Sunday, May 30, 2010

Couch to 5K via the Healing Powers of God

Hearing God's voice is much like hearing other voices--except that it may perhaps be occasionally easier to ignore.  First, you must have a open, working relationship with God, just like with any other person.  If somebody that I don't know--in Illinois or the next town over--is talking, you can bet I won't hear them.  If, however, I do know the person, and have an open, working phone connection with them, my chances are much better at hearing what they have to say.  Second, listening takes practice.  You must force your thoughts to quiet down and focus your mind on trying to hear what is being said rather than what you think is being said.  Third, follow the instructions given by all-knowing shampoo bottles: wash, rinse, repeat--in other words, practice makes perfect, or try, try again.  Try to be open to talking and hearing from God even in the off moments. This is part of trying to adapt to God's timetable rather than trying to make Him accommodate yours.
          One year ago I had just gotten the results from a blood test that confirmed what I had been suspecting:  my thyroid levels were very low.  The thyroid gland produces the hormone that controls how your body uses energy, and hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is something that is solved by taking medication for the rest of your life.   I had hoped that my low energy level could be changed by exercising more, but that would only leave me so exhausted that I could hardly get up off the couch the rest of the day.  I felt defeated and hopeless; I didn't want to be on medication.
          One year ago, while I was in the process of procrastinating talking to my doctor about medication, my church was devoting a month to teaching about healing.  It was great teaching.  I learned that the bible clearly shows that God wants us to be whole and healed.  I learned how important it is to make sure that you take care of any unforgiveness and/or bitterness in your self before really trying to talk to and hear God.  It was a great month for learning stuff, I tell you!  During one service, the thought of my thyroid completely out of my mind, I was praying for other people's healing needs.  As I was praying I heard God say "Your thyroid is healed."  Just that, nothing more.  I was surprised, you can be sure, but I immediately started thanking God for the unexpected blessing.
          I knew my thyroid was healed, but I had no idea when my symptoms might change so I immediately went back to the task of procrastinating my doctor's visit (a.k.a. trying to forget I needed to do so in the first place.)  Two weeks later it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't had a single exhausting day since God spoke those four words to me.  My previous normal had been to alternate tired days with exhausted days, now my normal was consistent moderate energy.  Unheard of.
          To date, a year later, I still haven't had a single bit of exhaustion like before.  While I still haven't gotten into the doctor, (I'm really good at procrastinating) I know without a doubt that my situation is completely different. For the first time I can understand what people mean when they say "I hate exercising but I feel so good afterwards".  I am able to do what was impossible before: run and not be weary, walk and not faint.
          Today I moved onto week 4 of the Couch to 5K workout and felt great afterwards (run 3min, walk 1:30, run 5min, walk 2:30, repeat).  I would never have guessed that I could enjoy exercise.  I am very thankful that I serve a God who cares about me and what I really need.  That He cares for each one of us so much just amazes me.  If you want someone to truly understand you, earnestly care for you, encourage and support you and never let you down, He's the one to go to.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Garden Update: Memorial Day Weekend

I love watching plants grow, and edibles are especially exciting--with the hope of getting to enjoy fresh produce day after day, who wouldn't want to go check on the little guys several times a day?

The corn is growing, steady and strong:

The zucchini, cucumber, cantaloupe, and tomatoes are flowering:

The quickly growing green beans and the slightly slower bell pepper are fruiting:

The radishes (and peas, carrots, arugula and green onions) have sprouted and the lettuce is still hanging in there (I'm really enjoying this New Red Fire variety):

I'm consistently harvesting lettuce and basil, which both seem to be growing well.  I had replanted many plants after reading the Square Foot Gardening book, in order to give them a bit more room to grow.  This is really the first year that I've done a full garden like this, and so far I'm having a lot of fun with it.  I love seeing the progression of the plants.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Happy 14th Birthday Timothy!

Timothy turned 14 this week. On his birthday we took him out for dinner. He ate sushi, I did not: we were both happy. Back at home, we had Key Lime Pie and rainbow sherbet for dessert.

Timothy will be in high school next year, no turning back now! (as if there were before)

Friday, May 14, 2010


Last seen in March, 2010 removing the sweeper from the pool, supposedly for the purpose of replacing a part.




Payable directly to the pool guy/gal. Any other monetary arrangements must be made directly between the pool guy/gal and yourself, monthly amount to be determined upon first meeting with said pool person.  First come, first serve.  Only one needed, if it's a good one.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?  In containers? In raised beds? In nice evenly spaced rows?

I think I finally have the majority of my garden going for the year, which is no small feat, I assure you.  We moved into our new house at the beginning of the year, and the problem isn't lack of available space as much as it is lack of intense sunshine in the right spot.  I started by deciding to clear some ivy in front of the house to make way for herbs and the like, a project which is still in progress and will have to wait to be featured in another blog post.  I finally decided on raised beds, because my experience with the ivy patch showed me that clay is not fun to garden with, and because I was impressed with my brother's square foot garden.  I considered attempting to make the frames for the raised beds (how hard could it be?) but decided against it (good decision) when my step-mummy-dearest-in-law told me that my local garden center had kits for sale (hurrah!). Audrey helped me put them together, and I was on my way.

I was happy to find the right mix of soil prepackaged for me, so at least there was no guesswork there.

Here are the two beds: 
Many times since buying my veggie plants I've wished that I'd read the book about Square Foot Gardening instead of being so rushed and impatient that I simply scanned the website and talked to my brother a couple of times.  The premise is fairly simple, but I found myself at a loss when trying to figure out exactly how many plants I could reasonably plant in each square.  I actually might still buy it (I thought about requesting it on PaperBackSwap, but the wait list is almost 800 people long!) so that I know what I should actually be doing next year (oh, now look.  I've gone and made myself feel guilty and ordered the book already.  It wasn't so hard after all).  I ended up deciding to put plants requiring a ton of space on the corners, hoping that they won't mind spilling over all the edges.

This the bed on the right.  I've put corn in the back row (something I know nothing about growing but kids HAD to have it).  In the 2nd row there is watermelon on the sides, and dwarf peas in the center which were grown from seed.  The 3rd row has a cherry tomato, lettuces, and a cantaloupe.  The front row is zucchini, more lettuces, and cucumber (don't you just love saying "lettuces"?)  The peas are supposed to grow in more of a bush formation than a vine, although they may need staking at some point.

Close up of the peas.  Aren't they cute?  I just might like growing things from seed after all (tried to start some herbs indoors which failed miserably, sapping all my enthusiasm for the I thought).

This is the bed on the left.  In the back row I have tomatoes on the edges, and green beans in the two center squares.  The 2nd row has tomatoes on the edges, and the two center squares are more peas (not showing yet).  Row #3 is all about peppers: green, yellow, orange and red. The front row has honeydew melon, basil, and a butternut squash.

Okay, now I realize I have an awful lot of vining/wandering plants, and I'll just have to see how that goes.  I also realize that among all of those vining/wandering plants I don't have any pumpkin--they will just have to wait for next year!  I decided to try staking my tomatoes this year instead of caging them.  I'm not too sure how that will go.  I am also keeping an eye on the basil, since that didn't do entirely well for me when I tried to grow it in a container last year.

Acknowledgements:  I'd like to say thanks to my dad for having gardens when I was growing up and first introducing me to the magic of peas fresh off the vine, also to my mom for making me snap and eat those peas.  Matthew, thanks for the square garden idea!  I'm excited!  Eric, your creativity in gardening, composting, and healthy, responsible eating is always inspiring.  Also "Gramps" for his enthusiasm for gardening in the So.Cal. area--glad I'm not the only oddball in the family that just loves to play in the dirt!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Odd Children

For the last three months, and for the next three weeks, my four children all have odd-numbered ages. 13, 11, 9, and 5. In honor of easy to remember number sequences--albeit for a limited amount of time--here of some photos of my great kiddos.

Timothy, whose highest complement very well may be to say you are "random" and who values uniqueness above many other things, is looking forward to being 14 in three weeks. He is also looking forward to summer vacation with no more schoolwork.

Andrew and Melinda have become very good friends this year, verified by many tears when Andrew went on a two week trip to Papa's and MeMa's house (by Melinda at least, I wasn't witness to Andrew's parting reaction.). This was the scene when we were reunited:

And lil' Audrey was beyond thrilled when her daddy made ribs this weekend; she had been begging for them for months! (Notice how well used her paper towel is!)