Monday, December 31, 2012

A beautiful person . . .

As promised, I've certainly not posted every day. Today, I am inspired to post and here is the quote I'll refer to:
“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.” - Markus Zusak
Today, the world lost a beautiful person. My uncle, David Moore, passed away quietly after a long, difficult struggle with cancer. The cancer resided in his throat, which silenced this man, who had been a gifted preacher throughout his life. My Uncle Dave, as we called him, was always a quiet inspiration. Soft spoken, except occasionally when addressing his children, Uncle Dave had a subtle way of getting his message across.

If I were to list individuals who have been most instrumental in my spiritual formation, Uncle Dave would be on that list. I can remember spending time in his home during the summers, with my sisters and cousins. On Saturday evenings, we were to be quiet - this was when Uncle Dave would be doing final preparations for his sermon the next day. One evening, we had a particularly difficult time keeping quiet and when Uncle Dave raised his voice, one of my cousins, his daughter, responded "well, Dad, if you wouldn't wait until the last minute to write your sermons . . .", to which he replied, pointing to his temple, "I haven't waited until the last minute, I've had it in here all week."

I'm not sure why that interaction stuck in my head. It is likely something nobody else remembers, but I have used that story many times when teaching Sunday school classes or leading Bible studies. Preparation isn't just about the visible effort. Most of the time, the bulk of work in life is indeed done within the mind.

Uncle Dave was all about being a Christian during the time I knew him. Occasionally in his sermons, he would reveal a different Dave, one who had a bit of a wild side when he first met my grandparents, who would become his in-laws. He was a hard-worker who clearly loved his wife and his children deeply, with a dry sense of humor and a gentle smile. He probably never knew how much he influenced my life or the lives of the many he touched through his ministry and his being.

I'm a better person because I knew him. Rest in peace, Uncle Dave.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A new endeavor

My son recently started writing a blog and reading it has reminded me how much that end-of-day reflection can influence the outcomes for the following days. I decided to take on a personal challenge - to write in my blog more often. If you look back through this blog, you'll see how unlikely it is that I will achieve this, but I think I'll at least do it today.

My thought was that I could find inspiration in quotes and expound upon them. My desire would be to leave gems of wisdom for my children, since really nobody reads this blog (except you, Andrea, my friend!). At the same time, though, my hope is that I can turn what has become a new chapter in my life into an introspective period of personal growth.

The quote for today is this:
“Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” - Richard L. Evans
I took a plunge - not the first one I've taken in my life - two months ago when I quit my full-time, fairly secure job in the pursuit of a career I have more control over. I started my own business and now am either at home taking care of home things, at home doing work for clients, or traveling for clients. I've never been one to let fear keep me from pursuing my dreams. Sometimes, this has left me scrambling to fix something I've messed up because of that pursuit, but every single time I have grown from the experience.

I chose this quote because I see life having way too much power over people. In today's instant-gratification atmosphere, people, especially young ones, tend to think they should be able to achieve their end goal first, without having to take the tiny steps that are required to get there.

When they do this, they are cheating themselves. First, it is very unlikely they will reach their end goal if they don't take the right paths to get there. Second, even if they do manage to achieve the end goal, maybe by luck or chance, maybe because of who they know, or because of some cosmic favor, they have missed out on the lessons along the way.

In my life, I have experienced many things that I wish I hadn't - Loss of loved ones, divorce, a child with cancer, personal addictions, personal shortcomings - but each of those events built a little piece of me. The experiences themselves were really a way to get to the end goal, disguised in disappointment, despair, and pain. As I experienced difficulty, my soul was shaped a little more like it needs to be to find and understand happiness. With each trial, both the journey and the closure gave new sight to my vision. If I had not experienced these things, I would not know how precious the good stuff is.

Today, my life is so joy-filled that I wonder sometimes when the next trial is coming. I'm not saying I have no worries. I worry a lot about my children, their emotional and physical health, and I also worry sometimes about my business and whether it will generate enough income to support my share of the family expenses. Yet in the midst of stressers such as these, nothing I encounter today is as bad as what I've already been through. Further, I know that if some huge catastrophe came along tomorrow, I will make it through, and I will find another piece of meaning in my life.

The first step to achieving whatever it is you want in life is to start where you are. Whatever life has dealt you thus far is in the past. Whatever life is about to toss your way is in the future. The only time that we have control over is this moment.

Begin where you are, remember where you've been, move towards where you want to be. And grow.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I have a syndrome

I was fascinated today when I opened an email in my personal account. It was advertising a webinar, but as I read the words, I started to wonder if someone was playing a joke on me. The webinar being advertised in the email talked about a syndrome I had never heard of, but the symptoms sounded very familiar.

The webinar is about Impostor Syndrome, and as I read what it was, it answered a lot of lifelong questions for me. Impostor Syndrome is basically an irrational belief that nothing one accomplishes is because of their own effort or expertise, but more likely because of luck or being able to "fool" their way through.

A few months ago, in response to a writing challenge, I wrote a post entitled The imposter. I have always felt like this, and the possibility that this is because of a syndrome is incredible. I am interested in it because of my own feelings, but also as a Gender Equity Trainer, I am wondering how closely tied to Attribution Theory this syndrome might be (note to self: do some research on this).

I researched a little and found an informative article from Forbes that describes the syndrome entitled Feeling Like a Fraud: Living With Impostor Syndrome. After reading it, I realized that I have let these feelings hold me back for a long time. I have resisted opportunities that have been placed before me for fear that someone will finally figure me out.

I'm not sure what to do with this information, but I have always believed that fully understanding a problem is the first step to solving it. This news actually has me feeling more hopeful than I have in a long time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Feeling better already

Last night, I did my second round of leg workout at the gym and this morning, Nathan and I did our first morning aerobic workout which focused on - guess what? Legs! I'm sore, yes, but I also noticed throughout the day that I was already feeling like my legs are toning up! I have a very long way to go, but walking through the school today with a feeling like I was closer to being the athlete I used to be and farther away from the couch potato I had become was awesome . . . and motivating!

I'm also very, very happy about Nathan joining me in the mornings for the workout. It is very early in the morning (5:30 a.m.) and he's just a kid, but he woke up, got dressed, and worked up a sweat, all the same!

I'm feeling very positive about this resolution. I find myself making different kinds of choices all day long, whether the choice is about food, how I am going to spend my time, when will I get exercise. I can tell I'm making better choices in every aspect and because of that, I don't even care whether this all results in weight loss or anything else - I'm already receiving a huge benefit - feeling good about myself!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Legs, legs, legs!

Had a pretty good day today. I didn't journal my eating, but I think I did fairly well. Spent a good amount of time at the gym today doing a leg workout. My legs are really floppy now, so I know I pushed my limits well!

One great thing coming from going to the gym regularly is that more of the family are going, too. Three of the kids joined David and I. I have to say, Nathan is turning out to be quite the gym rat - he's doing great!

Tonight, we went to Target and purchased some workout videos, since I couldn't ever find mine. This means that tomorrow at O dark thirty, I'll be burning calories!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First day back to school

I have been a little worried about heading back to school. Over the break, I was really good about going to the gym and making time for the family. I know once I get back into the swing of things, my old habits are likely to sneak back in.

My day started off going nothing like I had planned. I intended to do a 30 minute everyday low-impact aerobic workout. I dutifully woke up at 5:30 a.m., donned my workout attire, and headed to the living room to get started. Unfortunately, I could not find the videos and when I tried to find a suitable alternative on the 100s of television channels we get, I couldn't find anything. I ended up doing some light calisthenics and proceeding on with my morning preparations.

The good thing about the morning was that I did do a better job of budgeting my time. I had gotten into a bad habit of waking up in the morning and spending a half hour or so on the computer. My deal with myself was that if I did everything else first - workout, shower, get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast - if I had any time left over, I could sit down at the computer. Flipping everything around did wonders - I was able to get ready AND spend some time on the computer. Double bonus - I didn't have to grab an unhealthy breakfast on the way out of town because I had already eaten the healthy one I had planned the night before.

I was super busy at work, which probably is a good thing - lots of walking through the big school. After lunch, I got a call and learned that I was one of three finalists for a state award I had been nominated for. What a great way to start the new year!!!

A late meeting after school meant I was in danger of losing my focus for dinner, but my wonderful husband was already making the meal we had planned by the time I got home. I did probably snack a little more after school than I should have, but I kept it all fairly healthy.

All in all, I'm not going to kick myself for today. I did much better than I really thought I would this first day back and I'm very optimistic about doing even better tomorrow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Now that 2012 is here . . .

Every year, I, like many others, come up with my resolution for the year. I usually don't feel very confident that I'll be able to keep the resolution, but this year, I feel very committed to mine.

I resolve to live every day like the precious blessing it is.

I decided to make a major life change in part because of something tragic that happened a few weeks ago. Megan Baab, a 19-year-old who had grown up in my church, and who I cannot remember ever seeing without a huge smile on her face and loving life, was killed when the bicycle she was riding was struck head-on by another 19-year-old who fell asleep at the wheel on his way home from college for the holidays.

This tragedy affected everyone who had ever met Megan, and several who never knew about her until her death. An avid bicyclist, we all believed that we would see Megan's name become well known in the national cycling community. Over 300 people showed up for a memorial ride the weekend after her death - among them my husband.

It was the day of the ride that my resolution came to me. The only thing that had kept me from joining my husband on that ride was that I am so out of shape. Just a few years ago, I had spent my 40th birthday happily peddling up and down the hills of eastern Kansas after having spent the previous week bicycling from the Colorado border across the state. What had happened to me that I couldn't even go on a 25 mile ride to honor this huge loss?

That day, I realized that Megan was given 19 precious years on this Earth and she had lived each day as fully as she could. She died doing the one thing she loved most. If I have already been given another 27 years more than Megan, then why am I throwing it away by getting out of shape, gaining weight, and not having time for my family?

I'm firmly committed to making sure that make 2012 the best, one day at a time. Exercising, eating right, taking time to read, taking time to spend quality time with my family, taking time to enjoy being silly - so that each day becomes a tribute and a day of thanksgiving for the blessings I am given.