Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

This is the second time this Canadian chanteuse has made it to the elite and prestigious Wow-ful Women category. She is really and simply, brilliantly talented. She is almost understated in her stage presence, and yet deserves a great big neon sign flashing over her head drawing the attention of the world to her performance.

I really like this lady's voice and style. (and I *really* like her bass player. He is out of this universe!)

And just now, as I'm watching this video again, I am reminded of my sister who introduced me to Holly Cole in her one bedroom apartment that she lovingly shared with me when I was in first year university. And the message of this song is lovely to me too. Sometimes what a friend needs is a friend to just sit with and who says "You can cry if you want to". And I'm reminded, just now, of how miserably I failed my sister in being that kind of friend. And how I wouldn't mind having the chance to try it again.

Holly Cole: Cry (If you want to)

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Curse of Organization

How many times have you heard, or said, “A place for everything and everything in its place”? You know as well as I that this is a helpful adage. And getting it ingrained in your kids can certainly facilitate an easier clean-up time. Nothing worse than saying to your children “Please, go clean up the craft area” and then finding that everyone has merely shoved all the craft supplies in to the toy boxes and book shelves because there is no obvious spot for those items to be stored.

However, the problem comes when you get yourself so nicely organized, and you get a place for everything that you free up some shelf or drawer space. Heaven forbid you’d have an empty drawer! Heaven forbid there might be a shelf with nothing on it! Has this happened to you?

We recently moved to a house that had more kitchen cupboards than our previous home. I found that my kitchenware fit nicely into my kitchen with room to spare. Immediately, I found myself looking for more stuff to fill those drawers. Perhaps I ought to go buy some cases of baked beans and bulk spices to fill the pantry? Same situation in the bathroom. The previous owners had installed a lovely vanity with plenty of drawers. We don’t need all these drawers. I found myself wanting to race to the store to stock up on extra hygiene and personal care items just to fill the space. Just how many bottles of shampoo and conditioner does one need to have on hand at all times?

I changed the adage to read: “A thing for everyplace and everyplace full of things.”

Please read the rest of my latest article for Heart of the Matter Online here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The "Part Two" for which you have been waiting...

First off let me say, there is no magic pill for losing weight. There just isn't. You need to eat smart, and move your body. Period. And even still the weight doesn't just fall off. You'd think a gal like me who just added 3 runs a week to her life and a much smarter pattern of eating would be wasting away by now. Not so much. Especially irksome is that there is no way to determine where the weight comes off of first. I mean, don't get me wrong, I *love* that my wedding rings are loose and that my shoes are all too big, but one would assume that the "marmalade jelly" shakin' around my middle might fall off a bit quicker too. (Gold star to whoever can place that quote). Patience, dear Barbara, patience. And of course I'm not *only* running to slim down. No, no....there's all that "self-discipline, goal-setting, being proud of doing something hard" stuff too.


Okay, so back to the point of the post. My last running post mentioned there was a "part two" to the story and here it is. I've been *swamped* with emails from my devoted readers waiting with baited breath for the 'rest of the story'. (*snort*)

The question for me is this: What do I want to be the end result of this ridiculous 5km run I am attempting? I mean, this should be a no-brainer, right? Of course I want to finish and finish well. I want to have the big high-fives from some people that I love and to wear the groovy jacket knowing I earned it. Right?


What I'm finding is my wacko fears are really out-perfoming this time. Here are the two options I see in my future.

Option One: I can't actually run 5 kilometers with out stopping, regardless of my training, and on the day of I walk three-quarters of the race, showing up at the end like a great big failure, because really, didn't we all know, that Barbara is not an athelete in any stretch of the imagination, and told you so, she failed.

That would stink.

Option Two: I do fabulously. I run the whole thing in 30 minutes or less. I'm surrounded by people who are proud of me and who 'knew I could' and I have this momentary rush of elation that I really did do something that was outside of anything I've done before! And that sounds great, except the problem is that, what if then people (and by "people" I also mean "I") expect me to stay functioning at that level of bravery and hard-work and perseverance, and I can't sustain it? Then my future failure will be greater because I will have seemingly regressed farther than previous.

Does this make sense? A kid who always gets "C's" on his report card isn't going to be shocked by the occassional "D". No one wil be thrilled with a "D", but you know, it isn't too far off what we expect of him. However, if a straight "A" student comes home with a "D", well, "what were you doing? We expect more from you? You can do better than this! Why aren't you living up to your potential?" And the disappointment is that much greater.

Are you following me? I'm so lazy and so fearful of the potential for failure down the road that I hesitate to try to excel in anything.

Remember the story in the Bible of the Ten Talents? The master gave talents (that is coins) to his servants to work with while he was away. One worked well with the five talents he'd been given and ended up doubling it, to return 10 to his master. The servant who was given 2 talents worked them and doubled them to return 4 talents to his master. The third servant was given one talent. And he chickened out, or lazy-ed out and he just buried the talent in the ground to keep it "safe" and returned the same one talent to his master. He said "Well, I didn't want to try to work it and use it in case I lost the one you gave me so instead I just hid it. At least you didn't lose anything, Master."

He was not approved of by the Master, just so you know.

I don't want to be like that. I don't want to not do something for fear of what might happen if maybe down the road somewhere I sort of possibly fall on my face.

So the challenge for me at this point is to not only learn how to run 5 kilometers with out stopping, but also to learn that, as my pastor recently said in a lightning bolt moment for me, "there is such thing as failure with a purpose". Wow. Never thought of it that way. Failure always seemed to just be failure. Just bad. Just disappointing others. Just proving the lies in my head. Not so, slow-learning Barbara, not so. There is a point to trying. And there is a point to sometimes failing. It will be one of those things that the Lord uses to make me more like Him. I may do this race just fine. Or I may be the girl being carried on the stretcher for the last 2 km. Who knows? Either way, I need to give myself the freedom to fail, and the freedom to succeed. Because, presently, both are equally terrifying to me.

And thus, the awkwardly vulnerable and transparent post comes to its end. Thanks for stickin' around :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

For Remembrance Day....

This song is! Plus, you'll never beat the original of this, no matter how many great artists have tried to redo it (except maybe you, Kris...).

Plus plus, I love that at this time in history, these ladies, in these outfits, with these "dance moves" would have been some hot stuff! Gotta love modesty!

And all I know about bugle boys is what my band teacher said many moons ago: "Don't look at the trumpet section: it only encourages them."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Two things to say, really briefly, about this week's video.

First: The lady in this video is one of my top ten female singers of all time. Just so you know. I really heart Christy Nockels.

Second: I LOVE what starts to happen at 2:30. The most stunning, powerful thing I've seen on stage quite possibly ever (yes, I realize that was a massive, sweeping statement, and likely a real hyperbole. Still, it is breathtaking to me). I can't help but imagine what it would be like to worship inside that. It always makes me feel like "hiding in the shadow of his wings" or being "hidden in the cleft of the rock". Such an invisible, non-distracting, protected place. LOVE it.

Praise the Lord! He is Glorious!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One Small Step for Man....

This morning I did something I've never done before. And I'm a little proud of it. But let me back up...

When my husband and I had been married for almost 4 years, he realized, with an uproarious amount of laughter, that he had never, until one fateful Cell Group social, seen me run. Not even a scamper as a jay-walker. Not even a trot to answer a ringing phone. So when he saw me, at that Cell Group Social while we were playing stupid soccer-baseball, run to first base, he laughed like a man who had never laughed in all his days. As if he had only just in that moment learned the art of the guffah. He may have even shed some tears in that moment.

It's a good thing he's cute :-)

And I recall on 9-11, and in the multitude of talk-show interviews afterward, hearing women who were out-of-shape and overweight confessing that the jumpstart for their new, healthy lifestyle was the realization that, had they been trapped on an upper level floor trying to race down a stairwell or had they been down on the street trying to outrun a cloud of rubble, they would not have been able to.

I get that.

And then I think about the what if of being chased by a villian. Could I get away? Could I actually run away from the armed maniac?

Plus, I'd like to get somewhere near the weight I was when I first started having kids back in the 2nd Millenium.

And so I was walking. I really love walking. And I'm a quick walker. I like to say I walk like I'm being chased. The trick comes when I read things about the best way to boost your metabolism and kick into "high fat-burning mode" is to work some interval bursts in to your walk. Sadly, I came to realize that the only way for me to walk faster was to *cough* jog.


I do not like jogging. I have not liked jogging since the beginning of my wee existence. Any excuse available for avoiding gym class has been utilized by yours truly. Run around the block for gym? Sorry, not gonna happen. Forced to do track and field? Yup. I'll take the 100m dash because I'll be done in 14 seconds, and even *I* can run for 14 seconds without collapsing into a heap.

My childhood activity level consisted of jumping up to get a snack before starting my next chapter of my book.

And so, I stand on my street looking at my happy little 2.7Km walking route realizing that I should jog a couple stretches of it.

Next thing you know, I'm actually doing it. Left, right, left, right. Imagining people being awakened from their slumber by the sound of laboured breathing and heavy foot-falls outside their bedroom windows. I found 100m to still be doable. Walk 500m, jog 100m. Walk 500m, jog 100m. Piece of cake.

Mind you the walking bit became really ugly. My 'recovery time' after the jog part was not so good, and I quickly looked like a woman in end-stage disease mode rather than 'being chased' mode. But I digress.

Slowly but surely I jogged more and walked less. And my friends were cheering me on. And encouraging me to go farther. And even (*gasp*) to consider signing up for a 5km run on New Year's Eve.

Sorry. Not this cowboy.

But then my pastor had the nerve to be doing a really great sermon series on being as bold as a lion, and about not being a slave to the sins that so easily tangle us. Rats. That's yelling right at my weaknesses. I'm a chicken. Like, really really chicken. As in, chicken enough to be the mascot for KFC. (Or Chik-Fil-A because it's holier.) Particularly about what people think about me. Which leads me to run at 5:00am when no one can see me.

I'm also lazy. Like so lazy that I could just stop typing now instead of finishing this blog and leave you all in a cliff hanger!

Anyhow, this sermon series is really getting to me. I want to be free of my fleshly desires (read: sleep and potato chips) so I am learning that freedom means saying no to myself a whole lot more often than I like.

Does jogging make me holy? No, but it sure is teaching me discipline in one area that is spilling over into other areas.

And so this morning, for the first time, I ran my whole route, the whole 2.7km route without walking at all. And really without even hating it totally. And certainly without puking. Or dying. No death over here today.

Now here is the irony. I'm pretty sure that as I was running my 2.7Km (heavy on the "Point") that I have at least one friend who may very well have been running 27Km (notice the lack of a "Point"...pun not intended). And yet, even with my meager little beginnings, I know that same long distance bunch of people I adore are celebrating with me like I won a Gold medal.

I love them.

Also of note is that I'm not very fast. I mean, if the armed maniac really was behind me, he could totally catch me. Likely even if he was walking. Or on a pogo-stick.

But still I am doing it! One giant leap for Barbara! And I *have* signed up for the 5Km run on New Year's Eve. And I actually want to do it now for more than just the nifty jacket you get for registering. (Though, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a really great motivating factor...)

There is a part two to this story. However, because I respect you, my humble, loyal reader, I will cut my self off now in this marathon of a post and tell you the other side of this story another day.

(Aren't you completely intrigued by the suspense of it all?) :-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

And Panic Ensues...

What is it about November 1st that makes me feel like I'm already late for Christmas? There is a vague sense of peace on October 31st that there is still "all of November" to be readied for Christmas, and then somehow, as the page turns on the calendar, I get ready to throw up my hands and say "Well, no chance of me squeezing everything in this year...might as well just quit now."

So here I am on November 2nd feeling the creep of panic and realizing that it might just be a smidge overdramatic of me. I don't actually have a lot to do. We don't go overboard with gifts so there isn't a bunch of shopping to do. I know that I can do all the baking I want to do in one day (which will be fun) and if I didn't do baking (like last year) we will all survive and still manage to gain 5 pounds by eating everyone else's baking.

Plus, then there is the "decorating" bit, which we are fairly meager on around here too. It is always a brilliantly fun night, come to think of it. We eat upscale munchies while the kids do all the work (and then Chris and I rearrange a few things once they are in bed). My biggest work of that night is throwing the cloth napkins in the washer and making sure the apple cider doesn't scorch in the pan. Piece of cake.

And then there are the family gatherings to pencil in, the choir practices, the play practices, and did I mention I still need to educate seven kids in there and not entirely abandon my husband for the next 2 months? Oh, ya. And something about my having registered for my first 5Km run...which might mean I should learn how to run in the next month or so. Hmmm...and possibly, just possibly, keeping up with laundry and sweeping may be helpful. Plus three family birthdays...

Tired yet?

As I'm sitting here this morning seeing only about 8 weeks left until "the big day" I have (shockingly!) blogged myself out of my panic, come to think of it. Suddenly I'm finding myself just really really eager for the fun of baking with the kids (or with a girl friend with whom I could spend a day in the kitchen), and the challenge of learning how to act (because, seriously?), and the challenge of remembering how to sing in a choir, and the routine of daily life to keep me grounded. But mostly, I'm looking forward to the fact that no matter what I do or do not accomplish in the next 8 weeks, Christmas will come.

It will come without stockings, it will come without gifts... (think Whoville!)

And with it comes the most freeing message, that peace on earth is an option! That there is a way to live without fear! That we can have a life full of goodwill towards all men. That's what I want. That is a pretty great antedote to panic, yes?

So bring it on, November! I am ready and excited for the busyness you hold, and the promises that await me!

How about you? What does your November hold?