Tuesday, January 30

you become what you do ...

on the health tip: this is probably by no means original, but as a means of self encouragement
  • get up and get dressed, look nice. If you feel frumpy, don't dress that way. Pick yourself up and take care to your appearance and try and behave in like manner. You become what you do! There's no shame in having a pajama day and such, but in general make an effort on yourself. You'll see a different person in the mirror and can change from the person you felt to the person you see and you'll present that different person to the world. They will treat you accordingly. By the way - a good reason not to go the vampish route ;-) just a thought... God sees us as what we are becoming in Him; we should too! While we may not see it now, by the grace of God, we will.

2 things to live by ....

  • Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
    When dealing with difficult interactions or worldly people pray this! Cast aside any arrogance and possible disdain for insight and wisdom.

  • And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
    Don't leave home without Him! Don't do anything without instruction; this does not mean do nothing. Do what you know to do. To borrow from the movie, Sleepless in Seattle, "Well, I'm gonna get out of bed every morning... breath in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won't have to remind myself to get out of bed every morning and breath in and out...". Then when God takes you beyond that do not tarry; go!
Exodus 33:13-15 revisited.

Brown picked up!

okay - we're making progress!

Brown do for me???

William! William! William! That's the name of our Team Brown guy UPS said was assigned to deliver the Weider.

Okay, my dear friend was blessed for her patience with an answered prayer; so I am not about to blow mine (patience or blessing) now. But check this out -
  • Thursday UPS tracking reported our package was out for delivery. The giant stayed home and waited. In response to the husband's call, the center stated it wasn't on the truck; they'd have it put on that night and it would be delivered the next day.
  • Friday, UPS tracking reported our package was out; would definitely be delivered. The giant stayed home and waited - didn't happen; possibly, they stated, wasn't even on the truck.
  • package dropped at front door with no indication of delivery although the giant was there, package box marked fragile is damaged, parts falling out of it. William!?!!! Okay, *sigh*!.
So now UPS (you think it will happen today as stated?) is picking up the package - they wanted us to repackage it - responded "this is what you delivered; this is what you pick up". Costco, who we purchased it through (and for an excellent price), has already arranged for it to be replaced.

So, we wait; but I'm still excited! Meanwhile, I'm watching what I eat and, by the way, that weight gain spurt I mentioned is going down. God is good!

an honest look at yourself ...

have you visited the site everydayhealth? It is quite informative. I read some of their newsletters. I actually ended up there today from looking at their comprehensive section on cholesterol.

On their site is a health check that can provide you very valuable information about the state of your health. It, of course, confirmed my need to lose weight among other things (provided my BMI and assessed it), but it also offers ways to improve the individual results and the entire situation.

do you consider yourself an honest person? I consider myself an honest person; will tell you that without hesitation! But to answer the questions on the test, one has to be honest. However, the reality is I don't want to be honest with myself; that I am frequently not honest with myself. So then, what is this myself, telling others - you see one has to support the answers one tells oneself when speaking with others. Please, let me not continue to digress!

Let me just say it is useless to take the test if you are not honest. Probably one of the best things you can do for your health is be honest. Change starts with truth. I, in an attempt to be truly honest, looked at the worst case scenario and, if I was anywhere close to that answer, I selected it. (At least, in the resulting analysis I would have the worst case scenario - can't be any worse; right?). So, I took the test. It is pretty thorough to the extent such a test can be and far more than my expectations - it deals with eating, exercise, body pollutants, hereditary issues, mental health, and more.

If you have any kind of goal to take better care of yourself, this is a good place to start. Then, after a period of time (no, not the next day, okay?), retake the test. I personally hope to reward myself with good news.

Here's to your health!

Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Proverbs 3:7, 8

Monday, January 29

another "Night with the King'

One of the DVD releases tomorrow is One Night with the King. I encouraged everyone to go see it upon its November theater release and it was not disappointing. It was also shown on TBN this New Year's Eve past. It was historical, romantic, uplifting, endearing, and dramatic with wonderful cinematography and costume. You'd think I was talking about an oscar nomination. But truly this was a heartwarming and enjoyable family film (a few scenes are realistically very graphic). It stars an international cast the likes of:

The historic hand of God told in this epic is celebrated to this day in the Biblical Feast of Purim. I highly recommend you feast upon the story unfolded (so touchingly told you ladies you may need kleenex as did I) and enter the world of Esther through One Night with the King. It's a keeper.

Sunday, January 28

Weider to lose or not to lose; that is the question ...

ok, the Weider is not here. The Team Brown promised it Thursday; but no. And then Friday; but no. Still its okay. It would have been a great time to have it put together; but, as it ended up, I was not up to starting the program. So, God willing, it will arrive tomorrow. And as I mentioned, the garage is clean. Salvation Army is picking up on Wednesday, and the rest not thrown away as sheer junk is going to the Agape House or to some friends that make trips to Mexico to help children there. It is a good thing we are doing.

But today, right now, I'm putting myself out there. This morning my weight was 203.6. Yes, there's no typo there, sadly. I'm pretty tired of looking at myself. No, I'm not here to whine. I'm here to do something about it and, win or lose, I'm going to be honest. I have made a goal to lose 20 pounds. When I made the goal (last week) my starting weight was 193.9. So ... obviously I'm not heading in the right direction currently and my goal has increased. However, one of the factors is let's say a cyclical hormonal thing, so I truly expect it to cycle down next week; we'll see.

Anyways, I've secured the Ace to be my accountability buddy; we'll do that mutually. She's honest and encouraging and works in the health industry. Sometimes people compete - make bets and such - and while that can be highly motivating, I think this way is less stressful. It's similar to independent study rather than a 'race'. As such, I don't currently have a deadline, only a determination to meet the goal. I tried to make that goal reasonably attainable so as to not have it be self-defeating. Obviously, I need to lose more than 20 pounds; but I'm making this a step project. God deals with us that way - from glory to glory to glory. The idea is to work out and lose weight and incorporate better eating habits as I go along. I've mentioned that this is my most favored means of exercise, although I didn't mention that I love swimming which is an excellent non-stress form of recreation. Still, currently I don't have the means to take advantage of that form. Sooo ... its Weider time!

The Google page offers add-ons from which I chose The Google 15, a means in which I can track my weight. Currently it is telling me Danger! You're heading away from your goal! Although the plan is to weigh in every day for the most part, I will post an average which the program provides. It helps you visualize and keep track of your progress - it has a chart even. I made the initial measurement 1/17. The average one week ago was 194.3. Let me just say that a daily weigh-in can be counter productive and I'm not concentrating on those numbers, but rather the average. But the better gauge I will be paying attention to is inches - that will be the most telling. Weight gain (not in this case) can be due to fat decrease / muscle build among other things. Muscles weigh more than fat. However, if true body improvement is taking place the inches will tell the story and gradually the weight will correspond.

The plan is to workout on the home gym and the exercise bike and improve my eating habits. Not only should I lose weight, but I should improve my blood pressure and cholesterol, my overall physical health and stamina, and possibly abate any hereditary diabetes. So begins my weight loss journey. I solicit your support and prayers along the way.

'What can Brown do for me'? Deliver! ;-)

Saturday, January 27

An odd mix ...

Do you mix up people - a set of two people you always confuse? I've done it at work but for example I'll use move stars with whom I do it a lot.

Take Meg Ryan and Melanie Griffith - why those two? Still I've seen some comments on the internet about similarities between the two.

How about Bill Pullman and Jeff Daniels? This article on Bill Pullman's face addresses the similarities and also made me realize it was Bills I was confusing, him and Bill Paxton; yeah he's the one I meant - its worst than I thought.

Their names even have similarities! Is this some sort of visual dyslexia? Strange huh? Well, truth be told, I have that dyslexia common among mother's of several children as well - when you call one by another's name in which cases no immediate pattern of similarity comes to mind. When there are eight kids one can be quite creative with this tendency.

Oh well, nobody's perfect. Just thought I'd share.

Friday, January 26

workout body and soul!

Today's the day it should arrive! I'm excited! The giant cleaned out the garage and that alone is reason to be excited - a clean garage! Pray he does well on his interview today!

The entire content of 1/2 our garage was in the driveway when I got home last night - what a sight! But now there is room for it (and the driveway is again useable).

This puppy will be at our avail. It has 60 some possible exercises - including a rower. Have I mentioned that before? Yeah a rower - I'm jazzed! Gonna get the boom box and jam to some gospel praise and work the body and soul - shabach! Kewl, huh?

The husband and I can take turns with the exercise bike and then follow up with a soothing soak in the spa for those aching muscles, and relax. Hmmm... closing out with some worship music? Look out world - less of me will be more! Did I say I'm excited!

Wednesday, January 24

HOW you say it!

Over the weekend I quickly went into the market to use the ATM to make a withdrawal. On my way out a bagger flagged me down to tell me I took the cashier's pen. I assured her I had only been to the ATM and therefore couldn't have taken anyone's pen, having no need to use one and there being no pen there. Okay, I am not that thin skinned, so I just shook off her statement as I got in my car subsequent to her 'O' and no apology for the accusation. In my mind, I thought of the customer-correct ways she could have presented her comment. Maybe - miss, by any chance do you still have the cashier's pen?. But no.

Without always reacting to it, I do happen to be somewhat sensitive to the way things are said to me. Growing up around the ever-hovering presence of anger and verbal abuse, okay so maybe I can be highly (I like that better than 'over') reactive. I definitely take notice of it, and if it is said too indifferently, too harsh, too critically or otherwise negatively, I have difficulty with it. And that is why I like this article.
the way we emphasize and use our tone of voice means a whole lot in the customer service arena. Think of all the ‘tones’ and deliveries we can use. A few that come to mind are...
1. Bored
2. Happy
3. Sad
4. Angry
5. Terrified
6. Worried
7. Unconcerned
8. Hurt
9. Inconsiderate
10. Shocked
You can take your own sentence and use any one of the emotions listed above. And certainly you can find other emotions to use, too.
Obviously, there are various tones we don’t want to use in certain situations
So often the words being conveyed would be so much better received had they been said differently. Generally people are not tone (of voice) deaf. I still like my mother's oft-used adage: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. It at least encourages 'thinking' before 'speaking'. Along with the antonyms, words can burn, chafe, chill, cut, rupture, stick, etc.; if words could kill ...

Tuesday, January 23

Step Out!

Ex 33:7-16

And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.

Where do you meet God? Do you have your own closet in that you separate yourself? Or is it right there in the middle of all that is going on? the middle of your distress? the midst of your day? Moses went outside of his present circumstances to meet God. Some verses refer to the tabernacle as tent, the place where Moses was dwelling. Where is your house - in the midst of all the goings on like Lot? Moses moved the tent where he resided outside the camp. Do we remove ourselves from the camp? Sometimes we can't get past our day and God is willing to lead us to where we can meet Him. But we should desire to be away from our daily mental pollution and seek out the fresh breath of His life in us.

And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.
When we separate ourselves from the stuff that is going on in the world, people notice. They may check us out - watch. They may resent our move or look on with anticipation to see how we fare.

And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.
Imagine as they watch, the Lord shows His favor upon us, His recognition that we separated ourselves. What an encouraging witness! What a relationship! How are we seeking to hear from God? Do we know that our spiritual leaders are constantly before God?

And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.
Such witness enables other to see how God is, and our witness should be for all to see - not a show, but a lifestyle.

And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
Face-to-face - does it get any better than this? Without all the garbage in our lives, we find our God a friend. We find ourselves enabled to re-enter our camp. Moses had to lead the people, Joshua had to support Moses. Some of us have to lead people. Some of us have to stay on our knees, or to learn to lead, or other various modes of service. Like Mary and Martha, we must seek out God's presence as is fit to His calling on our life and to perform what is His will for us. That someone spends more or less time than ourselves, is more intent or less than ourselves, or in the same manner as ourselves is not our concern; but that we do what the Lord requires of our own self.

And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.
Now we can freely pour out our heart to Him. We can ask for direction - even saying Lord would you show me more than at present I know? We can reveal our unanswered questions.

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
And while we may not get the full game plan, He gives us reassurance of His presence and His care.

And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.
Moses, rightfully, doesn't want to proceed without this provision.

For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.
In what is it that it is known that we have found grace in God's sight? In that it can be seen that He is with us! Being separated is necessary for this to be seen. (Not to remove ourselves from sinners as some would assume, but from sin).

Monday, January 22

Yawn ... do ya feel me?

Okay so when I was listening to 89.7 yet again last week, they were talking about (which the internet supported) that those who yawn in response to someone else yawning are more empathetic than others (yawn! :-)) - did you know that? It reminded me of a book I read by Octavia Butler, an african-american sci-fi writer. I really liked the story,
  • one because it was backdropped in California - so even though it was based in the future, I recognized the places being mentioned. Dean Koontz, horror, does that as well; its enjoyable to envision stories in familiar venues. Another feature I like in fiction is referring to other characters, places and such in subsequent stories - Stephen King, horror, and Robert Ludlum, political/spy thrillers, are among those that do that well - its like recalling old friends, familiar memories. Another thing that fascinates me about these particular guys is their use of pseudonyms in an alter-ego sort of way. But I drigress and...

  • two, because the main character was an empath. She intensely felt others people's pain. Have you felt like that - having to turn away from something because its personally painful to be aware of it, wanting to be able to end that pain so you can end yours, something that makes your joints down to your knuckles ache and your stomach sick. I have and do. If you look it up you'll get every notion from supernatural and psychic abilities to super heroes and healing. There is a test to see what kind you are. If you can relate to the concept at all, you might appreciate this poem - otherwise I'm sure it would seem silly to say that the poem itself hurts.
The book is a great story about survival as I recall; it's been quite some time since I read it. You might like it too. Ohhhh...what was the name of it? Parable of the Sower - it was the title that originally caught my eye. I see she did another parable, Parable of the Talents - the sequel. I'm intrigued; I'm going to check it out. And I just saw that Octavia died last year, what a sad loss to literature and I feel it!

Saturday, January 20

What does your devil wear?

One sign of a good movie is that it makes you think. Another is great banter; I love banter - but that's a topic for another post.

I watched The Devil Wears Prada this evening. Meryl Streep ("nominated for 13 Academy Awards -- more than any other actress in history") is excellent as is usual - she's already pulled a golden globe and is a likely candidate for another oscar. The number one guy (played by Stanley Tucci), one Meryl's character actually called friend was excellent as well. I thought about what determines what we do in life, what we do to get ahead, how far will we go? In that thinking, I also thought of a more dramatic movie, The Devil's Advocate (Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino).

In Prada. I'm pretty much similar to Andy, fortunately I can claim the smart but also the fashion density. I wouldn't recognize Prada (one of the reasons the husband loves me :-)), even initally misspelled it, if it slapped me in the face. But what makes an Andy an Andrea. Should Andy's become Andrea's. It is not formulamatic in that you can apply the same solution to every person. But there are some key considerations that are across the board applicable. One also nees to recognize the theory of The Devil's Advocate - if at first he doesn't succeed, he try, try, tries again another way. Then one also needs to recognize that what one's devil wears is not always recognizable. Surely, an aspiring journalist would not suspect her devil to be sportin' Prada; maybe a Pulitzer Prize.

But, even still - is your devil the Devil or your own fleshly weakness? Flip Wilson's the Devil made me do it is very often not even applicable. We just need to do what is right rather than what we want to do. We need to stop convincing ourselves that what we want is right just because we want it. We need to ask, listen, and obey His will for us. By the way did you know that "WYSIWYG" is from Flip too - what you see is what you get!

At any rate, Prada is good. Watch and evaluate what you yourself would do - at the expense of your loved ones, your friend, your goals, God's will for your life.

Romans 12:1,2

Friday, January 19

The week wrap up

Highlights (or the high life :-) - as opposed to low life); hmmm.... I'm reminded of Madea's Family Reunion when the character Carlos (Blair Underwood) references "the highs and lows of me".

  • The husband and I decided last night to go to Tony Roma's. It's a favorite of ours - we've become Roma Rib Experts - their birthday club. For starters, we had a half of their signature Onion Loaf 'giant hand-cut Spanish onions, breaded, deep fried and served with house BBQ dipping sauce. For the main course he had their Beef Ribsters while I had the St. Louis Ribs - mine were accompanied by Loaded Mashed Potatoes while his were surrounded by Ranch Style Beans and French Fries. It wasn't very veggie; but yumm! We accummulated two more doggy containers - a total of 7 now (remember Red Robin's and Denny's?). It's really nice to get off on our own sometime - but I guess we'll need to eat these delicious leftovers some time. But there's another Black Angus trip next week!

  • Okay now that might be working against our newest endeavor - to exercise at home. We want to get a Weider Max Resistance System Gym - this puppy even has rowing; its on order and arriving in a few weeks. If there's another word for stoked, that'd be me. This is a project we'll both enjoy. I've never been much to stick to clubs, or diet programs, or aerobic stuff - but I've always enjoyed strength training and with its rower, its gotta be a great workout.

  • The other thing that we have been doing is on the edge-of-our-seats watching the television series 24, a not so highly aerobic activity unless you count heart racing. We've become addicts, owning a dvd set for every season. We watched last season just in time to be ready for the season opener - two nights/two hours - but we were able to record it on our DVR and watch it at our convenience. And now we wait with baited breath... what of Jack Bauer now? - the man's even has a full blown history.

Another year for the husband

Wednesday was the husband's birthday. In celebration both of us had taken the day off (I like these kinds of celebrations) and both of us were taken out to Denny's for eats by a ministry mentor/friend (I really like these kinds of celebrations) who wanted to celebrate the ocassion and get to know us better.

This person is so genuinely genial and wise, it is always a pleasure to be in his presence. As he talked with us, inquiring as to how we met, how we are doing with each other, and who we are, it was so 'safe' (a word he liked) talking with him. Within the conversation, he suggested the husband be 'my pastor' and all that entails which he left undefined - isn't that an interesting concept. Too, he suggested we focus on what things we could do to make things better for the other (not what we think we would like to do, but what we are capable within ourselves that would be effective). He also helped us with a difficult conversation we needed to have with one of the kids. As a result that later conversation went far better than originally expected; I was really dreading having it. The husband and I both enjoyed sharing the meal with him - we talked for several hours. I walked away feeling peaceful, hopeful, and more ably armed.

Several of the kids, friends, and family remembered the husband's birthday - he had a lot of phone calls from in state and out of state in which he was sung to among other things. Overall we had a relaxing day together and were the better for it.

Because he is always so hard to surprise, I planned Monday to kickoff birthday celebrations; he thought I was scheming for Wednesday. Our the Ace family friends and we went to lunch at Red Robins. We extracted him from maintenance he was doing at the church with another elder and pre-empted his Costco run. Boy, did we get stuffed - had the tower of onion rings and the chicken crisper appetizer followed by me having fish and chips and he having one of their delicious burgers. (No, I didn't eat it all - we left with 3 doggy boxes!)

Then at their house (which is like being at home) we watched the movie Idlewild with André Benjamin and Paula Patton amongst the stars and the likes of favorites Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, Patti LaBelle, Ving Rhames, and Bill Nunn too. It's a very good speakeasy period piece and it wonderfully speaks to a little bit about how God operates. I enjoyed it. We had such a good time we nearly forgot to pick up the youngest on time!

Thursday, January 18

happiness and health

Considerations regarding Marriage:
The Ten Most Important Questions to Ask Before Marriage
Don't get married without knowing your future spouse's thoughts on these issues that can kill a marriage. Compromise is usually not an option if the two of you disagree on these issues that can be deal breakers.

Five Things You Can do to Improve Your Marriage
Although there are many ways to improve your marriage, this list of five things you can do to improve your marriage is centered around major red flag issues that can tear your marriage apart.
And Considerations for the New Year:
Here are just a few tips on making 2007 happy and healthy. Learn How to Better Control Food Portions How to Relax in 2 Minutes Create a Family Disaster Plan How to Prevent/Treat Colds or the Flu Ergonomic Tips for a Healthier Workstation
Spotlighted on About.com

Wednesday, January 17

ode to Dennis

I'm going to try and do this seriously - the fishy that belonged to the daughter of my friend passed away - if you wonder why there is an effort to be serious, read the post. I just want to say a few words in ode to Dennis - an eulogy as it were. He wasn't pleasant for everyone to know as his environment lacked cleanliness and he didn't take care of it himself, and he lived a somewhat solitary life. Still fishy - Dennis - was there day in and out and he may have brought some brightness to the days of those who cared to notice him on the kitchen counter. He may not have been ready for another move - but he's moved on anyway.

I'm reminded of a dialogue in the movie Conspiracy Theory after Jerry had been told and believed Alice (who came to rescue him) to be dead:
[talking through vent]
Alice: Jerry?
Jerry: Alice is that you?
Alice: Yes Jerry.
Jerry: Oh Alice, I'm so sorry that you're dead.

I am also reminded of the value of pets when I recall a special conversation about a frog in Lethal Weapon, which also stars Mel Gibson. And in closing I'd like to put this poem out there for Dennis -

Carassius auratus - Not Just Feeder Fish!

by Lisa Englander
First published in "Wet Thumb", newsletter of The Cleveland Aquarium Society

Goldfish are just as beautiful,
As the cichlids that my friends rave.
So why do they make fun of me,
Just cuz they are my fave?
Some may just be
While others are quite rare.
To scoff at the whole lot of them,
I don't think this is fair.
They say
goldfish are just feeders-
Not like their beloved haps.
My fish are pets, have character,
Theirs just swim in laps.

Are they jealous that my breed
Have colors just as bright?
ranchus don't need heaters,
To keep them warm at night!

So maybe there aren't orandas
That come in
violet or blue.
In the coming generations,
Who knows if this stays true?
They are just as striking
orange and white, I think.
They don't need to come in colors,
purple, green or pink.

Some they have great headgrowth,
While others, they do not.
Theirs might have a little stripe,
And some just have a dot.

Some have eyes with tassels,
And some gaze to the sky.
The cichlids lay eggs too,
Big deal - they tend their fry.
Mine have laid their little eggs
And theirs, as well, have spawn.
But when the great big heater fails-
All of theirs are gone.

We use the exact same filters,
Tanks, and what-have-you.
In their house they raise the bugs,
While I just don't have to.
Mine get along just fine
With pellets, peas and zucchini,
While they are hatching brine shrimp-
I'm in my bikini!
I feed them the pellets,
The bloodworms and the flakes.
My fish are just as cared for,
Of this, make no mistake.

I don't see cichlids in varieties,
Like the
goldfish I have seen.
Like the
shubunkin and the dragonback,
And some of theirs are mean.
White bodies and a bright red cap,
How incredible is that?
How could you not love a fish,
So egg-shaped and so fat!

I adore the goldfish
Of them I'm very fond,
And I don't see my friends,
Putting Oscars in a pond!

A very ancient art,
In China they are raised.
In the club where I belong,
I am always hazed.
I don't think this is right.
How can this all be true?
If only they would get a life
And also get a clue!

Being sacred in their land
The Chinese can attest,
With tails that fan and eyes that bulge,
goldfish is the best.

So, I just want to say, bye Dennis, sorry you couldn't hang out anymore.

odd; who' da thunk?

My sista blogger commented on how weird it was that we both used the phrase "who'da thunk it " in a post on the same day. Certainly, isn't that odd? I'm not sure why, but I'm feeling a little Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure now. Where's that guitar sound? Scary!

Still I found that thunk usage is more popular than I thought.

keep the crunch...

it is highly rumored by my own design that I don't know how to cook (I can eke out a few entrées - however, I do reheat, an even with that I could always use some tips (I like to make things look like they aren't leftovers ;-)) - and I like checking out all the features of the new oven. So in the quest of perfectly reheating fried chicken regaining the crunchiness, I came across this article:
...Some fried foods never come back from being chilled. Spring rolls, with their layers of wrapper, will never regain their crisp, flaky texture. Fried chicken, however, rebounds surprisingly well.

For fried chicken, place on a foil-lined baking sheet and transfer to a 350-degree oven until the exterior becomes somewhat crisp and the interior is warmed through, about 15 minutes for a thigh, 25 minutes for a breast.

For small fried foods wrapped in pastry of some sort, such as shrimp purses or wontons, use the same approach but far less time. Aim for 5 to 7 minutes...
By Renee Schettler, The Washington Post
The article also covers rotisserie, boneless and skinless chicken; mashed potatoes; bread; vegetables -- whether they have been roasted, grilled, steamed, sauteed or stir-fried; potato varieties; roast beef; pie, and even quesadillas. Now that I've got the hook-up, I thought I'd share them with you. Who'd a thunk I'd be posting about cooking tips?!? Look out leftovers!

Tuesday, January 16

forever grateful for the power of His love

The Lord is good and His mercies are new every day - He meets you when you are hurting; that He does. He met me when I returned to my office today with this song which was playing on launch radio (yahoo) - Power Of Your Love by Darlene Zschech. I am forever grateful; which is song in and of itself.

Saturday, January 13

the poet knows it ...

I am Sacred
I neglect me.
I don’t look in the mirror or see me when I do.
I don’t know the sound of my own voice
amidst the chaos warring in my head.
I don’t acknowledge my Sacredness.
I don’t protect and nurture it.
I misplaced the fact that I am more
than a vessel used to perform and produce.

I disregard the quiet
that feeds me,
the solitude that grounds and rejuvenates me,
the joys that stimulate and fuel me.
I’ve misplaced the fact the world’s demands
will not make time for me,
nor will the world miss a rotation if I make time
…though it may gripe,
for the world does not see or value the Sacred in me.

I forget who me is.
I forget to like and adore her
(too awestruck by others, too busy immolating them),
despite what anyone else may say or see.
For they do not know her or her journey.
They don’t make or break her.
They have come and gone and will continue to.
Their liking and approval does not add to or diminish her.
I’ve misplaced the fact that I am Sacred.

Bind it to my forehead,
engrave it on my heart…
I am Sacred.

Wednesday, January 10

lasting firsts

The other thing that caught my ear this morning on the radio station was a call-in discussion about is there love at first sight? The callers I heard (I was only able to listen briefly) seem to generally feel 'no', that true love comes with time and struggles of going through life together.

Me, rather than false, my answer would be true! If you could have seen the husband's face when he opened the door the day he met me - you would to. You see, the thing is love is not some still thing that one can describe as this is love. Love is alive and vibrant, its given birth and it grows; it can even die. So that initial sighting has one shape and form, but the love that has lasted years and years looks altogether different, fully matured into near immortality. Years from now, I don't want the husband to love me like he did that day 7.5 years ago - far from it, nor today; but I do expect to see that look in his eyes. And I pray for him the love that continually grows in me for him will be as precious a sight to see.

I bet in those lasting loves knit by time and perseverance, often a moment of recognition can be recalled of first seeing their Love - thus, first sight is not always day one. A movie that comes to mind that illustrates my point is Robert Downey Jr. and Marisa Tomei in Only You - if you've seen or see it, you will understand.

That's how I see it, or maybe love is blind.

sun downer

Don't let the sun set upon your wrath.

Well my question at times is - where to put it? I could sweep it under the rug or proverbial mattress. Would I be able to sleep then? More than likely it would resemble the Princess and the Pea - and be disturbing as long as it was there - so ultimately no solution.

I was listening to a radio station this morning (KSGN 89.7) and the program airing suggested to place the wrath in forgiveness. Hardly seems fair does it? I need to have it, savor it, feel justified with it.

But think - at least my thinking became:
  • In this way you can give the problem an identification - what is the problem. This situation went down, and this happened, and this is how I feel about it.
  • You can give it ownership, even shared - they did this; I did that; and this was beyond anyone's control.
  • Now you can determine what you are going to do with your part. I will work on my behavior when these circumstances occur.
  • You can share your difficulty with the other person as to these circumstances. Now (personally, I wouldn't because I haven't overcome my nature to be the introvert and just stuff everything inside); don't be like me.
  • At this point you can decide to forgive, one - yourself, two - any others. Therein lies the freedom to let the sun set.
Sure - we can't change others, but we can go on with our life even if we have to be around them. Admittedly this is simplistic, but essentially the process. With the circumstances placed in forgiveness, we can approach what lies ahead with a more beneficial attitude which will enable me to pray for the situation and all involved with a right spirit and mind.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. From PSALM 51

It was through the Lord's forgiveness that I am continuously renewed. I am going to practice that forgiveness. Surely mine will be so meager by comparison; but it's funny how its me who benefits most in the end.

Go ahead sun, make your appointed rounds; I'm ready for you today.

Monday, January 8

as far as we go

If you haven't seen Conspiracy Theory; it should be on your list of movies to see. The cast headliners are Mel Gibson, and Julia Roberts whose films are nearly all favorites of mine. Mel, with an extensive portfolio, shows a knack for playing crazies - i.e., the Lethal Weapons (here's a tribute to the collection), Hamlet. I have Conspiracy on video only and it doesn't air very often, but it was on tonight. It is always enjoyable viewing.

A line in the movie stood out to me, strangely enough - "This is as far as we go, Alice" (someone no longer wants to help Julia look for Mel's character). Why this line? Well, as I have mentioned, being a frequent viewer of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, I realized it was said almost exactly in the same way - "This is as far as we go, Babe" when Jane Smith's associate lets her know she can no longer work with her. Something about the way it is said makes the line catchy and memorable, or maybe I'm just plan crazy too.

This, then, is as far as we can go with this post ;-)

samplings of a poet

betcha didn't know it; the eldest is a poet...

Others will love you
But no one will know you and understand you as I do
For I designed you specifically
So that to me you were perfection

Others will love you
But I will never leave you
I will never withdraw my heart from you
I will never stop pursuing you

Others will love you
But I will protect and defend you, and avenge those who hurt you
I will comfort and guide you through rough and dark places
I will work even in the bad things to bring about good for you

Others will love you
But I have been with you every time you’ve fallen
For every heartbreak and disappointment
I have taken notice of every tear

Others will love you
But I plan to heal you, to make you whole and radiant
To deposit love where you have only known hurt
Joy where you have your deepest sorrow and hope where you’ve given up

Others will love you
But I will never stop forgiving you
Washing you clean, building character in you
And believing in the best in you

Others will love you
But I will bleed for you, and embrace pain and humiliation for you
I will lower myself to nothing to lift you up
I will rearrange time and space that you might seek me

Others will love you
But I will stand in your place
I will volunteer to be beaten, stripped, slapped, laughed at, accused and hung from a tree
Because I would rather die than lose you

Others will love you
But I went to war against Satan to win your heart free
And rose from the dead to give you the power to choose
That maybe you might choose to give your heart back to me.

She credits the following as inspiration from a passage from the book Captivating
A Royal Invitation
You stand in the grand ballroom of life
The King enters, stops and looks straight at you
As though no one else were there
But they are there, staring with all their judgments
Your past failures and their expectations

The King walks across the room, His gaze fixed on you
Because He is captivated by you
He extends His hand, bows, and says,
“May I have this dance everyday of your life?”

You may think, “Why me, I’m not any good at dancing,
I may mess it all up and there are so many
Other things I must do to ensure this ball goes well.

The King answers your heart, “Trust me. I am the King.
I have chosen you. You have captured my heart.
I will lead, if only you will dance with me.”
He cares nothing of the opinion of others.
He waits for your response.
by Mishelle Rodriguez

Saturday, January 6

el Viento de Ya Vienen Los Reyes Magos

as the celebrations come to a close, some do it in style. A friend at church was sharing how Christmas is celebrated where she grew up in Mexico. The culmination was El dia de los Reyes - the Three Kings (Wise Men); it ends as we should in the search for Christ. I realized that the people celebrating this festivity were not expecting a Santa Claus; but truly focused on the reason for the season. I applaud that.

The 6th also coincides with the end of the 12 days of Christmas. It is usually by now that all the holiday decorations will be taken down and stored for the year. The stores began putting their Valentine ware out right away and so the world moves on.

The winds have roared through the Inland Empire of late, interspersed with sporadic days of rain. The air is clean and fresh while big rigs have pushed headlong to make their appointed rounds. The broom of God has been in hand in a winter warmer than usual for some and for others buried in snow.

A page has turned; it is a new year. But while the face of things has a new and expectant look, some things are constant. The truth of God is constant in a world that moves on. The Bible teaches that unless the cloud or the fire (the leading of God) says move, one should not. But upon such leading, one should not hesitate.

So while the world boxes up their Christmas and moves on to the next craze, keep the love for Christ in your heart in abundance and make use of the refreshing of breath and water to take Him in deeply, being replenished to move in the direction He has chosen for you.

Like the wise men, find Him, know Him, give of yourself to Him, and redirect yourself as He has now revealed Himself to you.


Thursday, January 4

speaking of 'hello'

did you just get up this morning and go about the day's busyness? or did you say 'hello'? I get up awfully early in the morning to commute in a vanpool to the office; soon it will be even earlier as my hours change to '9/80'. I have a tendency to jump out of the bed, decide what to wear, get ready, go, hoping I at least kiss the husband as I race out the door wondering if I have everything like cellphone, pda, notebook, wallet, keys, badge, and the youngest who needs to be dropped at the sitters to be later taken to school. Did I take my medicine? Was I supposed to sign a note for the teacher? Is there something else I'm forgetting? Sometimes I'm successful; sometimes, not. But, did I say hello? I wonder if God relates to You had me at hello!

The Psalms speak to us of it: 5:2-3; 55:16-17; 88:13 and the Lord, Hisself, practiced it Mark 1:35. Daniel took time several times a day to chat with the Lord. Do you ignore your loved ones, not speaking a word to them because of your busyness or recognize this detracts from any relationship? Isn't it funny how we do God? There's a song ... (the husband helped me remember the name)
Heart of Worship

Matt Redman

When the music fades and all is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring something that's of worth
That will bless Your heart

I'll bring You more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You're looking into my heart

I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You
All about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the things I've made it
When it's all about You
All about You, Jesus

King of endless worth, no one could express
How much You deserve
Though I'm weak and poor, all I have is Yours
Every single breath

I usually get in the car, and after the youngest is deposited, I slow my mind and come before God. Christian music plays and I call out to Him. Maybe I'll cry; Maybe I'll smile - but I talk with Him awhile. Sometimes I forget which makes me sad. On good days, even once in the van I stay with Him, eyes closed, as it makes it way through morning traffic. What would a day be without Jesus?

Hello? ... I'm sorry, Lord, for the things I've made it

Monday, January 1

"...as the Romans, do"

When in Rome, do... (when in a strange or different situation) it's best to behave (even if badly) like those around you - a great example of why these expressions endure for thousands of years: they are extremely efficient descriptions; they cram so much meaning into so few words. This expression originates from the Bible, when St Ambrose answers a question from St Augustine about what day he should fast, as different customs prevail in different cities. St Ambrose replies 'When I am in Milan, I do as they do in Milan; but when I go to Rome, I do as Rome does'. www.businessballs.com/clichesorigins.htm

Now here is the dilemma - should we? I myself have touted this phrase and it sounds perfectly reasonable in light of respectfulness and consideration. But upon closer examination, one needs to be careful as to how this is applied. It was such living that led to Lot's lot in life. The Jews were caught in this very same quandry when Jesus responded to them “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” Matthew 22:21. The reality is that we are in Rome, but not citizens; sojourners abroad, but homeward bound. That leaves us with a responsibility to obey the laws of the land, but to hold God as our supreme authority. So one would have to apply when in Rome accordingly. There are scriptures that are crucially applicable to making decisions such as Colossians 2:15-17; 1 Corinthians 8:1-11 among many. When in Rome, we need to live just as we would would at home as did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the Book of Daniel (chapter 3). We are here as witnesses and ambassadors. Ultimately the only question we need answer is "What would Jesus do?" and you'll have your answer.

So when in Rome, remember: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”.

"when in Rome, do..."

These quotes are cited about being amongst others:
“I do not want my house to be walled on all sides or my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But, I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.” --Mohandas K. Gandhi
“All real living is meeting.” --Martin Buber
“Je’ est un autre.”: “The ‘I’ is an other.” --Rimbaud
“Abandon all hope you who enter.” --Dante Alighieri, Inferno, III, 9
“Some travelers want to go to foreign places but are dismayed when the places turn out actually to be foreign.” --Margaret Atwood
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” --T.S. Eliot
“A society without strangers would be impoverished; to live only among ourselves, constantly inbreeding, never facing an outsider to make us question again and again our certainties and rules, would inevitably lead to atrophy. The experience of encountering a stranger--like the experience of suffering--is important and creative; provided we know when to step back.” --Elie Wiesel
“…but you have no need to go anywhere--journey within yourself.” --Rumi, 13th century Sufi poet
“No journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it gives us equal distance into the world within.” --Lillian Smith
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness.” --Mark Twain

One of the most valuable experiences in my life was as an American Field Service summer exchange student to Denmark with 40 some other students from all over the United States. Because we lived in homes across the country and were together in the beginning for orientation, in the middle, and at the end, my insight was opened to things foreign to me about people of my own country as well as things of those from another country.

It sealed a change in focus on to people, as I discovered the importance of walking in the shoes of another. It created a paradigm shift in thinking and a comprehension that my perceptions of anything were based on my narrow world; others might have different views based on entirely different world realities. My mind was not only opened to a larger understanding of styles of government like socialism and democracy, but even to things I thought until then more singular to the United States like race and prejudice as I observed xenophobia towards Turkish people living there. I've learned not to be a visitor in the connotation of the ugly american, but a guest more akin to the heroic character of the original source of the phrase - "... who lives with the local people, comes to understand their needs, and gives genuinely-useful assistance...", here and abroad.

The key is to gain as much understanding as possible about any given situation so as to be able to narrow down to the key factors to be considered in order to make the best possible decisions in regards to it. A narrow view diminishes the possibility for accuracy.



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'the highs and lows of' my Weight Loss Journey