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Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 ... It Was a Very Good Year

"When I was 17, it was a very good year...." Do you know that Frank Sinatra song?  His version is my favorite.  It reminds me of the good times I've had throughout the years.  It's the last 2 days of 2011 and like many people I've been doing a lot of thinking of this past year.  Was it all I wanted it to be?  No, it wasn't everything I wanted it to be.  I don't make resolutions, but I'm hopeful and makes bucket lists of things I want to do.  I didn't do all of it, but I did a few things that weren't even on the list.  So, when I was 41 it was a very good year.....

A lot has happened to me this past year.

I lost 30 pounds ~ and then gained 15. Sigh…. Well I proved that it can be done. I just gotta work harder at getting over that 30lb wall I always hit.

In August I went back to cutting my calories but not exercising still.  I managed to drop almost 2 pants sizes by October. It was a start.  In August I also registered to run a 5K race in December called the Hot Chocolate 5K.  The race is sponsored by Ghirardelli Chocolate and the after party looked like lots-O-fun.  (the moral of that story is down below)

At the end of 2010 I joined a women’s shooting group call The Shooting Divas of the DMV (District, MD and VA). In march I took a basic firearms safety course and shot my first firearm. It was a Ruger Mark II (I think) 22lcr. It was great. It wasn’t scary like I thought it would be. In fact, it was very exciting.  I'm more active in the group now than I ever thought I would be. 

In June I bought my first gun. I bought a Ruger LCR 357. It’s a small easily concealable revolver handgun. The recoil on this gun when it’s loaded with 357 is more than I like. The beauty of this LCR is that it can also shoot .38 cal ammo. So as long as they keep making .38 cal ammo I’ll be OK. I plan to occasionally practice with 357 but will likely only ever have 38 loaded in this revolver.


In August I bought my second gun. I bought a Springfirled Armory XDm 40 with a 4.5-inch barrel. At the time this gun came in 3 differing lengths and this was the biggest. Now this gun I LOVE. It’s a great shot – or I’m a great shot with it. I’m not sure which. Either way, it has not become my regular carry firearm.



(I have many plans for me and my firearms for 2012)

In October I had my first mammogram.  I was totally cool with it until I got a call saying that I needed to come back in for a sonogram of my right breast so that they could get a closer look at "something."  That didn't bother me at first, but then my crazy brain took over and started coming up with reasons why I should be worried.  "It's cancer.  It's cancer."  Well, it's NOT cancer.  I have 2 small cysts in my right breast.  The Dr. (and I) will be keeping tabls on these two little fellows. 

On December 3, I jog/walked the Hot Chocolate 5K at the National Harbor with my BFF. It was 34 degrees that day and the race in general was a complete and epic FAIL. So many things went wrong but the biggest wrong was the organizers keeping us standing around in the frigid cold air for 2 hours waiting for the race to begin. I finished the race. Not in great time but I finished. I felt awful at the end. The route had 2 hills in it that just killed me. I wasn’t really sure I was going to finish. I hadn’t prepared or trained like I had intended. My emotions got the best of me and as I crossed the finish line instead of feeling happy I cried. I looked miserable. Even though I looked miserable, I still ordered some photos that I hope will be arriving soon. The result of this race is that I don’t want to stay like this. I want to finish a 5k race – only 3.2 miles – and feel good.


This is not a great pic of me but I look much happier than I did when I crossed the finish line.


I don't make resolutions.  I follow Yoda's guidance "Do or Do not.  There is no Try."  Most years I just opt for the "Do Not" but after that race I began exercising regular and eating better foods. By Dec. 21 I had dropped 10.5 pounds.

On December 22, I signed up with the personal training program at my gym in Chantilly, VA.  Although my first session doesn't start until Jan 1, I consider this a 2011 event.  I will be meeting with a trainer 3 days a week for 12 months.  12 months!? That's a whole year!  What have I gotten myself into.

Well, like I said I don't make resolutions so I'm just going to start.

I'm not going to promise to write on a regular schedule, but I will say this.  A lot is going to happen in 2012 so I will be back often to fill you in on the happenings. 

People told me that 40 would be a big year a good year for me.  40 wasn't a bad year, but 41 was definitely a better year.  So, here's to 42 and 2012. 

Have a safe and blessed New Years Eve celebration and remember

Don't Drink and Drive

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Long Time

Well, it’s been a really long time since I’ve written a post.  I noticed today someone stopped following me.  Hope it wasn’t something that I wrote.  May be my Holy Week posts bored him or her.  Oh well, there’s more of you out there.  You’ll keep following me, right? 

I’ve been a busy busy bee.  I quit my job and took a new one.  I’ve been bored at my job for months and didn’t see any sign of things improving so I began looking.  I work in IT Security and I specialize in Risk Analysis, Auditing and Risk Management.  It’s a pretty unique field and most people don’t do it for too long.  They do it for a few years and then move onto something more exciting.  Anyway, it wasn’t long before the interviews were scheduled and job offers made.  I actually received 4 offers.  I finally accepted the one I REALLY wanted.  So, I started working for General Dynamics last week.  I spent most of last week filling out an endless list of new employee paperwork and taking online training for just about any administrative subject you can think of.  I got to do a little work, but I think this week will be my opportunity to do some more actual work.  I’m very excited about working here and very excited about the work I’ll be doing.  Of course, because of the nature of my work I can’t blog about it.  Starting tomorrow I’ll be blogging about something else.  I don’t know what yet but hopefully it’ll be interesting and it’ll keep you coming back and reading my blog. 

Until tomorrow...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holy Week - He Is Risen

He is risen!


There isn't much more to be said. I'll quote from my http:// www.crosswalk.com devotion

The tomb is empty, the soldiers fled, the stone is rolled away. Time for the victory party! Let there be singing and rejoicing and all kinds of celebration. This is the part of the story that makes all the difference. Dying for a cause is one thing but rising victorious from the dead? Only the Savior can pull that off. And he did!

Today’s reading: Luke 24:1-48

I hope you have a blessed day today. However you choose to celebrate it.

I have spent the past week in study using this series of devotions. It has brought me some better understanding of myself and of my relationship with God. I hope your relationship has been strengthened too. Next week I will focus my daily lessons on something else.

I hope you'll journey on with me.

So it was written
So it shall be done

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Week - Day of Mourning

I'm not sure I have much to say about today's lesson and scripture from the http://www.crosswalk.com devotion I am doing this week.

Jesus has died. His disciples are in mourning. His mother must be completely distraught. It's hard to imagine their grief.

Today's reading really doesn't fit. Except that the ruling class feared that even if Jesus had lied that he was so powerful the idea that they could even trick the people into believing he rose from the grave worried them. They wanted to make sure there was no way his reign over the people would continue so guard the tomb they did.  

Matthew 27:62-65

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Week - Good Friday

There isn't much to be said about today.

Today is Good Friday. Jesus has been arrested, tried, and crucified on the cross. An agonizing, horrible, painful death.


Jesus did it for you and me.

He died for me.

He died for you.

Whether or not you believe.


Today's Scripture is long so I won't post it but I would encourage you to click below and read it.

Luke 22:47-23:56

Today is Good Friday - it is a day of reflection and rejoicing.

It is finished

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week - Tension is Building

(continuing my devotions from www.crosswalk.com. This is yesterday's lesson. I was too tired to post last night)

And I when I be lifted up
I'll draw all men unto me


That's a great chorus from am old hymn
Such powerful thing to know.

Jesus said those words just days before he was arrested. He must have had so much on his mind. I wonder if he was stressed? Did he know (I mean really know how much it was going to hurt?

Today's devotional from crosswalk states the following:
 Put yourself in the disciples’ place on that Wednesday before the original Easter. They must have been feeling pretty good, right? After all they’d just seen their leader receive a hero’s welcome and watched him kick butt in the temple. They had to be riding pretty high.

Now think how Jesus must have felt that day: He was in countdown mode. He alone understood what was coming; surely it was on his mind well before he headed to the Garden of Gethsemane. Watching his clueless disciples, dealing with the crowds ... what were his thoughts? Every time he looked at Judas, did his heart break just a little more?


I wonder what the disciples were thinking. Did they notice a change in Jesus? Was he quieter? I would have been quiet and moody and snappish.  The anticipation would be impossible to bear.

Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28)
Did Jesus yell that or was he excited?  Sounds like nerves to me. I'll bet that the disciples were truly confused.

What would you do if, like Jesus on that Wednesday, you knew you only had a couple of days left to live? What’s stopping you from doing those things now?
If it was me? I'd be irritable, crabby, and generally moody. I also don't think I'd keep it to myself. I'd definitely be talking to my BFF and my accountability partner. I certainly couldn't keep that kind of info to myself. I don't know if Jesus felt the stress but I do like to humanize him in thinking he did.  I don't think he had any doubt about what he was doing or why but I do believe his soul was grieving for what was about to come.

We know Jesus prayed. I would definitely pray too.  So what's stopping me from doing that now? Nothing. I am finding this year that the concept of praying without ceasing becomes easier and may be more practical when you have help.  My help is the One Little Word (OLW) study that my church study group is doing.  My word is Trust.

I'm learning quite a bite about this word.  I'm learning that to trust in God one must be patient. I'm not a patient person. I want what I want and I want it now.  My OLW has helped through some tense moments in the last few weeks.  My OLW has been a help to me just this week.

My OLW is helping in this study this week.  My OLW is bring me closer to God.

If you don't have a word you study or can meditate or pray on, I highly recommend that you pick one. It can help you get to the point where you can answer the questions What would you do? What is stopping you from doing those things today?

Will you join me this week and meditate on these things?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Holy Week - Get Your Pretzel Here

Prayer is like a box of pretzels? Well that's not exactly what today's devotion says but it's darned near it.

First - I didn't miss my FB games at all today. OK. Now that that it out of the way - on to my lesson today.

Pretzels - crunchy, salty but does it remind you to pray? Check out what www.crosswalk.com had to say about that today.

The pretzel was invented back in the mists of time when years only had three digits. The story goes that a monk was in the kitchen mixing up some Lenten bread when he got the idea to remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer by shaping strips of dough into little crossed arms. (Apparently that was a common position for prayer at the time.) So each pretzel is not just a tasty treat, it’s a call to prayer.


(Not my design or project.  Grabbed this photo link from the pattern repository at www.ravelry.com)




Doesn't that give you something to think about the next time you want a pretzel snack? Will you ever look at pretzels the same?

I certainly won't.

if a simple pretzel can be a reminder to pray, what else could you use as a mental sticky note to remind you to connect with God?

Well for me I'm spending this week on these devotions. My relationship needs lots of TLC. I'm not playing my FB games and making sure that I spend time with God this week. Next week? Who knows. May be I'll find a new devotional to focus on.

Today's Scripture
1 Thessalonians 5:17 - pray without ceasing

Let's spend our days like the pretzel.

Will you join me this week and meditate on these things?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week - Temple

Day 2 - The Temple

First, I miss my FB games.  I miss clicking on links to get or give baby bottles from my online "friends.". I miss helping out people I know and people i only know through  the game. I miss my FB games but I will not play this week as part of my fast this week.

As I said yesterday, I'm going to be focusing my energy this week on the meditations  I got in a www.crosswalk.com e-newsletter. Today's meditation has two pieces of scripture and two thoughts. It's all about the temple but not the one you think.

Today’s Scripture reading throws that old “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” stereotype out the window. One day the bustling center of commerce known as the Temple—a place supposed to be set aside for prayer—really rubbed him the wrong way. So he politely walked up to the nearest stall and said, “Please don’t do that...” Oh no, he didn’t! Jesus stormed in like an action-movie hero, knocking over furniture, sending goods and people flying, pitching a holy fit. He. Was. Not. Playing. The Temple is not to be trifled with.


We've heard the story before. Have you thought about it like this though?

1 Corinthians 6:19: “You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you.”


Does that temple need a good cleansing?
Cleansing? More like Extreme Makeover.
Today is really not the day I need to be reminded that my body is a temple. I just confessed to my accountability partners this morning that I haven't been a good steward of this temple. I've felt sluggish and down and have wallowed in that downness. I'm not exercising and I'm not eating right and surprise surprise my latest A1C was up instead of down. My Temple is a shambles and needs maintenance.

What am I doing about it? Sigh... I don't know yet

Today' full scripture is Mark 11:15-18
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.



How's your Temple?  Does it need maintenance? Are you treating it as part of God's creation?
If Jesus visited your temple today would he be riled up or smiling and pleased? Would he rebuke you?

Will you join me this week and meditate on these things?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holy Week - I Missed Him Today

This week is Holy Week. Today was Palm Sunday and I missed it for the first time in years. I felt sick nut could dragged myself out of bed if I had even tried. maybe I need to up my antidepressant. (I think that's another post for another day)

I received an e-newsletter this week from www.crosswalk.com. It's part of their singles newsletters but I think their recommendations for meditation this week apply to all.

How are you going to celebrate Holy Week this week?  I'm thinking of fasting this week for Holy Week. My fast will be a Facebook game fast. I only play two games anymore nut they are very distracting. So I won't be playing farmville or citiville this week. My crops will wither and my town will be lonely but I think they'll survive without me for a week. I won't even be clicking on any of the links that help people or that give me gifts in the games. Cold turkey. No contact with the games at all.

I'm going to be following their meditation/study recommendations for each day. So here is whT they had to say about today.

PALM SUNDAY: There’s a lot of sorrow and suffering on the horizon, but this day is all happy songs, palm branches, and “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” Feel free to wave, sing, march ... whatever suits your tradition and temperament. In the midst of all that, here’s what I’ll be pondering: If Jesus came to my town would I go out to meet him? What if I already had plans for that day? Am I willing to rearrange my schedule to welcome the Messiah? Today’s reading: Luke 19:28-40

If Jesus came to my town would I go out to meet him?  Well, I have to honestly say no.  but How can that be? First, I'm a skeptic and not very trusting. I probably wouldn't believe he is Jesus. I'd think he was a charlatan.  Second, I've been feel depressed lately and sluggish. I missed church today because of it. So if he had been there I wouldn't have been there and I would've missed him. Scripture says that where two or three of us gather there He is also (Matthew 18:20) - so I guess you could say I did miss Jesus today.  

Was it worth it? What do you think?

Today's scripture reading is Luke 19:28-40
I'm off to do some study and reading about it. Will you join me this week and fast and meditate on his word?

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY
After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "  Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it." They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:  "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

May you have an enjoyable and blessed week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Faith and Trust

I was looking for some symbols on the Internet and noticed something very interesting

Take a look at the symbols below

信頼 = faith

信頼 = trust

Notice anything interesting?  The symbols for trust and faith in Japanese are the same. The words themselves are the same. I don't know anything about Japanese culture so I don't know if the pronunciation or meaning In Japanese is the same but it got me to thinking...

What do the words trust and faith mean?

Can you have one and not the other?

I did some research. I decided to look up these words. My first stop the Google dictionary

The Dictionary definition of Faith is
-- Complete trust
-- Strong belief in God based on spiritual apprehension (or understanding) rather than proof
-- System of religious beliefs

Synonym: trust, belief, confidence, reliance, religion

The Dictionary definition of Trust is
-- (n) Firm belief in the reliability, truth or strength of someone or something
-- (v) believing in the reliability, truth or strength of someone or something
-- to HAVE faith
-- reliance on luck,  fate or something else which one has NO control over

Synonym: believe, rely, hope, faith, confidence.

So the secular definition seems to imply that faith and trust are connected. Doesn't sound like you can have one and not the other. They both seem to be about a belief in something you know to be true because it is not because there is direct evidence or proof. Even the synonyms for these words point towards each other.

So what does God say?  What does his Bible say? My second stop tonight was my Bible dictionary

FAITH -----
-- Primary idea is trust
-- PERSUASION of the mind that a certain statement is true - (being convinced or taught that something IS)
-- A thing that is true and worthy of trust
-- A result of teaching - (it can be learned)
-- "The object of saving faith is the whole REVEALED of the Word of God"
-- "By faith the believer directly and immediately appropriates Christ as his own" - (we make Christ as our own)
-- Necessary to our salvation
-- Not the reasonableness of what God says but the simple fact that he says it.
-- "thus says the Lord" - it is because He says it is not because we experience it.

TRUST ----- The actual word is not in my version of the Bible dictionary. I searched for the use of the word trust in the Bible dictionary came up with the following details
-- Trust and reliance are the essence of faith - essence=cannot exist without it
-- Something is true AND worthy of trust - trust, can be earned?
-- "Brief as this book [Ruth] is, and simple as is its story, it is remarkably rich in examples of faith, patience, industry, and kindness nor less so in the indications of the care which God takes of those who put their faith in him." - how has God cared for those who had faith in Him? Was God ever cruel to a person who trusted Him?
-- Something different from evidence that we do trust. - can't see/feel it but we know it is true

Trust can seem passive when in fact it is the ultimate expression of trust & faith : "it is the Lord, let him do what seems good." (1 Sam 3:11) - taken out of context it sounds as if Eli is just giving up after hearing of Samuel's dream. Eli isn't lying down. He's giving control of the situation over to God. He's standing up and saying I trust that God will do what is right and not allow evil to prevail even if it costs him his life.

So, yeah.  Faith and trust are intimate and interconnected. Intimate. Bound. Part of each other. Soul mates.  You cannot say you have faith and not trust. You cannot trust but then not have faith. You cannot have one and not have the other.

BUT what I do think I saw is that from a human/mankind perspective faith is something you can be taught. It is a concept that can be learned or Revealed to us through God's word. I think faith something that we are born with but don't know what it is until it is Revealed or Shown to us.

Trust is something that can be earned. It also is something we have or know not because we've seen or felt something to be true but because it IS true. Because God says so.  Trust is an active word of great power and great strength.  

Trust is powerful.

I am learning so much about MY One Little Word

Monday, April 11, 2011

A OLW Experience

I had a fantastic weekend.  I joined a women's social group recently and a bunch of us decided to have a weekend getaway in Watoga State Park, WV.  The drive to the park where we were all staying Friday night was really treacherous.  I wasn't able to leave as early in the day as the rest of the group so I left after work Friday.  I took what I thought was a shorter route and in theory/mileage it is shorter but at night with heavy fog and hairpin turns through the Appalachian mountains it isn't shorter.  I think my average speed for the last 100 miles was probably 20mi.  I didn't get in until after 2am.

The good thing about it was that I thought about my OLW (trust) while I was driving.  Because the mountains I was driving through are so thick/deep there was no cell service.  There were periods of time that the fog was so heavy I completely lost sight of the road.  So if I wrecked I'd have been in deep deep trouble because I wouldn't be able to call anyone.  I kept praying and just thinking that if ever a time I need to Trust in God this is it.  Then I looked down at my gas. I couldn't tell how many miles I had to go and my needle kept getting closer and closer to "E".  So, again I had to keep praying and trusting that God would get me to the cabins.  I had to Trust God.  I really HAD no choice.  I thought at one point well, if God can make the oil for the Macabees last 8 days, he can certainly make my tank of gas last long enough to get me into civilization.

It was all such a blessing.  I had no cell service, but what I did have the whole way through the mountain range was my GPS which helped me to know where the road was going and where the really tight and dangerous hairpin turns were AND I had my satellite radio.  I tried listening to one of the gospel channels but they just weren't playing a style of music I liked.  So, I switched to the 80s channel.  Just having some music in the car that I could sing along with in between prayers and periods of holding my breath made the drive tolerable.

It was terribly late when I got in.  I knew which cabin was mine but I didn't have a key and I knew they had planned to make one of the cabins the main cabin and we would all eat and hang and be goofy at that one cabin, but which one?  I got lucky because just as I was pulling up to the cabin where I was staying my cabin-mates pulled in.  They had left the main cabin and were getting ready to go to bed.

The weekend itself was pretty awesome.  The park is very remote so there was no cell service, no internet and no TV in ANY of the cabins.  "Town" was a 45 minute drive back down the mountain.  It was a very relaxing weekend.  I don't think I've ever been that unplugged before.  It gave me a lot of time to just read, relax and enjoy what was going on around me.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Imagine A Life Without Limits


We’ve all heard the scripture and advice that God will never give you more than you can bear (1 Cor 10:13).  Imagine however giving birth to a child that has no arms and only one really thin useless looking leg.  Imagine looking in the mirror at yourself and seeing having no arms and only 1 leg.  Would you have a positive attitude?  Would you be able to smile, laugh or even get in front of a crowd and talk to people about how great God is?

This Nick’s story - except his parents never saw him as anything other than a wonderful baby bow.  Nick never thought of himself as anything other than normal.

I’m not sure I like how this book is written.  He goes forward and backward in his life story too quickly.  One moment he’s two, then he’s a teen and then he’s 10.  It’s too much bouncing around.  Then he’ll write something like this
“Don’t put your life on hold so that you can dwell on unfairness or past hurts.  
Look instead of ways to move forward.” 
and it makes me like what I’m reading and I keep reading.  Another great quote

“Even if at times you feel alone, you should know that you are 
loved too and recognize that God created you out of love.”  

it’s a definite feel-good book with some good advice on how to keep going each day when you feel like your life sucks.

Nick's life never had any limits to it.  Does yours?  You should read this book if it does and work on removing those limits from your life so that you can live a Ridiculously Good Life



DISCLAIMER:  “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Life Without Limits

Can you imagine it?
I can't.
I just received my first book to read and review for Blogging for Books. It's called "Life Without Limits" by Nick Vujucic




I really like the quote on the back of the book.







I do believe my life has no limits.
I want you to feel the same way about your life,
no matter what your challenges may be.
As we begin our journey together, please take a moment to think about any limitations you've placed on your life
or that you've allowed others to place on it.
Now think about what it would be like to be free of those limitations.
What would you life be if anything were possible?


It's that last sentence that already has me pulled in. Didn't our parents tell us growing up that we could be anything we wanted to be? Didn't they tell us anything is possible?
When did we stop believing them?
Why did we stop believing them?

Why don't I believe that any longer?

Looking forward to digging into this book tonight.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sharp Shooter


I had so much fun!
I'm really tired and I have a splitting headache and a terrible ring in my ear.
So, I'm not going to write much tonight.
I will share some photos.
Check me out! This is my first first time ever handling or shooting a gun.


Look closely.
That's a center-mass baby!

Nothing Special

Nothing special happening the past few days.
However, I'm super excited about two things today

First, I got my new glasses today. Check em out
Groovy right? I LOVE them.

I'm a little unsure about the prescription. My prescription changed so much. The guy at the store said I should give it a day or two for my eyes to adjust to the new prescription.

The second thing I'm excited about today is that tonight I am doing Part-II of my NRA hand gun basics training tonight. I'm going to the range for 1 hour with the instructor and will get to shoot my first pistol. I'm super excited.

I'll have pics and much to blog about once that experience is done tonight. So, come back later tonight or tomorrow for the update on that. Until then,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 5 - Cycle 1

Yesterday was actually Day #5.

Not much to report on from the weekend. Except...

It was really hard to resist snacking and cheating in general but I managed to make it through the weekend. It was hardest Saturday night. Friday I had dinner out with The Shooting Divas of DMV. I stuck to chicken and veg at the restaurant and was stuffed when I got home so no temptation then.

Saturday was filled with running around, drinking tea and reading a book at Starbucks and Caribou and a light dinner.

Then Saturday night came along. No matter what I end up doing I always end up wanting ice cream at the end of the day or evening. My only consolation was that I didn't need to go to the store for anything special. I really wanted my car to go that way. I wanted to go right instead of left at the intersection. I just kept praying for strength and kept making the correct turns. The fact that I had no reason to go back out and no reason to be in the grocery store or mini mart helped loads. I've been known to get dressed specifically for ice cream runs under the guise of going for dog food or some other item.

So hurray for making it through the first weekend. Hurray for making it through another day.

iPad went on sale this past Friday. I managed to avoid the lines of people and avoid that purchase over the weekend but I'm done waiting. Looking forward to picking up the new toy today or tomorrow. Whee!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Crafty Goodness

I thought I would share some really awesome things that I found on a blog site today.

Inger Carina from Sweden has a really cool blog titled Hello Craft Lovers

She's very talented.
Take a look at some of the things she has created.


Yep, that's an iPad cozy. Using crochet stitch and starch.
She explains how she does it here.

There's no tutorial but these are so excellent. I just have to share.

A USB cover -- How cool is that!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 2 - Cycle 1

I feel sick.
I had some temptation yesterday when I went to the grocery store. Really wanted to buy a bag of veggie chips. I didn't.

I prayed for strength.
I persevered.

Today I feel sick. On/off today I've felt nauseous. I felt really sick at the end of the day.

My menu yesterday:
breakfast
nonfat icelandic skyrs yogurt
1 pear
1 cup green tea (blah)

Lunch
broccoli cauliflower mix with little butter spray and spices
mixed green salad (spinach and dark leafy lettuces) w/ tuna grape tomatoes, broccoli slaw and low-fat dressing.
1 cup green tea

Dinner
brussel sprouts with butter spray and spices - over nuked them. Not very good so I served them to the dogs. :-)
Trader Joe's turkey meatballs - These tasted great but are really high in fat. Oops.

Lots and lots of water

My menu today:
breakfast
nonfat icelandic skyrs yogurt
1 pear
1 cup green tea (blah)

Lunch
brocolli cauliflower mix
Trade Joe's Tuna in Green Chile sauce
1 cup green tea

Dinner
1 dinner roll
mixed green salad

My stomach felt MUCH better after dinner tonight. I really want to say that the roll contributed to this. I don't know what I'll do about this in the days to come. I understand why he is having us cut out bread/carbs but I may allow myself a roll to eat at dinner or lunch.

Green tea is so blah. Ugh. I bought some lemon Green Tea at the grocery store on the way home. I hope it's better than regular green tea. Green tea doesn't taste bad. It just kind of tastes like dull water. Plain water tastes better than green tea to me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 1 - What are you eating?

What are you eating today? Are you eating food that will fire up your body?

I am. Here is the meal plan for the next 17 days

breakfast
2 eggs OR 1 serving of yogurt (or other probiotic)
1 small low sugar fruit
1 cup green tea

Lunch
Liberal amounts of protein - fish, poultry or egg (preferably egg whites)
Unlimited amounts of cleansing vegetables
1 Cup green tea

Dinner
Liberal amounts of protein - fish, poultry or egg (preferably egg whites)
Unlimited amounts of cleansing vegetables
1 Cup green tea

Snacks (any time of the day)
2nd fruit serving
2nd probiotic

Man that's a lot of green tea.
I still have to drink 8 glasses of water a day too.

In The Beginning


In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

A bizillion years later he created me.

He knew I'd screw up. He knew I'd end up here. He knew I wouldn't listen.



Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5


I don't know if I'll post every day,
but I will be posting frequently about this over the next 17 days.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

40 Days of Lent

What does the Bible say about Lent? Nothing as far as I am aware. Lent is something that the church – the Catholic Church I believe – initiated. If you do a search on the Internet you’ll find sites that tell you it is ordained by God and you’ll find sites that state that it is not ordained by God and therefore actually anti-Biblical. Here’s what I know about Lent.Lent lasts for 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday.

The word or number 40 is in the Bible 102 times. 102 times God had done some very ordinary and some very significant things with the number 40

  • It rained for 40 days and nights and the earth was flooded and destroyed (Gen Ch 7)
  • The flood continued to build and flooded the world for 40 days (Gen Ch 7)
  • Noah waited 40 days before sending out the first raven in search of land. (Gen Ch 7)
  • Abraham pleaded with God from 50-45-40-35 … and so on to spare Sodom (Gen Ch 18)
  • Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah (Gen. 25:20) – they became the parents of Jacob and Esau
  • It took 40 days to embalm a body (Gen 50:3)
  • Moses was 40 when he killed the Egyptian (Ex 2, Act 7:23-24))
  • Moses stayed on the mountain with God for 40 days and came back down with the Ten Commandments (Ex. Ch 34)
  • Moses and his people wandered the dessert for 40 years “until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone” (Numbers 32)
  • Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights – during this period he was tempted by Satan (Matthew Ch 4, Mark Ch 1, Luke Ch 4)
  • Paul received 40 lashes minus one (2 Cor 11)
I’m not a Biblical scholar or expert so I won’t continue on. I found a site that lists some of the more well known 40-day events Of course, the number "40" has always had special spiritual significance regarding preparation. On Mount Sinai, preparing to receive the Ten Commandments, "Moses stayed there with the Lord for 40 days and 40 nights, without eating any food or drinking any water" (Ex 34:28). Elijah walked "40 days and 40 nights" to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Horeb (another name for Sinai) (I Kgs 19:8). Most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for "40 days and 40 nights" in the desert before He began His public ministry (Mt 4:2).


So, as I stated briefly above, I know of Lent as a Catholic thing. I’m not Catholic so what do I know and why do I do it? Well, I went to this non-denominational church as a kid. They did a lot of Catholic traditions. It was like Catholic-lite. Plus I lived in a neighborhood where we were surrounded by Catholics. So, when everyone else was giving something up I figured I might as well too. Now, I do it because as an adult I can choose to focus on God. I can spend 40 days focusing on him and his awesomeness because I choose to. I could choose any 40 day period I suppose but I choose this 40 day period.

People fast. They give up food, drink, smoking, candy, starches, meat, etc. What am I doing? I’m doing 2 things.

First -- I am following a specific diet plan for the next 40 days. I will be following the 17 Day Diet. This diet works in phases – 17 days at a time. The first phase begins tomorrow officially. The plan includes diet and exercise guides so I’ll be doing both starting tomorrow.


Second – I will be spending an hour a day in Bible Study. I desire to do this anyway but just don’t. So I am committing to studying 1 hour each day. I have 2 study books to choose from – Esther (my personal hero) or my One Little Word – Trust.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

More New Coasters

Sorry, ladies and gents, I don't have my step to step instructions ready yet. I decided to pop out one more coaster idea before it disappears out of my head.

I did the one below in two different colors.

I put the coaster onto the laptop.  Walked away for a sec and when I came back Coco had parked her butt onto the laptop and the coaster.  She had no intention of moving so I had to snap a photo.

So, here are the official photos of the newest coaster creation. I was going to call it a Spring Coaster but if its not made with spring colors the title would be lost on the recipient. So, I'm calling it the "Airey Coaster"

What do you think of the name?  Please post a comment if you have another idea for a name.  I am open to suggestions.


Safety First




Yesterday I did something very cool. I attended my first NRA Basic Handgun Safety class. I recently joined a group called The Shooting Divas. I came across them on the Meetup site. That's a really wonderful site to find people with similar interests, hobbies, etc.

The Shooting Divas is a great bunch of ladies. I've done several social events but this was my first official event with the Divas.

I don't own a hand gun. I've been wanting to purchase a hand gun for several years. I've looked at them several times but never made a purchase.

I really had fun. I got to handle and practice loading several guns. The class includes time at the gun range but I didn't do that.  The wait for the range was 2 hours so I deferred and will be going later this week or next week.

So, that was my excitement this weekend.  Will definitely post again once I've gone to the range.  That'll be loads of fun.


This is the variety of guns at the class. Some belonged to the instructor and some belonged to students.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My latest creation

I've had these ideas for coasters or pot holders rolling around in my head. It has actually taken me two weeks to create the items below. I frogged them several times.

The pictures below are not great. I will take better photos of the finished product later on.

They still are not what I wanted to create but I am really pleased. I will be posting instructions and step-by-step photos soon.



The Grace Card - A Review

If you have an opportunity to see this movie while it’s in the theaters, you should.

I saw this movie Friday evening with a friend of mine from church “P”.
We met for dinner first at Ruby Tuesday where we both had probably the worst burger of our lives. How can you mess up a cheeseburger?

I want to say it’s a Christian film but I don’t think that’s accurate description. It’s a good film about a Christian man and a non-Christian man struggling with life struggles. It’s really just a feel-good movie with a really awesome message.

God’s Grace can save you. That’s the overall message they want to send you away with and they do a very good job at it.

I have only 2 complaints. There are two plot lines in the movie that don’t come to fruition in the end. I wish they had. There's also a moment in the movie when two families are brought together and I think they dropped the ball a bit on how they played it out on the screen.

The second complaint - since it’s not a high profile film they didn’t have the budget to spend on special effects and camera work. Every once in a while there’s something odd about the camera work/movement that made me a little dizzy or motion sick. Only for a moment. I’d blink or look down for a sec and it would go away.

Honestly, I don’t think it will be in theaters for very long but if you have an opportunity you really should go. If you miss it in the theater then add it to your Netflix list and see it with your family in friends at home. It really is a good movie.



I promise to pray for you every day
ask your forgiveness
grant you the same
and
be your friend
always!


tgc

For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God
- Ephesians 2:8 -

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Little Boxes

My posts won't all be like this, but I decided (without sharing with you all) that I would be entering contests this week. I see so many giveaways on blogs and the internet that involve re-blogging. I don't want to bog you down with dozens of contests just from me so I decided I would do a bunch this week and then may be I'll start picking a day and make it contest day.

So, today's contest giveaway is by Coffee-n-crochet. She is giving away a super lovely sewing box.



She has 100 followers and is celebrating by sharing this gift with the winner.

If you think it's lovely, just click on the photo above, follow her rules (there's only 2) and enter her contest.

Why I Love Dr. Seuss

Today (March 2) is Dr. Seuss's birthday. I love Dr. Seuss so much. I have several Dr. Seuss audio books that I keep queued on my iPhone so that I can pull it up and listen to it at any time. They still make me smile and they make me laugh. I still have my original collection of Dr. Seuss books sitting on my shelf.

I have such fond memories of reading his books. My mom and dad used to read to me before I went to bed. I remember when I was little (pre-first grade) that I would constantly ask my mom or dad to read either a Dr. Seuss book or one of the many Barenstein Bears books that I had. At the time, I don't think I knew what it was about them that I loved - other than the funny littly stories themselves. There are articles on the Internet about how his books provided great moral lessons for children. I don't recall really learning anything. Although I'm sure I did glean the value of fun, sharing and caring from his books as much as I did from Mr. Rogers.

That's what makes writers like Dr. Seuss so fantastic. They made reading and learning fun. I'm sure I learned something but I had no idea I was learning anything at all. Did he know that's what he was doing? I suppose he did. For me it was all about the story and the time.

Oh, the time.

That's what I loved. I loved that time before I went to bed when my parents would read to me. I have such great memories of my dad (mostly) reading to me from any book I would choose. Some nights I had so much reading with him that I would ask him to read 2 or 3 books.

I think I loved it because the simple language made it easy to read along. Once I started to learn to read I would read along with my dad. Once I learned how to read, instead of mom or dad reading to me before bed, I would read to them.


You see, as far as I'm concerned,
Dr. Seuss taught me to read.


Dr. Seuss is the reason that, even today, I love to read. Once I learned there was just no stopping me. I moved on from have mom or dad read me small rhyming books to big books and tales like Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh. I couldn't wait to go to bed to see what would happen in these books each night.

As I got older, my love of reading grew. I seem to have less time now for leisurely reading but I still love curling up with a good book and seeing what tonight's tale will be.








"Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all."






Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss
and
Thank You

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blog it Forward




I am blogging forward today in hopes of winning a prize. I am following two really cool sites.

The first is Sweep Tight - She (I think) posts all sorts of contest and giveaway goodness on her site.


Sweep Tight

The second is Just Married with Coupons - I'm a new follower here but I think the name is pretty self explanatory. I'm not married, but I found several coupons on her site that I intend to take advantage of. Looking forward to more of what they have to offer.

Knit & Crochet Scholarship

I just saw posted on the Red Heart blog that they are teaming up with Jimmy Beans Wool for a $3000 merit scholarship.



When I was a senior, I applied for every single scholarship that I could find. Even pretended to like things so that I could write essays about "why I like _______." I knew every penny mattered when it came to going to college. If I didn't have scholarships or grants, it wasn't going to happen.

Now I've never heard of a scholarship based on knitting and crocheting, but if you're in high school and planning on going to college in Fall 2011, check out this scholarship. The qualifications look pretty straightforward.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What I Live For - Book Review and Order

What I Live For
I really enjoyed reading her review of this book. It sounds so interesting that I hopped over to Amazon and ordered myself a copy of the book.

What I Live For: “Life, In Spite of Me” Book Review: "After opening the book “Life, In Spite of Me”, I really struggled to put it down, taking it everywhere with me and reading it every chance I..."

Also, as a result of reading her post about the book I have decided to sign up. In 10-14 days I will be receiving my first book to review.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How Many?


How many indeed.
Several people commented on my last post and asked if I am making 1 or more afghans.

Excellent question.

Kind of wish I knew the answer.

I originally planned on making 1 big afghan or 2 mediium sized afghans. I wanted to have 1 on my bed or 1 for downstairs and 1 for the bedroom. My other thought was to have/make 1 for my bedroom and 1 for a friend and give it away.

1 big afghan is approx. 5 or 6 12-inch squares across and 5 or 6 12-inch squares in length. So, if I make an afghan that is 5x6 12-inch squares I need 30 squares.

However, I'm having so much fun making the squares that I've made the equivalent of about 10 squares in Jan and Feb each give or take a square.

This means I'll have approx 120 12-inch squares.

Whoa! That's too many squares. That will make 3 or 4 afghans. Far too many squares and far too many afghans. So, yeah, I don't know what I'll end up doing from this point on.

At a minimum I'm going to make 2 12-inch squares, 2 filler squares and 4 6-inch squares.

I'll have a bunch of yarn leftover each month.

What will I do with all that extra yarn? Scarves? Hats? I just don't know.

I guess we'll have to wait and see
and
you'll just have to wait to see and wait to read.

Until then

Namaste

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February is Over

It's over?
But it's only the 22nd?

Yeah, well as far as the Ravelry 2011 Crochet-Along is concerned, February is over.  We were challenged to create these three squares.

6" = Brighter Daze by MG's Design
12" = Pineapple Blossom by April Moreland at the Dishcloth Diaries
12" filler = Grandma's Heart by a lovely lady named Carola.  I'm not sure, but I think the pattern is only available on Ravelry (free to join)


These were all really fun to make and in their own way challenging.  

My first attempt was with the Pineapple Blossom.  


The lighting wasn't great for the photos. 
I actually had a combination of inside light and outside light going on.  The sunshine was peaking in but not enough to give me full light so I had to turn on the overhead lamp. 
Pretty.  Right?  I really liked this pattern.
I'm making an afghan for my mom and I'm going to use this pattern as one of the 2 that I will use.

Second attempt was with the 6-inch square - Brighter Daze 
It was a little complicated to understand at first, but once I got a hang of the pattern,
it was a breeze.


The last attempt was the Grandma's Heart Square.  The pattern for this square looked really complicated at first.  It was written using UK instructions.  No offense to any of my followers who may be int he UK, but your stitch names/counts are weird.  Not a major deal but for instance, they call a double crochet a treble crochet and yet it's the same method.  (odd) ... but I digress....

Thankfully, this pattern also came with a crochet chart.  So, even though you UK folks call your stitches by different names the chart symbols are the same.  Ahhhh... So, here are the two squares I made.

Aren't they all so pretty?  As you can see, I chose appropriate colors for February - red, pink and white.  I think the combination of colors came out very nicely.  

Here is a shot of the squares laying together.


These squares will all eventually be combined with my January squares and all future squares for this Corchet-Along. 

March squares will be shades of green in honor of St. Patty's Day. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One Little Word - Trust

My ladies Bible study group - we call them Small Groups - is doing an intersting study.  Now just about all of us are doing it.  Some of them are on it for the 3rd or 4th year.  I'm doing it for the second year.  It's called the One Little Word Study.  The concept of simple and yet complicated all at the same time.  My word last year was Transform.  I've been going through a lot of changes and I felt that was an appropriate word.  I'll have to blog more about that on another day. 

This year, my word is Trust.  It's only February so I am not that far into my own personal study but I'm already learning something.  Trust is carried and used in different ways.  For instance, we all say we Trust God but I noticed in the bible that when the words Trust and God or Lord are in the same sentence it's more of an action such as "Trust in the Lord" or "Trust in God".  That's very different to me.  It's like going from a noun to a verb use of the word.  It takes on completely different meaning to me.  I'm nowhere near done studying for it but in the meantime I have created an affirmation board to help me with my focus.

My friend D is a very creative person.  She creates all types of art.  One piece of art she designed for all of us to work on is called Metal Art.  She talks about it and gives a complete tutorial here.

So, yesterday I went to D's house and created some Metal Art for myself to focus on.  I gave you a brief glimpse yesterday.  Before I go on, I have to give a lot of credit to Ds daughter. V - she's really talented and nice.  She helped me out with just about every step from picking the size of my board, background colors, application methods and even helped me with a few corrections.  I'm a loner and like to do things on my own but working with V was really enjoyable.  I liked talking with her.

So, here we go.  I started out by picking the letter styles that I wanted.  I really like Small Caps so I tried to find letters that were just small version of capital letters.

It started out as this with the letters and extras laid out on the table.


Then we moved the letters to the board. V helped me glue the labels to the board.
I ditched the top flower.  I don't remember why. 
I'm not sure, but I think the board is really a simple piece of cardboard.
Pretty cool use of cardboard, huh?


Then, we glue aluminum foil (that's right aluminum foil) to the baord and around the letters.
This was fun and a little hard.  Hard because my natural instinct is to make it neat
but the idea is for the foil to be crinkly and messy.  Once I started intentionally making wrinkles
it became much easier and actually a little fun.

The next step is to paint the letters.  I chose silver.  V helped me to paint the letters.
Then when I was done and looked at it my first thought was -
"Crap, I've just painted aluminum an aluminum color.  How stupid"
V talked me into sticking with the color.  I'm glad she did. 
You can just barely see the difference between the aluminum foil color and the silver paint.
The next step is to paint the background. 
V helped me a lot by putting droplets of the paint down and helping me to paint the background. 
I kept trying to paint but what you really want to do is schmear and dab and just move the paint around. 
I forgot to take pics during this process.  I wish I had. 
We had some neat little puddles of paint as we moved along from top to bottom. 
The end result is this

I still need to buy a frame to put it in.
I'm so pleased at how the letters for TRUST pop off the board.

It's beautiful and I love it!  I can't wait to make another. 
I never made one for my word last year.  I think I'd like to make one.
This was a very fun day and a really easy project. 
Many many thanks to D and her daughter V for making this project and making it a fun day. 

One last picture.  This was taken by D. 
She has a much better camera than I do.
She was able to capture some of the cruchy details that my iPhone didn't capture.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One Little Word

in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?
Psalm 56:11

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Top Ten on Tuesday - Stress

I got this idea from the Crafty Life woman. She does this every Tuesday. The idea is to write briefly about ten things today.

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So, here goes. Top Ten things stressing me out:

1. Stink bugs I can’t stop thinking about the stink bug I found this morning. Where there’s one there are more. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it. I read that cats are great stink bug killers, but my cat seemed completely uninterested this morning. She just sat there and stared at him and watched me freak out. Sigh….

2. Marathon - I registered to walk the Pittsburgh ½ Marathon this year. Today is exactly 3 months from the race date. I’m seriously undertrained for this event. Ugh…

3. job - I actually can’t talk much about what I do. I’m a security engineer and I do NIST/FISMA based assessments. I don’t work in DOD but I do sign non-disclosure agreements so I can’t talk about what I’m working on. Also, because the Internet is a big creepy world, I can’t talk about work because it can be used against me and I could get fired. Speaking of fired – I haven’t been fired, but I may be making a change. That’s all I can say.

4. Budget - I feel like I’m spending too much money lately. I haven’t been buying much but I’ve gone away from using cash for everything to using my debit card. I swipe here, there and everywhere. Just feels like too much spending. It really is true that if you use cash you’re less likely to spend the money.

5. Mammogram - I turned 40 last year and I am due to have my first mammogram this year.

6. Exercise - I have not been exercising lately. I’ve lost my exercise mojo. I’m not sure how to get it back. If I don’t get off my ass, I’m going to be screwed when #2 above comes calling.

7. Vehicle - this is a minor stress but I think I have some expenses coming up. I’ve got a crack in my windshield and she hasn’t been idling properly lately. She rev’s for no reason at all.

8. Summer - Summer is coming which means shorts, bathing suits and the beach. Need I say more?

9. Diet - This goes along with #2 and #6. I just seem to have lost my mojo and can’t find it.

10. This list - Probably not a fair point for the list but I actually found this a hard lit to create this morning. I guess I’m not all that stressed. Which is a good thing. :-)

So, there you have it. My Tuesday List. So, what is on your mind today?

Stink bugs

Just found my first stink bug in my house. In my bathroom. My mom and bro told me months ago to just snap it up in paper towel or tissue and toss it into the toilet. I have a major bug phobia. It freaked me out. There's no way I can do that. I'll spare you all the details but it ended up on a pair of skivvies. With the help of a grabber (might as well be a 10-foot pole) I was able to pick them up and flick the bug into the toilet.
Do any if my followers have suggestions on killing them? Is there a bug spray?
I'm sure if there's one there will be more.
This is gonna suck. 

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