Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Life Lessons

Finishing the Race

Surprise!  I’m still alive!  Yes, I haven’t written in a very long while. What, you want excuses?  Hmmmm.  I don’t think I have any good ones, just melancholy head cloudiness going on.  It seemed to set in right after finishing the big 5K race.  Yep, 2nd man and I with the extra gracious help of the Lord ran and finished our first 5K race.  Upon finishing I felt, exhilaration, a great sense of accomplishment, humbleness, all on top of pain and gasping.  Here’s how the whole thing went down.
            I’ll begin with the fact that for over a month now I’ve been suffering from insomnia something terrible.  I don’t know why, I don’t have any unusual stress (outside of training) going on and I’m not depressed so I don’t know…hormones or something maybe.  Anyway, mistake #1 was that 2nd man and I got a run in on Friday before the race. Found out on race day that that wasn’t such a good idea.  Mistake #2 was that I went to bed early Friday night in the same room as 2nd man.  Of course I do this every night, but 2nd man harbors a deep dark secret…well not really, but he does occasionally sleepwalk.  Of course he did that night, of all nights, which awoke my insomniac self with adrenaline rushing through my system.  Arghhhh!  So off to the living room I went to try and bore myself to sleep via late night infomercials.  That’s not a good idea either.  I almost bought a steam mop, a bra, and an “everything” tool for 2nd man.  Thankfully the pocketbook is empty.
            Saturday came and I found out why it’s probably a good idea to run those races that take place in the morning.  I was so jacked up on adrenaline from nerves that my teeth were chattering.  I hadn’t had that happen since I gave birth to my last child.  2nd man likes to call it my Katherine Hepburn look when she shakingly says’, “you’re my knight in shining armor.”  (Not sure what movie that’s from just heard it somewhere.).   Anyway, I was just a bundle of nerves.  I wasn’t sure what a race would be like.  Would everyone be a pro at this?  Would there only be like 12 people even in the race or would I be able to blend in with the masses?  Then of course my worst case scenario thoughts kept plaguing me like coming in so far last that the police would be like, “lady are you coming soon?  We need to open the road back up.”  I wasn’t in it to win of course, but I didn’t want to be totally last either.  My mother-in-law (who is normally a fantastic and wonderfully godly woman) cheered me up by pointing out that these thoughts were prideful…sigh.  Now I was full of nerves and guilt! 
            Thankfully, I had booked a few things into the schedule that day like lunch with friends who were in from out of town and a baby shower too.  I had to inform my kids that they’d have to get themselves prepped for Sunday on their own.  I normally walk them through picking out their clothing and getting their stuff all together like offering, Bibles and Sunday school homework on Saturday.  However, I was useless in any area of practicality for the day.  I even went to the local grocery store to take my blood pressure because of a fantastic headache I was harboring.  Sure enough it was pretty high.  So with all of these conditions and the fact that I’m used to running in the crisp morning air, I learned that the next race will be a morning one.
            However, we did make it to the race.  We had our pastor and his wife come to sit with our kids and watch.  Thankfully, there were a lot of people there and they were all very friendly.  I had read several places that runners have a friendly camaraderie about them, but I just wasn’t sure about our town.  Thankfully it was true.  The vibe in the parking lot was so much fun to be around.  There were all levels of people there.  We were specifically impressed with three lanky young men who were practicing in the field next to us, running like gazelles to warm up. I run very hard, heavy and frenetic.  These guys looked like feathers floating across the horizon…amazing.  There were those in their gear that looked like the ads for athletic footwear, there were chunky ones like me and then there was a pregnant woman.  I figured I could at least beat her.  She looked like an avid runner who was maybe 8 months pregnant or so. 
            When we lined up in the roadway, the organizers announced that people running for best time should move to the front, 2nd man and I sheepishly and slowly started backing up.  Then, in true Oklahoma fashion they started the race, not with a pistol, but a shotgun.  After all of our hearts started beating again, the race began.  I put my I pod on and focused in.  I was pretty amped and feeling good until about three minutes in, the pregnant lady passed us never to be seen again until after we crossed the finish line…way behind her.  Oh well.
            2nd man was great through the whole thing encouraging me along the way.  A few minutes in, people sort of separated into packs of like fitness levels.  2nd man would shout out to me over his headphones, “your looking great babe! We’ve got this!” to which a lady running near us shouted back, “thanks!” 
Although we’ve run together dozens of times in the mornings, for some reason all of the excitement must have worn me out.  That was the toughest run yet.  Even 2nd man said it was tough.  I wasn’t sure I’d finish until I actually did.  I mean, even like 20 yards away, I was actually unsure I would make it.  You know how people have pictures of crossing the finish lines with big smiles and hands held high?  Not mine, nope, I looked like I had just been tortured.  And Nope, I’m not posting that picture online for anything.  I couldn’t even hold the water bottle someone handed out to me.  I threw my I pod and sunglasses on the grass and took a good 5 minutes to catch my breath.  Then I felt like crying.  I don’t know why, I was happy, but also I was so thankful that God helped me finish…and not last, I might add.  We were somewhere in the last half, but not last.  We finished in just over 37 minutes, which was really good for me, having not ever been a runner until 10 weeks before this race.  I’m sure 2nd man could have blown that time out of the water, but he was my coach and encourager and stayed with me the whole way. 
            The whole thing was a very spiritual moment for me.  I don’t mean that in a hokey kind of way.  But finishing this race wasn’t going to be any world changing event, but God cared enough about me that even in my simple small requests, he took the time to listen and acknowledge me.  I appreciate and am humbled by that thought.  I’ve felt throughout the whole training process that it was just full of spiritual symbolism with our Christian race.  The times when your body is shouting at you just quit, it doesn’t matter, but you have to push through anyway.  Then there’s the whole idea of finishing whether it affects anyone else’s life or not.  Even down to the lady at the end of the race who was in our little “pack” that said, “you two encouraged me the whole way.” And we didn’t even realize it.  I can only hope I would live my Christian walk the same way…no…even better and stronger.
            In the days since the race, the perfectionist melancholy in me has been down in the valley.  The high I got from that race didn’t last very long and I still struggle when 2nd man and I go out for a run.  I haven’t lost weight through this whole process and wonder if I’ll ever really feel like a runner.  The mountaintop didn’t last long, but it was enough encouragement to help me push through this valley and keep going.  Part of that is truly why I haven’t been able to even sit and write about it.  God is good all the time, on the mountain and in the valley he’s there with me just like 2nd man encouraging me and saying, “Keep going, we’ve got this!”  Even though he could move on without slow learning me.  So, a grunting onward I go.
Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith, My Interests

I’m a Runner not a Singer

            The woman in this photo is not me.  Oh I wish I were that cute.  The man isn’t 2nd man either.  I like 2nd man the way he is though…I don’t want this guy.  Anyway, I just had to find a picture for today’s post.  It’s about running –in case you didn’t guess. 
Yes, in my never-ending quest to get healthy and look kinda cute too, we’ve taken up running.  We’re now in week 6 of the 9 week Couch potato to 5K running plan.  (I mentioned it in a previous post last week sometime.)   Anyway, I’m starting to get past the “What am I doing out here?” stage and moving into the excited, “I think I can” stage.  It feels good to be accomplishing something.  Especially since my running partner is a foot taller than I am and running brings on all sorts of heat rashes that they just don’t talk about on those biggest loser shows. 
I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, for about 10 years now to lose weight.  Everyone in my family is unhealthy and quite frankly, I’m scared to death to end up that way.  However, I’m beginning to wonder what my body’s deal is anyway.  The more I try – the unhealthier I get.  Since starting P90X and incorporating clean eating, I’ve now gained 10 lbs in the past year and my cholesterol has gone up.  So you might understand that I need to set goals that lead to other things than health and weight loss.  We’re on our way to doing this 5K in just four short weeks.  Then I can go around saying things like, “yeah, I’m a runner.”  Or “In my last 5k…”  I’ll let ya know if I make it.
This is not me either.  It’s my beautiful first born, Katie.  She can sing, so can my other daughter too.  I’m not sure where they got it, certainly not me.   However, I almost got my big chance last night.  Our new song leader, Jose approached me to inquire if I was a singer.  (Jose is an exciting new addition to the church staff.  I first heard him sing last winter at a youth retreat.  I could listen to him all day, such a beautiful and soothing voice.  He hails from West Coast Baptist Bible College and Lancaster Baptist church in Lancaster, CA.  I never thought he’d come to the middle of, well, here to be a song leader, But God is good and we got him!  And I just love to say his name, don’t know why, it just has such and exotic and fun feel to it.) Anyway, I hesitated for a few awkward moments trying to figure out how to answer him.    I finally went with the honest answer and told him no.  Our last song leader always said he’d save me a spot to sing on Thursdays of revival weeks.  That would be great except our revivals generally run Sunday through Wednesday.  Instead, I call myself an appreciator.  Society needs artists, singers and creative minds.  Those great minds need an audience, someone to appreciate them.  That’s where I fall in, as an appreciator.  It’s a non-glamorous job, but I try to do my part. 
Posted in Healthy Living, Homeschooling, Life Lessons, My Interests

Better Is The End of a Thing…

            Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”  Boy howdy that’s been ringing through my mind for nearly two weeks!   Yes, it’s the beginning of another home schooling year.  I love the beginning.  I mean I really love the beginning.  It marks the return of a routine (in theory anyway).  Its precious achievements and light bulb moments all ready to burst forth like a tulip in the spring.  Yes, it’s that time of year when goals are made.  I love the moment when I get to sit down with a new pencil from Mardel’s bookstore and stick it into the electric pencil sharpener getting it as pointed as possible and smelling the sawdust and lead that is torn away.  Then, I crack open my fresh new lesson plan book, not yet marred by the eraser, and start to jot down the weeks and dates, followed by the subject headers and known holidays, the daily schedules and even lunch menus. Oh the sweet joy of a new year that is just waiting to be filled with pedagogy and field trips.
            Then, reality hits in right in the middle of my perfected schedule that I have vowed to uphold and protect.  Yes, just when I’ve sworn off any answering of phones until after noon, no appointments until after 2:00 and absolutely no thoughts of dinner preparations until at least 4:00.  Errrrt! Arghhhhh! Crash!!!!!  “Oh yeah, I already made those eye doctor appointments and dental appointments months ago.  They are at 9:00 and 10:00am during the first week of school!  Then the second week comes with the missions’ conference at church.  What’s that? Oh right I’m supposed to take people out to lunch during that week.  My kids?  Oh they’ll be fine scrounging for peanut butter and jelly.  I’m sure they’ll stay right on task all by themselves.  What?  Their teacher?  Oh yes, that’s me, but they’ll just have to deal until I can give them attention.  Yes, I’ll admit, it was real fun explaining that to my crying 10 year old this morning when she frustratingly let me know that I’ve never explained to her how I wanted her to set up her arithmetic homework page before laying into her about the sloppiness of her work.  Oh yea, we’re off to a greeeaaaat start.
            This is really nothing new to me.  I’m a melancholy sanguine…that means I smile a lot in public and go home and cry about everything.   It also means I have a tendency to start a lot of things but not finish.  Oh how I despise this flaw in my personality.  I can’t tell you how many diets, schedules and gardens I’ve started and blown.  Then comes the self-deprecation and mean talk.  Did you ever see the 1969 movie “Support Your Local Sheriff” with James Garner?  Some of my favorite lines come from that movie:
Joe Danby: I’m gonna get you for this, Jake! 
Jason McCullough: Well, you are the toughest talkin’ blowhard I ever heard! 
Or how about this one:
Joe Danby: I hear you’re gonna try and arrest me. You know you don’t look near as tough as some of them other sheriffs we’ve had lately. Particularly that old boy that done run off about an hour and a half after he took the job. 
Jason McCullough: Joe, you just make me feel tired all over when you talk like that. 
Joe Danby: Now, what do you mean by that? 
Jason McCullough: It’s bad enough to have to kill a man without having to listen to a whole lot of stupid talk from him first. 
I don’t think I’m actually schizophrenic or anything like that.  But I do have a little Joe Danby that whispers in my head and I have to pull out the “Tired all over” quote.   
I was thinking about this just this morning when I went running with the 2nd man.  Yes, surprise, we’ve got a new kick we’re on now.  I decided that since the weight lifting thing wasn’t helping me lose any weight that I needed to add more cardio.  That’s when I happened upon the Couch Potato to 5K running program online.  They insist that you will be able to run a 5K at the end of 9 weeks.  Well, we’re now in week 5, which is pretty impressive to me so far.  However, I’ve reached the stage in the program where I look at the next day’s jogging schedule and about have a panic attack.  Then I get out there and think “what are you doing out here?”  Between the heat rash and trying to keep up with 2nd man (who is exactly 1 foot taller than me), oh yeah and the asthma, I wonder if there really is a way to get this body healthy.  The program looks great on paper, but whoa it’s hard. 
            I must concede though, that doing it with 2nd man pulls some sort of stubborn reserves from me and I have made it through so far.  However, this morning, as he was congratulating me for making it to the final bell on my stopwatch, I explained that what he just witnessed was 8 straight minutes of me arguing with myself.  Truly, I need to put the headphones on and get some diversion. 
            I’ve got us scheduled to run a 5k for our local YMCA on October 1st.  Now, I have yet to reach any weight loss goals in my whole life.  I’m banking on the satisfaction of at least finishing this program and making it to this goal.  I keep saying to myself “Better is the end of a thing…Better is the end of a thing…. Better is the end of a thing.”  Of course it’s about here that I forget the end of the verse…ironic isn’t it? 
            Anyway, I’m hopeful that this will still be our best home school year ever.  It’s just our life that guarantees that the only thing that is consistent is change.  So with a flexible mind, and unwavering desire I’ll press on.  Maybe my kids will learn a lot more about life and flexibility than academics, but at least they’ll be learning.  It’s become one of my greatest desires now just to NOT be a big blowhard, but actually accomplish something…we’ll see.
Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Life Lessons, My Interests

Mayhem and Momma

     Well, it’s official (well, as official as my opinion gets), I’ve done gone crazy or have some sort of attention deficit something or other going on.  What was I saying?  Oh, yes, I’m not sure why I do such things to myself, but I have this tendancy to spread myself ultra thin in nearly every area of my life. The thing is…I love it. I’m currently learning, or rather teaching myself, to cook a whole new way.  Do you know how much time and effort that takes?  Then, I say yes to teaching a Sunday School class.  I’m part of the decorating committee at the church so December brings lots of demands in that area.  Trying to get my own house decorated as well.  Finishing up the last week of homeschool with all of the planning and grading that brings.  And to top it all off in the best way…Momma’s coming for Christmas….nuff said.
            The cooking thing is actually starting to sink in a little bit.  We’re trying “eat clean” as I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  So for the last four weeks I’ve been reading the labels of everything I buy.  If I can’t pronounce it I have to find another way to make it.  Yep, all in the name of health.  Of course, as usual, 2nd man has gotten whipped back into shape in no time (it’s questionable if he was ever out of shape).  He’s losing weight that he doesn’t even need to lose.  I read these books on the workouts and the clean eating. I read the testimonials of all these women who lost like 19lbs in 7 week!  Wow!  I start the calculations of where I can be in like one months time.  Get motivated. Don’t cheat.  And, yes, once again, four weeks after starting I’m still the same weight as when I began.  I mean, It’s like me against the body.  Come on!  Oh, well.  I may not be lighter, but I do have crazy amounts of energy (and muscle soreness).  So there’s a plus.  Guess we’ll keep truckin and see if anything else happens.
            Sunday school class is coming along…slowly.  I should be working on it right now, but am once again distracted.  It’s been a week of total guilt over teaching this lesson that I’m still learning.  I mean, isn’t it weird to know something and not do it?  I finally had some breakthrough last night in my own personal Bible study time.  I think I’m all turned around too, because I used to have my personal Bible study in the mornings before everyone else awoke.  Now that 2nd man and I are working out, I have to have it at another time.  It  just feels weird.  Starting new habits can be very stressful.  I find myself so distracted with all these things that I even found the peanut butter up in the cabinet with the drinking glasses.  I’ve thrown away dishes and who knows where the dog is…just kidding.  The point is, I’m having a hard time concentrating.
            The decorating thing at church, well, I think it’s gonna have to go for now.  I absolutely love decorating for banquets and seasons etc.  However, it really does take large chunks of time when things need to get done.  2nd man and I have been talking and I’m praying about it.  I think the time with my kids and family is just going to have to take precedence.  One of these days I’ll have free afternoons to decorate..right?
     Finally, the exciting news.  Momma and Daddy are coming for Christmas.  I think I finally guilted them enough to get them moving.  They’re even packing the dog along as well.  This requires lots of prep work around the house,  but I love all of it.  I bought new towels today.  I’ve been waiting for an excuse for those towels. I love when houseguests come and many of those wants around the house become needs. Woo hoo!  I really miss family around this time of year, so I just cherish it when they can make the trip.  Hope their dog likes cats.
Through all of this craziness 2nd man has really stepped in to help.  Since he’s the one who initially wanted to go the clean eating direction, he’s been helping with the cooking and even the dinner dishes when he can.  He’s been bringing me my favorite tea in the evenings, and helping out a lot with the kids.  Oh I am blessed.  Is this the time to say nanny nanny boo boo to all you other ladies?   Well, ok I’ll keep it nice….nevermind.
Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, Daily Musings, Healthy Living

Body Fights and Teaching Plights

            Well, my body’s done it again.  Every time I start a diet or exercise program I get sick.  Happened just yesterday.  Thankfully, I think the worst is over, as I’m feeling much better today.  I get so irritated with the ol’ girl when it does this.  Can’t it see that I’m making changes for the good here?  Instead, it’s like my body is fighting back going, “hey, feed the fat lady!” or maybe, “ahhhhh what are you doing?   We need a Snickers like NOW!”  When I don’t answer the way it likes…well…there’s a revolt and the little sinus infection platoon is the first wave.  If I can hold out another week or two, I think I’ll be able to conquer. 
            I, regrettably, did cave a little under the pressure of the pizza at the teen night last Sunday evening.  I don’t know, something about the warm steaming smell of the garlic and crust, mm, mm.  Anyway, as 2nd man so eloquently put it “they spoke fancy to me, I couldn’t resist.”  I didn’t have very much though, and only drank water.  At least that’s a step in the right direction.
            It’s been actually kind of fun trying to find ways to eat clean.  I found a really neat blog called  that has some great recipes.  The author seems very real, which I like.  Wish I could say I eat like a bird and can exist on seeds and nuts.  But, I need some meat, and taters too. I mean this is Oklahoma where I live.  We eat the animals out here on the plains.  That’s the only way we can get all this grain, which surrounds us, down.  Sandwich it with meat.
        On a ministry note, I received an email from our pastor’s wife today asking me to teach her ladies Sunday school class in a few weeks.  I love these opportunities, but boy do they challenge me.  First off is the intimidating crowd.  The front row is full of older ladies, mostly widows that are always gracious, but I know they could teach me soooooo much.  It feels, well, arrogant or something to stand in front of them.  The rest of the crowd comes across as a sea of faces.  It’s a funny thing to stand in front of a crowd.  I would suggest to anyone who does, not to try to read the faces.  So much can go wrong doing this.  You have the sleeping ones for one.  That’s never an encouraging factor.  Then, there are those that are smiling the whole time.  I like those people, but still sometimes wonder if they’re agreeing or amused.    Some, were just born with a sourpuss face. They are the ones that really get me all wound up. 
            2nd man is always willing to let me take her up on these opportunities to speak.  He often appreciates some feedback from his lessons.  I’ve been under his teaching along with the teens for so long, that sometimes I just figure he has it down.  But, when I teach a class I usually come home reeling, wondering if I did all right.  It’s funny how people that do like something don’t really voice it, but those that don’t like it are always ready with something to say.  Anyway, he likes me to be reminded of how it is to teach in front of a crowd and how important feedback can be.  It’s not the need for flattery, but just an outside opinion for guidance. 
            The second challenge, is preparing a lesson.  It’s hard to know what direction to go when you don’t get to do it very often.  God has always been gracious, but occasionally, I’ve wondered if I chose wisely.  I once did a lesson on the Holy Spirit.  I spent a week and a half reading, praying, and gathering information.  It was like a little revival in my soul.  I was so excited about it, and figured everyone else would be too.  I chose special songs pertaining to the Holy Spirit to start the class.  Problem is, I’m not a singer.  Seriously, I’m not just being modest here.  I asked the ladies to sing out and help me out, but instead it felt like I was up there doing a solo.  Instead of putting us in the mindset of listening and learning about the Holy Spirit, I felt like it was totally quenched.  I learned then, that no matter how the Pastor’s wife begins class, when I’m there, we’re not singing. 
            Then on another occasion, I had, what felt like, the simplest lesson.  I was sure everyone would be underwhelmed.  Instead, I got more compliments and responses than ever…go figure.  Guess this means I’d better wrap this blogging thing up for today and start praying for direction.
Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Marriage

Eating clean and getting lean

            It’s been a good weekend so far.  Started with 2nd man canceling our workout yesterday morning (whew!).  I’m not happy that it was because he was feeling under the weather, however, I was thinking we were going to have to install handicap railing in our bathroom if my legs didn’t recover soon.  Just having a small child brush up against them was excruciating.  I’m thinking it’s a good thing to ease into this workout thing.  Not to mention that he now has me on a clean eating plan I need time to learn about..  This is the idea that we should eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.  That’s right…I have to break off my evil friendship with Little Debbie.  She’s a chemical filled nightmare that will outlive a nuclear war apparently.  So far, she’s been working underground and hiding out around my midsection….and lower section….oh, and upper section too.
            I’m actually on board with the 2nd man on this idea, but admittedly it was with some arm twisting reluctance.  I cried in his office when he first informed me that he wanted us to try to go this direction.  “you mean I have to go back to school to learn how to feed my family again?”  It’s not that I’m unwilling to help my family be as nutritious as possible, but it does take a substantial amount of time to learn how to cook everything….again….in a healthy way. 
After the initial tears I took a deep breath and said, “ok, I’m willing to try.”  Three reasons why. 1. I’m bummed because nobody’s coming for the holidays this year, and we have nowhere to go.  Guess it’s the perfect time to try to get healthy and learn to cook since there’s not much reason to cook up all of the junk food I was so looking forward to.  2.  I spotted a horrendous picture of myself on the photo wall at church….lets just say I could use some change. And 3. I really do want to be healthy and it kind of gives me a sense of Proverbs 31 (if you know what I mean).  In a nutshell….couldn’t hurt, might help. 
This should be interesting trying to be all “clean” in the youth ministry.  Already, this weekend, we’ve been to a youth rally that served Frito chili pie and brownies.  Not sure there was anything clean about any of that.  Tonight we have a teen service at church and GAP night afterwards.  GAP meaning “Games And Pizza”.  Guess I’d better eat my clean tuna and veggies before we leave for church.  I’m hoping the satisfaction of being healthy will outweigh the smell of that pizza in my car when I go to pick it up.  Ooooh I may need some prayer on this one.