Stepping It Up

 With pedometer attached, I walked.  The goal, to get as many steps in during the month of January as I could.   I am fortunate that my job allows me to get up and walk.   And walk I did!  167.145 miles or 381,600 steps.  I climbed over 500 floors, which I found out is about the altitude that a helicopter flies at.   Whew! 

This year the Dan Abrahms Healthy Living Center is giving one habit a month to focus on to improve our healthy living.  The focus this month, physical activity.   The goal, to increase physical activity in some way.  This could be starting a new workout routine, adding a new activity, increasing intensity of workouts, anything that changes and/or adds to what you are already doing.  Luckily the focus corresponded with a walking challenge at work.   I joined other colleagues in wearing pedometers this month to track how many steps we could take through the entire month of January.  

The  steps were just part of the journey for physical activity, as I am also trying to incorporate some variety into my workout times.  Cardio exercises are my fall back, the ones I do most often.   I am working on incorporating some strength exercises into my routine as well. 


Letters Have Arrived

For awhile it seemed like the letters were lost.   No, I cannot greet the postal carrier at the door each day looking for those special cream colored envelopes, but the urgency to open the mail box each day looking, searching, and yearning for communication, has not disappeared.  

The silence seemed so long, and I know with seven children, I get more letters than others, so I try not to complain.   For two months not a letter was to be found.   Then, all of a sudden, in a matter of eight days, the flood gates have been opened and we had five letters pouring in from our family around the world.  

As I sit down tonight to write letters to them, sending them pictures of the kids sledding, I am thankful for these little lives that have touched mine in such a deep way.   One wants to know when we are coming to the Philippines to visit her.  We were trying to decide where to go on vacation this summer, but that one may have to wait a year or two!   Three have received gifts, thanking us for thinking of them, supporting them, loving them.  I think they deserve the thanks as they bring so much love and joy into our home.  Our studious one writes about his studies and asks, again, for continued prayers for his studies.     

Today's sermon was about being involved, using your gifts and resources for the kingdom of God.  There are still some areas we are trying to figure out as to what that means for each of us in this family, but one thing I do know for sure, this is what we are supposed to be doing.   This is where we are being called to serve.  To love these young people who are around the world, to pray for them, to support them through letters of encouragement.   Hopefully His plans include a visit, but if not, I know that in heaven we will be together.  

As I send off seven letters of love tonight, I am thankful for the gifts and resources that God has given so that we have the opportunity to make an impact in their lives.   They have given us so much, I hope that in return, they are gaining as well. 


Man of the Year

Time Magazine named President Obama.

People Magazine claimed it is Channing Tatum (Their claim, he is the sexiest man alive right now.)

I am sure there are many choices and many votes cast for each of these men, and probably for good reasons.

However, I have to disagree with with both magazines, at least partially. There is one in my book that rates a little higher in both categories. This man goes above and beyond the call of duty for his role in life. If one were to ask him how high to jump, he would be in the air before asking how high. He puts others before himself every day. He is supportive and encouraging. He loves like no other can. He knows what is needed and is there before the question can even be asked.

It is probably no surprise to you who my choice for Man of the Year is. He has been my best friend for seventeen years now. He is my husband, and the father of our two wonderful children.

I was telling the kids this morning as we were all getting shoes on to head out the door that they were so lucky to have such a great dad for Man of the Year. I couldn't help but brag about how I was so fortunate to catch the Man of the Year as a life partner.

And he continues to prove why he deserves this title. On my break at work, I receive a text asking me on a date on March 23rd to a meet and greet with David Crowder! My husband is so amazing!! I am excited beyond words!

Last March I had the opportunity to meet one musician who has greatly touched my life. The concert with Shaun Groves was truly a gift, and something I will never forget. Just one year later I am going to a meet and greet with another musician who has had a huge impact in my life.

What a gift Mark has given me today.

 Time Magazine and People's Magazine, while I respect your choices, I have to disagree with you to some degree as in my opinion, the Man of the Year is living in my house, doing life with me day in and day out. He is my husband.


Books Read in 2012

Top five favorite books read this year (in no particular order): 

Life of Pi
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Night Circus 
Eat Pray Love
The Other Wes Moore

The five that made the most impact on my life this year (again, in no particular order): 

Not for Sale 
Gifts of Imperfection
Neither Wolf Nor Dog
Love Does
Love is an Orientation

The entire list of books read this year:

Akata Witch -- Nnedi Okorafor 
Life of Pi --Yann Martel  
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time -- Mark Haddon 
Finding Fish: A memoir -- Antwone Quenton Fisher
The Night Circus -- Erin Morgenstern
Made to Crave -- Lysa TerKeurst
Kisses from Katie -- Katie Davis 
Have A Little Faith -- Mitch Albom
Not For Sale -- David Batstone 
All There Is- Love Stories from Storycorps -- Dave Isay 

Fortune’s Magic Farm -- Suzanne Selfors
Same Kind of Different As Me -- Ron Hall & Denver Moore
The Flight of Gemma Hardy -- Margot Livesey
A Farewell to Arms -- Ernest Hemingway 
The Lost Wife -- Alyson Richman
Eat Pray Love-- Elizabeth Gilbert
The Mysterious Benedict Society -- Trenton Lee Stewart
Catching Fire -- Suzanne Collins
Mocking Jay -- Suzanne Collins
Vintage -- Maxine Linnell

If I Live to Be 100:  Lessons from the Centenarians -- Neenah Ellis 
Best I Can Be: Living With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Effects -- Liz Kukp 
The Thief Lord -- Cornelia Funke
Neither Wolf Nor Dog -- Kent Nerburn
Glass Castle -- Jeannette Walls
The Bluest Eye -- Toni Morrison
The Gifts of Imperfection -- Brene Brown
Interpreter of Maladies -- Jhumpa Lahiri 
The Namesake -- Jhumpa Lahiri 
Love Does -- Bob Goff

The Dark Hills Divide -- Patrick Carman
Love Is an Orientation -- Andrew Marin
Orange is the New Black -- Piper Kerman
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit -- Jeanette Winterson
Indescribable -- Louie Giglio, Matt Redman
The Grimm Legacy -- Polly Shulman
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks -- Rebecca Skloot
Aleph -- Paulo Coelho
Great Gatsby -- F. Scott Fitzgerald 
The Time Keeper -- Mitch Albom

Unbroken -- Laura Hillenbrand

Holes -- Louis Sachar
The Light Between Oceans -- M.L. Stedman
It’s Always Personal -- Anne Kreamer
Escape from the Land of Snows -- Stephan Talty 
Zeina -- Nawal El Saadawi
My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man’s Odyssey -- Charles Rowan Beye
The Other Wes Moore -- Wes Moore
The Wednesday Wars -- Gary D. Schmidt
Out of My Mind -- Sharon M. Draper

Touching Wonder -- John Blase
Blue Umbrella -- Mike Mason
Marcelo in the Real World -- Francisco X. Stork

It is kind of fun for me to read through this list again as I pull this post together.   There are quite a few books in here that bring back good memories and the stories come alive just in reading the titles.   I have to admit there was one where I had to ask Mark what the book was about, obviously that one left a big impact on me!   Of course there are the few on this list that without the goal, I would never have finished them, so for that reason, I am glad I had the goal in place.  


The First Time in 2013

It has become tradition in our house that on January first, any activity that is done is accompanied by the statement, "This is the first time in (insert year here) that we have (insert activity here)." In sticking with that tradition, today was the first time in 2013 that an alarm was set to wake us up for work an school ending a wonderful eleven day stretch of family time. The morning time was cut back, lunches were packed, back packs loaded, and travel coffee mugs replaced the Fiesta mugs. At the appointed time, all four of us walked out the door for the first time in 2013.

Our eleven days together as a family were just what we needed to recover from the frantic pace that life brought in December. We are rested, relaxed, and ready to face the world again. I accomplished my goal for 2012 by reading a total of 53 books this past year. It feels good. (For those interested, the list is coming in a following post.) Despite the busy schedules and starting work full-time, I was able to keep on track and get it done. When asked whether I would do it again, I would say yes and no. Yes, because I loved the stories and the different genres I exposed myself to this year. Yes, because reading takes me to different worlds which is a much needed escape at times. Yes, because reading keeps my mind open to new thoughts and ideas. However, I hesitate to put this kind of goal in place right away because upon completing the goal, there was a sigh of relief. Not every open minute has to be spent with a book open now. I have missed blogging, writing, and creating and while I was hoping that perhaps my books would give me more to write about, the deadline of my goal got in the way more than it helped.

I have bounced a few ideas around about my resolution for 2013, however, I am unsure of what I want to settle on. Perhaps there won't be anything concrete or perhaps something will come to mind. I would like to get back to blogging and getting my thoughts down if for no other reason then having a record of them for me to refer back to.

With all of that said, for the first time in 2013, I am sitting at my computer writing a blog post, and it feels really good. It is a new beginning, something I needed to have before I could sit down and write again.