitter!"

My hope is that, if this has been hard for you to do, that you will not give up. Keep at it!!! Do 4 sets of 25, or 50 in the morning and 50 in the evening. Send text messages to friends to encourage one another. Set the alarm on your phone to remind you. Place a note on your fridge, refrigerator, icebox (whatever term suites your dialect.) Do what is necessary to help yourself!

If you are substituting the J. J. with another more flexible exercise for yourself, then let us know. Let's whip this gravity thing in the butt (literally) ladies; and any men taking this challenge.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Natural Heat Source

Ahhhh winter months! I love a good, cold, chilly winter! Warm blankets, good books, snuggling on the couch, hot chocolate, thick coats (no; not my husbands unshaven face) and gloomy days (to make me appreciate the sunshine) orchestrate a spectacular winter wonderland.

I am extremely warm blooded, to say the least. I was the child found curled up in the snow by my mother, simply because I had worn myself out playing in the frosty air and needed a nap. Instead of going inside (like any sane child) I chose to make my bed on the frozen ground with the sun shining down on my rose colored cheeks.

Last winter I kept the air conditioner on full blast at work, to a coworkers dismay, due to overheating from constantly moving about. I have been asked numerous times to get my thyroid checked by many "concerned and frozen" peers. Unfortunately for them, I am perfectly "normal." (According to my husband, "normal" is still open for debate.)

Each night, as we prepare for slumber, my husband is so very thankful for my overabundance of natural heat. As he shivers in the icy night air with smoke billowing from his mouth and icicles hanging from his nose, he looks over at me (picture a child gazing at his parent with begging eyes for just one more cookie) and then smiles. For I am already lying on his side of the bed taking the chill off his sheets and warming them to a cozy 98 F.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Big Mike

If you have seen the new movie Blind Side then you have truly seen a treasure of a movie! It is so, only because it is based on real life. The inspiration or emotions evoked from the natural are so much more powerful than those of fairy tales.

Therefore, I must tell you about our Big Mike. Saturday afternoon, before heading to a matinee showing of Blind Side, my husband and 9 year old daughter trekked out into the world for some good ole greasy fast food. Shortly before reaching their destination, fate stepped in front of our vehicle. A tiny, frail abandoned kitten was in the middle of the road and would not budge.

My husband is not known amongst family and friends as an "animal lover". He enjoys watching other people with their pets, but does not want a relationship with them or a share in the responsibility that follows (probably due to the lack of having a pet growing up.) But at this juncture, he was faced not only with the frail life standing in front of his powerful mechanical force, but also with the compassionate, sensitive, impressionable, tear-filled eyes of his 9 year old Baby Girl. What was he to do? Exactly what any good father would do. He picked the tiny kitten up and handed him to his his Baby Girl and brought him home.

The little kitten was in dire need of food, medicine and love. All of which he has received in abundance under the watchful eye of my husband and daughter. Both have taken up the cross of sacrifice and shared their hearts with this young precious life.

Some of you may think this simple and easy... but do not be fooled. My husband has hand-fed, cleaned a mucous nose and eyes, washed the floor of urine, taken up vigil when the kitten has needed watchful care and has worried about this life that stood in his path. We speak often of compassion and are amazed when we see others share it. But too often, when given the opportunity to practice it, we have a million reasons as to why we can not. We have a destination we must be at, bills that are piling up, our own kids needs and wants, a new job to focus on, Christmas and birthdays, ball games, parties and no time... this time; but NEXT time will be different.

I was told once by a coach, "That practice does not make perfect; it makes permanent." If we practice compassion in small ways and "insignificant" times, it will come naturally to us when it is a dire time for someone else. We can truly take up our cross and follow Him!

Who is this Big Mike I spoke of earlier? He is now the newest member of our family. Sometimes big things come in small packages... and that is why he is our Big Mike!