Thursday, October 6, 2011

In the Refiner's Fire - Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover

We've been so very busy here this season of our life. 

In the midst of all the house organizing, school starting (for all 4 of us), rearranging of plans, getting ready to certify as a Jazzercise instructor and the typical fall household and yard things that need to be done, I was assigned to work on a project with a woman that I would never, ever in a million years have wanted to work with.

I was so upset and frustrated by it.
I didn't want to meet with her, talk to her or spend the large amount of time together that we would have to work through for this project.

This woman really bothered me. 
She was snide and rude. 
She would scream at her teenage children over the phone (including swearing and calling them names) in front of other people and complain about every little aspect of their behavior. 
She would moan and complain about everyone and everything. 

I really didn't like her company and I couldn't even imagine working with this woman.  I consoled myself with telling myself that she was highly competent at what she did (she is) and she would do excellent work on the project.

I prayed about it and I told myself that God has a plan.

I found out several things:

* This woman is so hurt and angry that she can't see anything else right now.
* She lost her last job due to circumstances beyond her control (buyout, downsizing, etc.) at the same time her husband did, which meant they ended up losing their home and had to sell a rather lucrative side business to end up solvent.
* They moved cross-country and are now living in a relatives house.
* She has had many things happen in her life that don't fit with her code of ethics'
* Having these things happen has made her feel that she isn't a worthwhile person
* One of her children has learning disabilities that make it every difficult for him to interact with others and get through a full day at school.

In addition to all of this I have learned far more about the material we have been working with than I could have ever learned on my own - and I am very, very terribly grateful for that knowledge. 
She has gone out of her way to help me several times. 
She has a very wry sense of humor that is starting to sneak out. 

This whole experience has been so good for me and I have been reminded why my parents taught (or tried to teach me) to give people the benefit of the doubt. 

Here is a woman who desperately needs love and grace and mercy and has received very little from anyone in her life.

It is my hope that I can repay her for all the things she has taught me over the last couple of months by showing her some of the love and grace that the good Lord has given me in my life.

The tiny measure of grace that we can show each other is nothing compared to the grace the good Lord gives to each and every one of us day by day.  It is my hope and prayer that we can instruments of grace for each other as we go about our daily lives.

Yes, even working with people we'd rather not.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Healthy Habits 2011 - Jazzercise Instructor Update!

I only have a few short weeks until I go through my "final" workshop as part of the Jazzercise Instructor certification process.  I'm a bit pumped, a bit scared, and just plain really excited about the whole thing.

The hardest part of this journey has been learning to do all the things I've been doing wrong right.

Yep, you read that right.

I had been doing several things wrong for years and just found out now.  In the last few weeks, I've been up on stage, behind the current instructor, practicing during class.  What I've noticed is that a lot of people are doing things wrong too - almost everyone in the room.

Can I offer some unsolicited advice to anyone doing aerobic exercise?  (If you don't want it, you can skip these next two paragraphs - you won't hurt my feelings.  Really.)

Good posture is really important and it will make your workout far more effective than if you don't have good posture.  Keep that tummy tucked in and that pelvis tucked under and those shoulders down and your workout will be that much better and that much more powerful.

Also, if you aren't sure that you're doing something right or if you just want to check if you are doing something right, try it at home in front of a  mirror or ask your instructor, trainer or another professional to watch you for a minute.  As the instructor for this morning's class said, you'll often say "Yikes! Do I really look like that?"  If you don't look like the professionals, try purposeful movements and adjusting your posture.

Just doing these two things have made a huge difference for me.  I work on the posture all the time and I've noticed I look slimmer and feel better and I don't get tired as easily either.

I'll let you know when I finally do get this certification.  I'm so excited!

What are you doing to stay healthy?  I'd love to hear!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of October 2, 2011

I can hardly believe how fast this year has flown by and how quickly we have entered fall.  The leaves on the trees are starting to turn crimson, gold and orange, and I'm lovin' almost every minute of it!  We have a giant pumpkin and a few smaller ones in our garden that the kids are way excited over and we still have some spaghetti squash to harvest too.  We've had an over-abundance of apples - all free from various friends and family.  I have plenty of applesauce in my freezer now!  Good thing we like it!

So, what are we eating now that the weather has turned cooler?  Well, here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday, October 2:
     Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cranberries and Cinnamon
     Lunch: Out with Company
     Snack: Popcorn
     Dinner: BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Cole Slaw, Apple-Pear-Grape Salad

Monday, October 3:
    Breakfast: Sour Cream Raspberry Bread, Apples
    Lunch: Hot for the Kids; BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, Apples, Carrots, and a Cookie for Mom and Dad
    Snack: Cinnamon Raisin Bread with Yogurt
    Dinner: Soft Shell Beef Tacos, Lettuce Salad, Sliced Apples and Pears

Tuesday, October 4:
    Breakfast: Oatmeal with Cranberries and Cinnamon
    Lunch:  Fruit Kabobs, Yogurt, Carrots, Cookie
    Snack: Breakfast Cookies
    Dinner:  Vegetable Stir Fry, Rice, Cantaloupe

Wednesday, October 5:
   Breakfast:  Toasted English Muffins with Peanut Butter, Bananas
   Lunch:  Mini PB&J Sandwiches, Carrot Sticks, Applesauce, Cookie
   Snack:  Breakfast Cookies
   Dinner:  Chicken Noodle Soup in the Crock pot, Baking Powder Biscuits, Cantaloupe and Watermelon

Thursday, October 6:
    Breakfast:  Oatmeal with Cranberries and Raisins
    Lunch: Hot for the Kids; Leftovers for Mom and Dad
    Snack:  Zucchini Bread, Cheese Stick
    Dinner:  Taco Salad with R- fried Beans, Cantaloupe and Watermelon

Friday, October 7:
   Breakfast:  Toasted English Muffins with Pumpkin Butter, Bananas
   Lunch: Hot for the Kids; Leftovers for Mom and Dad
   Snack: Zucchini Bread, Cheese Stick
   Dinner:  Chicken Noodle Soup for the Kids; Out for Mom and Dad

Saturday, October 8:
    Breakfast:  Banana Nut Muffins, Peanut Butter Smoothies
    Lunch: Beef Sandwiches, Carrots and Celery, Sliced Apples, Pears, and Melon
    Snack:  Zucchini Bread
    Dinner:  Homemade Pizza and Bread sticks, Apple-Grape-Banana Salad

What are you eating this week?  Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie! to share and be inspired!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things - My Cousin Diane

Earlier this spring, my cousin Diane did all of the frosting on this fabulous cake that we had for my kids' 6th birthday.

My cousin Diane is so special to me.  I'm the youngest cousin by almost 20 years on my Mom's side of the family.  I am an only child, Diane has two brothers and we had 2 other male cousins.  So, Diane and I are the only girls. 

Never mind that Diane is literally old enough to be my mother and her son is only 5 years younger than me.  Never mind that her two step-sons are my age and she has grandchildren.  Once I hit my teenage years, we've always been very close.

Diane lives about 3 hours away and it has never stopped her from being here for our kids birthdays, recitals and programs.  She comes a few times a year for the weekend - just to visit and spend time with us.  She and her husband, Bo, live on a very limited income and are so generous with their time and energy and what they do have.  She always shares apples, grapes and raspberries from their garden and yard.  They always share the "fruit" of Bo's hunting trips - bear and dear mostly, though we've also been blessed with antelope, fish, elk and moose also.  They always have a free bed if we need it and provide very generous hospitality.  They are true friends and their love of the Lord shines through everything they do.

I am so very blessed to have Diane in my life.
And I am blessed that God has given me my extended family.

Truly, my relationship with Diane is one of my favorite things.
I am so very blessed.