Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taking the Plunge

I've finally decided to meet with a personal trainer at the Y. I enjoy working out, but I know that I can work out more effectively. Here lately, I usually go in and complete the same exercises each time and its getting boring. I talked to the personal trainer coordinator today and a trainer is supposed to contact me in the next couple of days, so hopefully I will begin next week. This is not my favorite type of situation. I enjoy trying new activities, but I usually feel better about doing them if I am with someone else. I hope that the personal trainer is an outgoing person so that the conversation will not become stilted.

My goal is to get stronger physically and try to tone up and lose some weight. Of course, to lose weight, I also need to show more discipline in the way I eat. It frustrates me that I can have good self-discipline in certain areas of my life, but eating is not one of them. I definitely need some accountability in this area, but I do not want to pay to go to Weight Watchers in order to get this accountability. Likewise, my husband is not the best choice because I do not want to get mad at him when he asks me how I am doing (besides, I don't think he would do it anyway for the exact same reason ;o)

Is there anyone else out there who would be interested to being accountability partners on this issue? Knowing that I could encourage someone else struggling with this same issue would be much easier than doing so with a stranger.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Give Me Your Eyes"

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the once forgotten

These words come from one of my favorite songs on the radio today. What a reminder that we need to look at the world through God's eyes and not our own.

Our pastor has been preaching from the book of John, and for the last four weeks or so, the focus has been on Jesus's interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. Today, he talked about how Jesus had a hunger for the people and to do God's will but the disciples did not. The disciples could not see beyond their own concerns to see the needs of the people.

Chuck suggested that we ask God to increase our appetite to do His will. Since hearing this song and Chuck's message, this will definitely be a prayer of mine.

If you want to hear Chuck Wilson's message, you can find it at Click on Listen (the message should be available later this week).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What would it be like?

As I sit here watching the movie Enchanted, I wonder what it would be like to live in a fairy tale world (or at least the Disney version). Wouldn't it be nice if every once in a while everyone burst out in the same song and danced together with perfect choreography? Perhaps that would solve many of the problems facing the world today.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Swollen Expectations

My Comp classes are reading an essay entitled "Swollen Expectations." In summary, the essay compares 1950s America with the turn-of-the-century America. The authors compare houses, cars, vacations, food, and innovations like televisions. Part of their argument is that our society is suffering from affluenza. We are constantly wanting items that are bigger and better, not because we need bigger items, but because society's expectations have grown to the point where bigger is the norm.

This essay made me think about my expectations for the way I live. I know that there are many items I would like to own or have that are simply a desire created out of swollen expectations: newer, nicer furniture; more clothes; a nicer yard; exotic vacations; etc. Then today, one of my coworkers reminded me of how fleeting the items on earth are and why we can only rely on God. She is acquainted with a couple who lived in Galveston, TX and was affected by the latest hurricane. This couple was lucky in that their house only has a foot of water in it, but it might be a year before they can move back into their house. A restoration company has told them that they might be able to salvage some of their furniture and other possessions. Since flooding caused the damage, there is a possibility that their possessions will not be covered by their insurance company. They both also worked on the island, so they have been without jobs since the hurricane struck. Apparently they have just found out that the will no longer be receiving money from their former jobs in the middle of November.

It only takes an instant for all that we own to be destroyed. As my coworker was telling me about this couple, my first thought was why would anyone want to spend a significant amount of money on furniture when the possibility exists that it can all be destroyed in a fire, tornado, flood. It would be easier to deal with these types of losses if the possessions we had did not have any real significant value to us. I bet this is why God tells us not to worry about these issues and not to pursue worldly goods. I'm not trying to say that we shouldn't have nice possessions, but this couple's story has made me reevaluate my priorities. It would be much better to invest my money in God's kingdom rather than in newer furniture for my house.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why Am I Watching Survivor?

Good question. Why am I sitting here watching Survivor? I have not really followed this show since the first season, but every once in a while I will watch an episode. The show is a fascinating study in human behavior. I realize that the editing of the show manipulates what the viewer learns about the various contestants, but even the snippets that we are shown gives us a glimpse of how people behave in different circumstances.

As we watched the show tonight, I began to wonder how the lives of the contestants have changed as a result of being on the show. Are they more outgoing? Are they more confident? Are they more willing to try new activities, new foods, new adventures? Would I change if I were ever on a show like Survivor? I don't know that I would want to be on Survivor. I would rather be on The Amazing Race. I prefer shows where people eliminate themselves instead of being eliminated as a result of a popularity contest. I would also love to be able to travel around the world. Of course, I would probably be one of the women who tend to freak out when situations get stressful or if a challenge is a little too tough. They would probably be able to record a lot of tears.

If you were given the opportunity to be on a reality television show, what show would you want to be on?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Take a Sick Day??

I'm definitely the sort of person who takes a sick day as a last resort. I've done a little better since I started working at HCC about staying home when I am sick because I have a forty-five minute drive back home from HCC if I do not feel well. Growing up in a family where being sick did not gain one extra attention, I am used to the concept of toughing it out and moving on with life. At times I think I do so because I feel life may stop if I am not present, but other times I think it is because I don't think that I am in that bad of shape.

I did go to work today, but my students did work in the computer lab so I did not have to speak much. For the most part, I feel fine; I just cannot talk very well and my head is still congested. After an hours worth of attempts, I finally got a hold of my doctor's office and made an appointment for tomorrow morning. At least then I will know for sure if I have a sinus infection or if I am just battling a tough virus.

Now, I have to decide if I am going to go to HCC in the afternoon. The student group I am one of the advisors for is having their induction ceremony tomorrow night. I know that the show can go on just fine without me, but what if it doesn't?? ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prayer Request

I seem to have come down with a sinus virus or sinus infection and it has left my voice pretty weak. I'm not the best about knowing when to stay home and when to go to the doctor for these issues. Additionally, this is not the best week to be sick (not that any week is especially good). Please pray for wisdom to know if and when I should go to the doctor and for quick healing. Pray also for wisdom what I should do with my classes if I do need to stay home.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What to do about Halloween?

I recently read a friend's blog in which she discuss why she believes Christians should not participate in Halloween festivities in any form or fashion. Her blog got me to thinking about this issue. Personally, I have never gone overboard for Halloween, but we have handed out candy and helped out at events at our church. If we had children, I would probably allow them to dress up in costume and do a little trick or treating.

All this being said, what should a Christian do about Halloween? Are we worshiping Satan if we pass out candy or dress up in a costume? My opinion is that we are not. As I was growing up, it never crossed my mind that it was a Satanic holiday. For me, it was a day to play dress-up and get candy. When I think about this issue, I am reminded that at Christmas plenty of people participate in the holiday who do not worship God as part of the day. The same is true for Easter. Halloween, for most people, is just an activity, like Christmas and Easter.

Ironically, Halloween has its origin as a time of thanksgiving for the fall harvest. Out of fear and misunderstanding, the people dressed up and carved jack-o-lanterns to protect themselves from evil spirits. Their purpose was not to celebrate death, but rather to protect themselves because they did not know God.

I do agree with my friend that the stores are filled with too many items for Halloween. The money that people can spend decorating their homes for Halloween is obscene. Commercialism knows no bounds. Give the retailers a holiday, and they will come up with a way to make people spend money on it.

This Halloween we are going to work at a Trunk or Treat event with our church. This event is designed to reach out to non-Christians and show them that we are approachable. We want to create a fun environment where we can meet non-Christians and perhaps have them feel comfortable enough to come and check out our church where they will hear the word of God. I don't feel we are compromising our faith by participating in this event.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How Great Is Our God!

Isaiah 40:11
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:26
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Second Choice

The other day, my sister had on her Facebook status that she felt like she was everyone's second choice. Today, I was making the same statement to Matt. Matt does not make me feel like a second choice, but there often times when situations with others leave me with this feeling. It wouldn't surprise me to find out the most people feel like they are the second choice. Of course, only we can decide how we are going to respond to the situations in life, and if we respond with feeling like we are the second choice, then we will have to learn to deal with that feeling.

Thankfully, we are always God's first choice. I am in the process of memorizing the letter to the Ephesians. In the first chapter, Paul encourages the Ephesians by telling them how special they are in God's eyes. God chose us. We were predestined according to His plan. God has called us to hope, to the riches of His inheritance, and to His incomparable power. God will never let us down. He will never be too busy. He will never make other plans. He calls us to become part of the body of Christ. No room for second choices exists in God's kingdom. We will all be His first choice. Praise God that He is big enough and powerful enough to meet the needs of every person on this planet.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Right to Fail?

“One of the few rights that America does not proclaim is the right to fail”

This is one of the other statements that stood out to me in the essay. As we discussed this idea in class, most of the students agreed that this statement is true. Today, most children play on little league sports teams where the score is not kept and there is not a proclaimed winner (even though the older kids know how to keep score and they do know who won). Matt's little brother Taylor plays on a 8-9-year-old kid pitch team, and they still did not keep score, but I am certain that the kids on each team knew who won and who did not. While I agree with this concept for young children (ages 4-5) because the goal is to teach the children the fundamentals of the sport, I do not agree with this trend for ages 6 and up. One way to learn good sportsmanship is to lose every once in a while. Unless my memory fails me, when I played softball as a 7-year-old, we had an official score at the end of the game and we knew if we had won or lost. I do not remember being traumatized by the fact that we did not win the game. As a student pointed out, once the game is over, the kids are more interested in the snacks being offered than the outcome of the game.

I can understand why we are so afraid of failure, but this fear of failure leads us not to take chances. I, personally, am not a big fan of failing, but I also realize that sometimes I need to fail in order to learn. That is the key element that is missing in our society. We spend too much time trying to blame someone or some group when a situation goes bad (Katrina is a good example) instead of focusing on what can be learned from the failure. The government took a chance letting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer mortgages to people who are a credit risk and we are seeing the negative results of that decision. I hope that instead of wasting time figuring out who is truly to blame, I would like to see more energy put into coming up with ways to correct the situation and to keep it from happening again.

Even as Christians we are afraid to fail. We develop unrealistic expectations of what God expects us to do. We compare our selves to other Christians and decide that there is no way we will measure up, so we don't even try. Instead of asking and trusting that God will work through us in the way He has planned, we decide on our own what God wants us to do. Often our interpretation of God's plan is way off of His. Sometimes we overachieve, but many time we underachieve because we are afraid that we will fail. I know that I need to be less fearful of failure because I can never fail in God's eyes. I will always be His child and nothing I do can change that.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Colorless Mediocrity

In my comp classes this week, we discussed an essay entitled “College Pressures” written by William Zinsser. One statement, of many, that stood out to me was “Not taking chances will lead to a life of colorless mediocrity.” Taking chances does not come easy for most people; I know that I am one who does not like to take chances because I am afraid of looking foolish (another statement that I liked was, “One of the few rights that America does not proclaim is the right to fail”). I began to think of times that I have decided to go ahead and take a chance. The biggest chance that I have taken in recent years was going graduate school. If I had not listened to my professors and taken a chance, I never would have ended up in a job that is anything but mediocre. I would have likely continued to work at data entry jobs where the pay is okay, but there is not much of a mental challenge. I told my students this story to encourage them to take chances.

I’m curious to know what chances you have taken or chances that you wish you had taken.