Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Workout Rebellion

Now that my ankle has healed and the temperatures are a bit cooler I have started running again. Unlike my friend Susan, who runs mega marathons, I run just enough for a quick workout in hopes of fitting more comfortably into my clothes.

Unfortunately all the rumors about 40 yr. old metabolism are true and I'm afraid that for me running is not enough anymore. I now have to "mix up" my exercise routine in order to trick my body into burning fat. And even worse, I have to curb my eating habits! Of course as soon as I decide that is what I am going to do I am confronted with some kind of "Death by Chocolate" dessert. Get behind me Satan (and I don't mean on my thighs, lol)!!

Anyway, I have found myself in some strength training classes at the gym recently. After my brain invented several good excuses as to why I couldn't go (battling a cold, I was already "cleaned up" and didn't want to sweat off my makeup, it was too nice of a day...) my body paid no attention and I ended up in the middle of a military-like workout nightmare!

Not that long ago I prided myself on my workout endurance. I was determined to work as hard as I could, lift as much weight as possible and do whatever it took to keep up with the instructor (let's just call her Cruella). Perhaps it is my first-born, rule-follower nature that led me to believe I didn't have a choice but to LIFT when told to "lift" or SQUAT when ordered to "squat".

Well lately I have found myself in exercise rebellion. I start out the class strong but I have been shocked to find that there are times my body does not follow Cruella's instruction. She says "JUMP" and I hear my mouth say "I don't think so." She says "GIVE ME 4 MORE!" and I mumble "No Way!"

The thing is, my brain wants to keep up but my body is shaking and uncooperative. At that point I don't care if my arms jiggle or my rear end sags, I just want out of this torture!! Besides, Cruella is on my payroll and I don't have to do what she says. Why, oh why have I signed up to suffer like this??

And then Cruella said something that I have not been able to get out of my mind. She said, "In order to get stronger, sometimes you must make yourself weak."

~To build muscles I must be willing to physically push my body to its limit.
~To love someone I must be willing to be vulnerable.
~To be a good Christian witness I must be willing to walk by faith, not by sight.
~And I certainly must humble myself before God if I want to be filled with the power of His Spirit!

HMMM! Perhaps I need to listen a lot more carefully to those people God places in my life, including trainers at the gym. And more importantly I need to be obedient to endure the trials and struggles that come my way by persevering through pain and exhaustion in order to develop and strengthen my "faith muscles".

Who would have thought I would get all of that out of an hour workout class? Thank You Lord for using my weakness to speak so strongly to me!!

Romans 7:19; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:4

Monday, September 22, 2008

CBS- More Than a Television Network!

A few years ago I was playing in my monthly Bunco group when one of my girlfriends invited me to attend her bible study!

I had participated in several studies at my church but this one was not affiliated with a particular church or denomination. It was simply called CBS, short for Community Bible Study, and they met at a nearby church that allowed use of the building.

To sweeten the pot they offered a program for children. At the time, Pablo was 2 and Sophie was a 5 yr. old afternoon kindergartener. HMMM! Free childcare while I met new women and learned more about the bible? Where do I sign up? The only problem was that it was May and the new class didn't begin until September.

September finally arrived and I somehow got the kids into the right classrooms and myself into the "lecture hall" where I didn't know a soul (my girlfriend was absent for the first two weeks). As I watched the Teaching Director and Associate Teaching Director present the details of the class I thought they were so smart, brave and Godly! I would love to be like that someday!!

I also remember looking around and thinking, "Who will God bring into my life through this study? After all, He knew before the foundation of the world that I would be in this place at this time with these women..."

The structure of CBS is:
1. you read scripture
2. complete "homework questions" about the scripture reading
3. discuss the lesson in a small group
4. hear a lecture covering the material

This four-fold approach is great because it addresses every kind of learning style.

As class began that first day I couldn't wait to dig into my lesson!! And when we divided into small groups I discovered most of the women in my group were around my age but with a variety of bible knowledge represented. Throughout that year I grew to love the women in my "core group" and I made many friendships I still treasure.

About halfway through the year I was approached by the Teaching Director (I couldn't believe she knew who I was!) and asked if I would consider being a children's teacher. Looking back I understand that this was a privilege but at the time I didn't feel that way. ~ Just as I was clicking with women they wanted to throw me back with the kids.~

Then the TD said perhaps I should work with the women. Now that blew my socks off and I said "YES" right away.

So two years ago I stepped into leadership by facilitating a "core group" of amazing women. By the end of that year I had accepted the role of "Prayer Chairman" even though I felt completely unworthy of that job. I figured this was God's way of stretching me and growing me in prayer. Besides it was mostly "behind the scenes" stuff. It wasn't like I had to speak in front of the class or anything.

Then one day in August of last year I got a phone call. The woman who was to be the Associate Teaching Director had to step out of leadership due to family obligations and would I consider the job?

NO! I don't want to do that job; it is HUGE and though I am growing I am still so little! I can't, I will fail!

"Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the LORD Almighty," Zechariah 4:6b
NO NO NO! I want to go shopping and travel and spend my time at the gym, this would be too big of a sacrifice of my time!

"Seek first my kingdom and my righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

OK LORD, I have faith to do what you are calling me to do but I need to be sure it is you and not my own ambitions that are driving me:

"But now listen (Kelley) my servant, (Kelley) whom I have chosen. This is what the LORD says--He who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: do not be afraid, O (Kelley) my servant, (Kelley) whom I have chosen.......I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants." Isaiah 44:1-2, 3b

I am now in my second year as Associate Teaching Director (ATD). It's funny that one of the first things I had to do after accepting the position was travel in the form of an "all expenses paid" trip to Colorado Springs for training.

Pablo is in his 4th year in children's CBS and he knows more scripture and bible facts than all of my other kids combined! This is much more than "childcare", it is a phenomenal kids bible study!

No, I don't recieve a "paycheck" for what I do but I can honestly say that NOTHING else I have ever done (outside of being a mother) has given me this kind of purpose and fulfillment. This year my mom has been able to be a part of the class and I am thrilled that she joins me every Wednesday morning to grow in God's word with 150 other women. God has indeed blessed me!!

To learn more about CBS or to find a class in your area click here (and be sure to let me know if you do!!).

Exploring Garden of the God's in Colorado Springs bef
ore training.

One of the best parts of training "the food!"

Rubbing elbows with Camilla Seaboldt~ Executive Director of CBS
"Graduation Certificates!"

*CBS is very much like BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) but there are some differences. My husband has begun attending BSF with two of our girls. We are blessed to live in a community that offers so many options for worship and bible study!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Playing in the Past.......

Some people are just too much fun!

It truly isn't fair to the rest of us that they got all the "fun genes!" Linda at 2nd Cup is one of those people whose blog is like going to party every time I visit. Last week she introduced a site where you can "Yearbook Yourself" and see how you might have looked in the past.

Well this kind of thing is right up my alley so I have been having lots of fun "yearbooking" myself and my husband.

Remember, this is the "real" us......

But here is what my honey and I might have looked like in 1964.....

This could have been us in 1976...

And the early 80's might have found us like this.....

As I was "playing around with different "yearbook" looks I was puzzled by my 1952 picture. I thought, "Gee, that looks familiar to me".... And then it hit me, I have a picture of my Grandmother that looks very much like that!

She died when my Dad was 12 so I never knew her but I remember my Grandpa always telling me how much I look like her. I have always wished I could have known more about her but all I know is that she died young (under 40) of breast cancer. She had 3 sons and it was very hard on all of them after she died.

I pray that somehow she knows that she now has 2 granddaughters, 3 great-grandsons, 7 great-granddaughters and that one of them is named after her.

So here is the picture of how I might have looked in 1952 alongside the picture of my Grandmother Cecelia. It may not be an exact match but I can finally see the resemblance my Grandpa told me about!

If you enjoy this kind of fun then I encourage you to click here and Yearbook yourself too! Let me know if you do, I would love to check out how you might have looked in the past!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Would Dorothy Have Done?

It seems that Miss Lilly has been invited to Homecoming and for the past week she has bribed, begged and harassed me about going dress shopping.

Finally I ran out of excuses and took her to the mall on Friday after school.

Believe it or not we hit pay dirt in the first store we tried. She found a dress that was exactly what she wanted; short, purple with rhinestones on the straps and approved of by Mom. It really looked beautiful on her but in order to make sure there wasn't an "even better dress" out there we walked down the mall to look in one more store.

As I sat in the dressing room my husband called my cell phone to tell me we were under a tornado warning and his buddy the storm chaser said it seemed to be "the real thing!" About that time they announced over the Department Store loud speaker, "The city has just issued a tornado warning, please take shelter immediately or exit the building."

As you can imagine panic ensued, at least for my daughter. She began wailing, "I need to go back and get that dress!!"

The other customers were hurriedly walking toward the exits but we made a beeline back to store #1. Even if it meant being wiped out in a tornado there was no way I was going to take a chance we would ever find another dress that would be acceptable to my "particular" daughter.

As we walked the length of the mall it struck me as a really an odd scene. You could hear the announcement repeating the instructions to seek shelter or evacuate, and yet the guy at the spa kiosk was continuing to hand out samples & people were still waiting in the smoothie line. Maybe our quest for the dress wasn't so absurd after all!

We finally reached the store where the dress was being held and apparently they had not heard the announcement. Neither the clerk nor the other customers knew anything about a tornado warning.

I made Lilly stop at a table on the way out of the store because they were handing out $10.00 cash coupons for every $50.00 you spent. When the woman at the table tried to get me to stay and shop some more (in order to earn another coupon) I had to tell her "As much as I would love to there is a tornado warning and I must get home to my children. Priorities you know?"

With dress (and coupon) in hand Lilly and I ran across the parking lot and jumped in the car. By then the sirens were blaring and the rain was pounding. Traffic was heavy, as it was rush hour anyway and everyone just wanted to get home!

Finally we pulled into the driveway and a short time later my husband arrived home. Sirens continued to go off for about another half hour as we all watched the rain and clouds shift in the sky. By then we knew the tornado threat was over and we were relieved to have everyone safe and together!

For the rest of the evening my husband and I played in the rain with the kids, Lilly called everyone she knew (in order to brag on her dress), and my college girl (along with her boyfriend) came into town for a visit (completely unaffected by the bad weather).

Looking back I would say Friday night was just another ordinary piece of the puzzle that makes up an extraordinary family! A simple reminder of how blessed I am!!

"Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? But that's nothing compared to what's coming, for you've also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow, my Master God! What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. You've done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are—out of your very heart!—but you've let me in on it"
2 Samuel 7:18 (MSG)

Friday, September 12, 2008

What's Your "Fruit?

At my CBS (Community Bible Study) class we are studying the book of Genesis. This week we discussed the Fall of Man and Eve's decision to eat of the forbidden fruit. How could she make that choice in such a perfect environment? Since it was my turn to share the weekly leadership devotion I wrote the following........

At the She Speaks conference in North Carolina one of the speakers said something that really struck home. She said, "Satan's M.O. has always been to convince you that the one thing you don't have is the one thing that will make you happy."

Advertisers are making a fortune promoting this idea. If you want to be happy you just need to look younger, be thinner, wear designer labels, change your hair color, drink the right soda... Whatever the product the message is the same, "the one thing you don't have is the one thing that will make you happy."

I still remember the first time I discovered the truth of that statement. For me it was a make-over Barbie Doll head. I was about 8 years old and I remember thinking if I could just have a “Make Over Barbie Doll head” I will never want anything again as long I live.

Not long after that I desperately wanted a sewing machine. By the time I was 12 it was my own telephone and of course at 16 I was certain that if I could just have a new car I would finally be happy. Well I did get the car and yet I still wanted more:

A boyfriend, a job, new clothes, a husband, a baby, a house, a bigger house, another baby....There was a time I actually thought “If I could just drive a minivan I will finally be the mom I long to be!

Of course when that didn’t work I had more babies and that led to the need for an SUV and a bigger house, which meant buying more “things” to fill it up. It was a never ending chase of an elusive goal.

It is a strange place to be when you discover you have everything you thought you wanted and yet you aren’t happy. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with having babies or buying homes but they can never fill a “God Shaped Hole”.

Now I may be a little slow but I did finally figure out that what I was lacking was divine direction and purpose for my life. Instead of seeking God’s truth I was listening to Satan’s lies about what I needed to be happy. Only when I took my eyes off of my own desires was I able to focus on Him and His plans for me.

And what does that include?

Well, Jeremiah 29:11 promises “He knows the plans He has for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.”

I don’t know the specifics of what God has in store for my future but I do know that he has promised if I “Delight myself in Him he will give me the desires of my heart.” And His word tells me “his precepts are right and give joy to my heart.”

So what about you?

What is the one thing you think you need in order to be happy?

Money, Independence, a new or improved relationship, a different job or life situation?

Whatever it is, I challenge you to give those desires to God and as you pray about them remember Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WFW ~~Football Fever!

* Thank you, thank you for your prayers and encouragement regarding my Dad, all of the kind comments have comforted me greatly !

Today I am participating in Word Filled Wednesday. I took this picture at a rainy football game last weekend. One lesson I have learned from my girls is: Cheerleaders Never Lose!!!

Actually football fever has officially taken over at our house.

Even Pablo, who insisted he was NEVER playing sports, is having second thoughts about trying football.

Personally I was never much of a football fan until I met and married my husband. Of course being the obsessive/compulsive personality I am, once I discovered the sport I became a fanatic.....

I've already admitted to being a former Fantasy Football addict. I had a successful "team" but after 3 years I couldn't take the pressure anymore. Not only was I losing sleep over games but when I did finally fall asleep I had nightmares about large men in helmets!

It wasn't easy but I finally hung up my pencil and stat-book forever. (However I still get that little thrill when I hear the "game update jingle" on the radio)! I know, I'm a sick woman!!

Just as I was in the middle of my "Fantasy Era" I discovered the fun of the NFL!

In July of 1993, one of my girlfriends and I slept in flooding rains (an inch an hour for 8 hours straight) in order to be one of the first in line for Kansas City Chiefs tickets.

Later that year, when tickets to the playoff game went on sale New Year's Morning, I sent my husband to "camp out" for tickets in the freezing temperatures (serves him right after his Fantasy team beat mine!! hahaha).

My husband and I both slept in line to get game tickets the following season, although that required hiding in the woods and making a mad dash for the line when they opened the stadium gates.

Fortunately, the year after that season tickets became available and we snatched up 2 of them.

But by 1998 we had another baby at home and I found that I was spending more time pumping milk in the stadium bathroom than in my seat watching the game so we finally decided to invest our money in a new TV instead of the NFL.

Today I am happy to report that we are no longer held in bondage by Fantasy or NFL football. We can take it or leave it which frees us up to concentrate on the REALLY important things in life!

College Football!

Life is more fun when you are a fan!
Who are you rooting for this year???

Be sure to check out the 160 Acre Wood for more WFW posts!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Demolition Day!

QUIN: "Who in the world would name me Quin."

ME: "Daddy and I picked that name for you."

QUIN: "Why couldn't you have just named me Pablo?"

Oh my goodness does this boy make me laugh? I have no idea where the "Pablo" comment came from but I think it is going to stick as a new nickname.

Actually his humor couldn't have come at a better time as I received word yesterday that my Dad is not doing well. Six months ago, after being hospitalized and on life support, he entered a Detox program for his alcohol and nicotine addictions. He did well for a short time but unfortunately he is smoking and drinking heavily again.

Sadly, I am not surprised but my heart does ache at the thought of what he is doing to himself. I take comfort in the fact that he does know the Lord and I believe his salvation is assured but if he continues to indulge his addictions it is only a matter of time before they end his life. Meanwhile he is miserable and he is making everyone around him miserable too.

Since he is in Maine and I am in Kansas there isn't much I can do for him physically. I can however pray and offer words of encouragement to him and those around him.

Although he left home when I was 7 and was never really a presence in my life I do love my Dad and after years of feeling angry and abandoned I have made peace with him and accepted the fact that he loves me as much as he can. I also believe that one day I will see the "Father" that God created for me before the sins and addictions made him into the man I know.

Satan may have a hold on him now but he belongs to the Lord and nothing can separate him from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:38-39)

Beth Moore says that by giving us "His Word" and "Prayer" God has handed us two sticks of dynamite with which to demolish strongholds. So today Pablo and I are forming our own demolition crew on behalf of Grandpa Tom! We would love for you to join us if you feel so inclined.......

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Time For a Change......

You know what's great about redecorating my blog as opposed to my house?
~~First of all it's cheaper but secondly my family can't mess it up!!~~

I have been on an organizing kick ever since the kids went back to school and today I thought I would share a couple of my latest projects.

The Laundry Room.....

One of my favorite organizing tools is the "over the door pocket shoe holder". I have one of these on the back of almost every closet door. Recently I purchased one for the laundry room so all of the cleaning supplies could live together in one place instead of being scattered throughout the closet and cabinets.

My Jewelry......

As I was looking for a way to store my necklaces and bracelets I came up with a cheap and easy alternative to those expensive jewelry armoires. Hand towel racks are perfect for keeping chains from tangling and they are small enough to keep on a closet shelf or pretty enough to set out on the dresser for display! I have also found that tie racks are great for hanging my thinner chains on.

The Deck....

I got this idea from a magazine. I bought a large cabinet for $10. at a garage sale and it is perfect to store all of my outdoor essentials; grilling tools and spices, candles, tablecloths, garden tools, dog toys..... I may end up painting the cabinet and changing the door handles but for now it works great!!

So there you have my top 3 organizing tips of the week.
Actually this may be the most I get done all year. I want to be organized but find that it just doesn't happen for me very often. I think my desire comes from my mother, she is the most organized person I know (its been said she even folds her dirty laundry before she washes it!). It isn't easy living in her shadow, especially with 3.5 times as many children as she had, but her example does keep me pressing on. If nothing else she made me into an organizing wannabe. Thanks Mom!

One Less Teenager in our Family....

When my first daughter was born she looked exactly like I would have expected; small, pink, delicate and bald.
In fact, at 7 lbs. 9 oz. she was on the bigger side of the babies born in my family.

So 19 months later when I delivered daughter #2 I was more than a little surprised by her appearance.

At 9 lbs. 9 oz. there was nothing small or delicate about her and she was far from bald!

My plan had been to name her "Lacey" but after seeing her the name didn't quite seem to fit. So my husband and I quickly came up with an alternative.....JESSICA.

We had intended to stick with her full name or call her Jess but by the time she could talk she called herself Jessie. And by the time she could spell she dropped the "e" to just Jessi. Now if we call her Jessica it is only because she is in trouble.

Looking back, choosing her own name was the perfect way to start her life. She is not one to fit a mold, she does things her way and most of the time is wildly successful! Sports, music, school, work, art, dance, church.....whatever she does she is dedicated, works hard and usually excells at it. I learned a long time ago that when she gets an idea in her head there is no talking her out of it.

As for the hair, she still has more than the rest of us combined.....

Have a Happy Birthday Jessi, I love you and I am very proud of you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Holiday Weekend Recap.....

Lessons I learned while being a single parent this weekend.......

1) Teenagers will get over not being able to attend the concert they want to go to if you allow them to attend the high school soccer game, have some friends come over to"hang out" for awhile, buy her two new pairs of shoes, some "Bath & Body Works" bubblebath, take her out for Mexican food and a chocolate covered apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Oh, and let her color part of her hair purple.

2) When walking the dog be sure you plant your foot directly onto the pavement and do not allow it to slide off the sidewalk resulting in a badly sprained ankle. If you do find yourself lying on the neighbor's lawn with a sprained ankle try not to scare your 6 year old by crying out in pain.

3) Never bring a "Buzz Lightyear" doll into a restaurant when dining out with a teenage girl. It is totally embarrassing!

4) My 6 yr. old gives great ankle massages!

5) It seems that my 11 yr. old daughter is the only girl on her soccer team (and perhaps in the whole soccer club) that doesn't have her own cell phone. This resulted in her commandeering her Dad's cell phone all weekend and sending some crazy messages home to mom.

6) Stairs are not good for sprained ankles!

7) According to my 6 yr. old, his sister is a Drama Queen; and according to my daughter, her brother is annoying. It never fails that the ones who are most alike have the most trouble getting along with each other? If you ask me they are both Drama Royalty and both have their moments of being annoying! I have no idea where they get that!

8) Never expect to arrive anywhere on time when dealing with a teenage girl. And on top of making you late she will make it seem like it is your fault!

9) There is something so relaxing about good music. I rediscovered my Martina McBride "Timeless" CD and played it all weekend! Life slows down when Martina sings!

9) Remember, no matter what Buzz Lightyear says, this is not "an intergalactic emergency!"

10) As soon as the swelling goes down in my ankle I am having a garage sale. There is way too much junk in my house!

Last but not least I learned that absence really does make the heart grow fonder. As much as I enjoyed some down time I also missed the rest of my brood.

I think they missed me too....
My girls haven't stopped telling me all about their time away. They can't decide which is worse, the fact the team lost 3 out of 4 games or that Dad's snoring made it impossible to sleep at night. Even my grown up 17 yr. old son gave me a big bear hug when they returned. And best of all I got some much needed sympathy over my ankle!

As the holiday draws to a close I have to say I couldn't have asked for a better Labor Day Weekend!