I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Archive for May, 2015

The Blessing Tax: A Prayer Request

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. (‭Malachi‬ ‭3‬:‭8-10‬ NASB)

It’s really a sweet deal when you think about it. God blesses you with a way to provide for yourself and your family. You give just 10% of that to your local church, they put it together with other believers who have done the same and do awesome things for the community, and then on top of THAT you get additional blessings in whatever form God sees fit for you. No sweat.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. (‭Matthew‬ ‭23‬:‭23‬ NASB)

Oh. So it’s like, it doesn’t matter if I give my tithe if I’m a jerk? Is that what you’re saying, Jesus? 

I was recently listening to a radio show whose topic was tithing. I grew up in a faithful home in which I saw both of my parents tithe so it wasn’t strange for me at all to think in this manner once I started working. Make a line item for it in my budget and go from there. I’m not going to pretend it’s not tempting sometimes to say, “I could save more,” or “ermahgerd that outfit is like, so HAWT,” but by God’s grace I (typically) resist. Indeed when I trust Him and give my tithe AND keep my eyes and ears open I do see how I’m blessed beyond measure. Those speaking on tithing, however, were talking about both money and “other resources.” 

Oh, dear. My time.

You know those financial blessings of which I give 10%? Well, I work some long hours for them. There has been more than one occasion where I’ve taken advantage of my church’s ability to tithe online just so I don’t have to be physically present to worship. I Does God hold us accountable to give him 10% of our time as well? He blesses me with income, I give 10%. I’m blessed with mobility/health/time – why wouldn’t I need to give 10% The church hour adds up to a mere 1-2% a week if you take 168 gross hours or 133 “net” (a believer’s gotta sleep!) hours. Does that mean I need to take 10 hours a week to do some volunteering or church activity or – something?

I know this is an area of my life I need to work on because God wants my whole life, not just my wallet. If you are reading this, please pray that I actively seek ways to serve Him with my time. I don’t wanna be a Pharisee! Thank you kindly 😊

Third Friday: A Bit Less Large and In Charge, Or “How to Get in the Mood”

There inevitably comes a time in any one of Blonde Oprah’s challenges lasting at least 4 weeks that a woman of child-bearing age must face one of discipline’s greatest foes. I am pleased to report that despite my quick temper and current uncertainty regarding of the meaning of life, I have adhered to the meal plan and have deviated only when scheduled. Truthfully, deviating has been a problem this week. I had to actually convince myself to do it the first time. Then, as you may know – it gets easier. Heh. 

Seriously, though – I am finding that I need to be in the mood in order to actually enjoy a so-called cheat meal. Otherwise, it simply feels like poor decision making.  

 

I found myself wrestling with the idea of eating a fun meal because I am feeling like I can eat well forever. Why eat poorly when I can eat healthy food? Hardly a new feeling, that one, and yet here I am again! Trying to reclaim good habits. In the end, I decided to eat my cheese fries and ravioli accompanied by a mojito to embrace my imperfection. It may sound like a copout, but it’s true. I know that any clean eating high, even one that can’t be penetrated by my hormones, is doomed to end eventually. Better to practice being excellent and human than to be surprised later when I am imperfect and then fall into regular poor habits. 

Still – I’m not having my meal when I’m not feeling that great. Thankfully, good sleep and exercise promote the good vibes that are conducive to occasionally ridiculously indulgent meals. Who would have thought that eating well makes eating badly even better? 

Three weeks to go! 

Missed Opportunities: On Turning 30

I was partying so hard with my loved ones that I’m just now getting around to my birthday post, tee hee. 

A little more than two weeks ago, I walked into my classroom and saw that it had been decorated with banners. “Happy 30th Birthday!” they read. I have incredibly thoughtful colleagues, I thought to myself. Then I ripped everything down that had the “30” on it. I was pretty sure that it was the part of me that is a private person that had this reaction. I don’t think that 30 is old; rather, I just don’t think everyone needs to know personal things about me and I consider age to be personal. 

30. Whoa. I suppose my adulthood is pretty legit at this point. As the last of my close friends to turn 30, I’ve watched varied reactions, ranging from indifferent to negative. Meanwhile, at work I was told by a colleague that she had seen no one more happy to be 30 than I was. It’s true – I am happy! I love celebrating my birthday, as displayed by how I went dressed to school that day –  

 

Yeah, I definitely look my age. What I’m not sure I understand is why this is a problem, unless it’s just the “holy crap I’m actually gonna die someday” rearing its ugly head. I also feel more aches and pains than I did 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. If there’s anything I am bummed about, it’s that I’ve had 30 years of opportunity to be good to my body and I squandered quite a bit of it. I got to be over 200 pounds – twice! I caused a car accident – thankfully, just once. Then the good stress, like starting my first job and finishing school. I’ve earned these stray grays and aches for sure. I don’t think it’s particularly fair to blame aging for any of this when it is simply the effects of long-term abuse. It’s like blaming the victim when she’s had enough and being upset that she needs therapy when you really should be seeing how you can help.

I am thankful to be 30. I am blessed that my body is still pretty healthy. I am well enough to say that I would take the wisdom that comes through surviving my twenties than the energy that it took to do the stupid stuff I did. Who knows, perhaps I will make fewer mistakes now only because I go to bed much earlier, hah! I get to continue doing all of the things I should have been doing in the first place – eating well, seeing the doctor regularly, hydrating properly, sleeping sufficiently. It’s not as though I suddenly need them now that I’m older. Finally I am wise enough to see how indispensable these things are. 

In an effort to be more open, I did tell a Kindergarten class that I am 30. I think it’s stupid that women try to hide their age and I regretted ripping down the 30s from my classroom and thus perpetuating that foolishness. There’s a lot of awesome ahead; God promised me in the book of Jeremiah. I’ve survived myself, thank the Lord! The kids’ reaction? “OMG you’re so old!” I chuckled. 10 is old to a 5 year old. Not doing it again though – must protect instructional time, after all! Note to self – only share if not teaching. ☺️

Thirty. Bring on the next decade!

  

Second Friday: Adverse Side Effects

Did you know that eating right can be a moral hazard? Like it can make you loose in other parts of your life? 

I’ve noted that as I’ve completed 25% of the challenge, I have not been doing quite so well in other areas of my life. It’s as though I have a problem with doing so much good; that good decision making is some sort of zero-sum game. “I’m eating well and taking care of my body so that means I can be less disciplined with my finances” or whatever else. It’s weird, but not really. If you ever have used food as a reward and you are not using it any longer, it makes sense that you would replace it with something else. 

I wrote earlier about how I am a sucker for extrinsic rewards. This isn’t quite the same, but simply another indicator of how I’m just a baby in a 30 year old’s body. Apparently, I deserve some sort of reward for doing something I should be doing anyhow. Shouldn’t thinking of my pristine future bloodwork results be enough? But is this really so bad? To spend some money spontaneously when I’ve met all my obligations? Why can’t I just do perfectly all around, though?

In short – I suppose that the emotional weight we put on ourselves is heavier than any physical mass we are working to take off.  

 

First Friday: Still Fat but Happier 

Apparently, if you’re trying to make a permanent life change, reflection is a good idea. 

Thoughts: 

  1. I’ve never eaten so much fat in my life. Well, on purpose. Well, healthy fats on purpose. 
  2. It always amazes me how quickly my cravings go away when I spend quality time with one of Blonde Oprah’s meal plans.
  3. I like how I look better in the mirror. I am not sure if the way I look is different or if the way I look is different. Because of how I am eating.
  4. It is pretty easy for me to resist crap food if I plan properly. It’s like I worked too hard to prepare it to blow it on some stupid ass free lunch in the teachers’ lounge. 
  5. I love cooking healthy food for my family. It is fun partnering with Momsy to make meals happen for us. 
  6. I think the joy comes less from how I see myself in the mirror than from knowing I’m doing the best I can for my body. 

Bring on the next week! 

  

Just because correlation isn’t causation doesn’t mean I should keep eating these delicious chips

For the record, I am tempted more by salty foods than sweet foods. Just so you know the next time you want to bring me a smile via snack. However, there is a notable exception… 

I do love peanut butter m&ms. 
I was doing pretty well with my eating at the beginning of April, once I had decided that Ironman was off of my itinerary. I ran with my boo and was feeling good about my progress. There was a family party later that evening, but I had planned for the debauchery accordingly. Then I made plans with my mother to start a six-week long contest to get hot for summer. Clearly, that must mean that I can do whatever I want in the three weeks between a 5k and a contest. Right? 

Of course it’s right. Joan is grown, dammit. But I paid for it. I gained 7 pounds in 3 weeks. I told you, I do it big. I was expecting to gain weight, of course. Donuts + pizza + minimal workouts aren’t exactly the best way to sculpt one’s body. What caught me off guard was how messy my room became. 

  
Until a few weeks ago, I had been doing really well with my resolution to clean up my act. When I decided to go buck wild with my eating, I realized I was caring less about how my room looked. I think that food is such a big part of my life that when I throw caution to the wind in my diet, I am simply less disciplined in general. I realize now that eating so poorly also leaves me with little energy to do more than get through my day, so I simply leave a bit of mess here or there. 

Today was day 1 of 42 of our challenge. Frankly, I’m relieved to be eating better. Not just because I will lose the weight again, but because it feels good to be good to my body. I am coping with the fact that life happens and depending on where I am mentally, I’m just not going to fight Teacher Appreciation Week, my birthday, and Mother’s Day. I’m thankful for another chance to do better and am optimistic for positive results from this plan. I sucked at it last year, but hey. I’m older, a *tad* wiser, and am hopeful that I will remember how good eating well makes me feel when I do it consistently. Real talk – I’m left with no choice but to clean up my act inside and out – who can afford a maid service with all this damn organic food? 

Who am I?

The Last 8 Months of My Life

By Lady J 

  1. Completed a Half-Ironman
  2. Signed up for a Full Ironman
  3. Met a Full Man
  4. Agreed to marry the Full Man
  5. Decided not to do the Full Ironman

I’ve also gone to work but that’s not really cogent here. 

I really am at peace with the decision not to race long distances for now, but something happened yesterday that I am not proud of. At. All. 

I couldn’t find my Garmin. 

I look at my engagement ring all the time and I smile, knowing how very different my life and outlook were just a short time ago. But – but…this. Not being able to find my triathlon watch may not be a mortal sin, but it’s definitely a venial one. My relationship with training is injured. Well – so am I, although I like to pretend that I am not. As I frantically looked for my watch, I realized that the last time I remembered running was at my last race two weeks prior. That’s freaking ridiculous. Yes, I have been making it to boot camp and eating fairly well (until a few days ago – it’s birthday season aaaaand PMS), but surely not training as I once did. While it is kind of nice working out no more than once a day, I should be uploading stats on training more than once a month. For serious. 

I even feel a little guilty for 2 of the last race reports! It’s like…it’s like I care about Adonis more than I do my watch. I did find it, by the way. It had just dropped from my nightstand and was between it and my bed. Though it may sound weird, I wasn’t only relieved because I didn’t lose a REALLY expensive watch. It means that I haven’t lost myself, which is something I’ve (perhaps irrationally) feared could happen if I got married. 

I am 100% happy that my life is 100% different. The transition is just scary sometimes. I am looking forward to learning how not to flip out when I have to adjust to new circumstances. I must admit I am not really looking forward to figuring out exactly how I’m going to do my next triathlon (holy crap it has been 8 months), but I will need some help. I’m not the greatest with balance or trust, qualities I’m pretty sure Mrs. Lady J will need to lean upon heavily. 

Here’s to not getting fat while making that happen. 

  
 

Jackass! Race Report 

“Yeah, let’s do another trail run!” 

Oooooookay…

Not to throw my dear fiancé under the bus, but let’s just say he enjoys racing more than he does training. In the four weeks between our trail runs, he ran exactly 0 times. Moreover, he tells me that he doesn’t want to wear himself out for a family party we intended to attend later. Thusly, I ask, “would you like to do the same 4/2 strategy we did at our last race?” 

“Yeah, yeah, definitely. Let’s stick with that and we’ll be good.” 

We started toward the back and off we went. My watch buzzes after four minutes. “Time to walk!” I shout at him, since he’s ahead of me. “Nah, let’s keep going,” he says. ‘This is an interesting turn of events,’ I thought to myself. I had been planning on some chill bonding/running time and now here I am, in the middle of a race. At a race. I’ll be damned.

This trail was less woodsy and more sandsy. Less tree cover and I did not think it was as pretty as our last, but it was still very pleasant. The path this time was larger, but the sand was occasionally soft and made it harder to run than on the road I know and love. 

Mile 1 passes and he decides a walk break is appropriate. We walk/run as he sees fit for the next mile and a half, and on our last walk break I say, “Okay, less than a half mile to go! Let’s run to the finish. Go ahead of me.” Next thing I know, fiancé is blazing past me. I know he’s a man and I know he since he’s my man he damn well better be stronger and faster than I am but it’s just not fair. I’ve been practicing! He finished 30 seconds faster than I did and there he was, sipping some coconut water as I’m hauling to catch up to him. “Hey! So I pretended I was in trouble and running from the cops,” he tells me. I accompany him as he struts around the park asking for a photo shoot. “I’m gonna do even better next time! I’m actually going to train! When is our next one?”  

 

Guess I gotta step up my game! I SUPPOSE if I’m being honest I wouldn’t be motivated to get my next 5k under 30 minutes if he hadn’t shaved 9 minutes off of his 5k time in a month like it was nothing. We are going on the road for our next, and Mommy is coming too! I’m looking forward to working hard and a whole heap of trash talk.
  

I’m making everyone do this next year! Race Report

It’s not too often that I sign up for a race days before it is to take place, but like I said, I’m hungry for stickers. Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a medal and a t-shirt. Let’s see how I run a 5k these days all by myself – no offense, Adonis. I love having you by my side but centering myself and focusing on my race – it’s pretty special. Plus, you can sleep in. 

I am not an amusement park person, so this was my first time at Legoland. Like Disney, we simply run through the park, but there is no free admission afterward. Whatevs. I think this park is for kids anyway. Oh wait,  I’m just a kid with a job. My strategy was to keep each mile at 10 something – definitely pushing for me but not too much, especially since I still was dealing with a cold that I couldn’t shake. Incidentally, I saw my doctor at the starting line. Who knew doctors actually do things they recommend? I might go back to her. 

I started toward the back with the thought of moving up as the race went along. I checked my watched frequently to make sure I was maintaining my desired pace. I coughed. I hacked up a partial lung. Doc was nowhere in sight. I pressed on. 

Aside from the coughing, I felt pretty strong. The former Cypress Gardens is beautiful. I saw the Water Park and made plans to frolic there later. I thanked God at each mile marker and grinned as I made the final turn. Evidently, the finish was just outside the park entrance, but the only reason I knew that was because that was where the medal holders were. No finish line sign?! I felt gypped, but otherwise I really loved this race and can’t wait to do it again with my family next year, especially since I think that’s the only way I can get them to come to the park. Great weather, well-organized. 18 out of 73 in my AG! I may be coughing but that’s better than sucking! Whee! 

  

He made me get dirty: Race Report

Just like a man. 

“The road is boring! I won’t like it!”

“Well, what about running through a park? Like on a trail?” 

“Yeah! Sign me up for that!” 

And just like that, Lady J signs up for her first trail run. I had never been SUPER against trail running. I just know the road and saw no pressing need or desire to venture onto the trail. Then there was Adonis, and clearly we’ve seen how he has ways of making me do a 180. He’s happy to be with some trees, I’m happy to be running with him, everybody wins. How bad could it be? So we find a 5k – his first, my first trail run of any kind. 

I liked it. I know that seemed like a segue into a disastrous story, but it wasn’t. Made ya look. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect aside from dirt. I got some dirt. I got some grass. I got a…hill at the very beginning of the race? Like a big ass one. Trail race organizers are jerks. Anyhow, the plan was to stay together and do 4/2 intervals to be very safe, since I wasn’t feeling too hot. The horn sounded and we are a-running. The space in the beginning was very open, and then we went into the woods where we had to run almost single file. 

I’m not gonna lie. It was very pretty! The weather was cool enough for a jacket. We passed a river. I jumped over some roots. We followed the flags that kept us from getting lost. It reminded me of running in elementary school through this trail that was behind campus! 

Indeed, it didn’t feel like quite the pounding road running is, as trail runners love to boast. The vibe was much more chill, which my not so inner-introvert appreciated. I know I will be back on the road, but I am definitely willing to get dirty again. I don’t think I would enjoy any distance longer than a 10k; I like seeing the road in front of me for longer distances. It helps with the epicness in my twisted brain. But I finished second in my age group! That fiancé, always getting me to do new things and rock at them. I’ll keep him. 

  

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