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Ready to Get Back to Work . . .

20 Jun

Ready to Get Back to Work . . .

I had my most hopeful interview to date this week at Langley AFB. I would have joined a small team of six trainers on an Air Combat Command contract.

I found out several hours ago that the job went to another candidate.

Too bad. But, though I am disappointed, I am not in despair.

I have been unemployed since December. I know the right job is out there and I am anxious to get back to work.

When depression threatens, I do what I have learned to do over the years that I have walked with the Lord. Meditate on His goodness and remind myself that nothing lasts forever. In fact, I try to imagine myself in six months, working, and I think about the smile that will be on my face then.

My 56th birthday will be Monday. Tomorrow I am going to ride to Northern Virginia so my best friend can treat me to lunch for my birthday.

Sunday we will worship.

Monday I will hit the job search hot and heavy once again.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Life is full of joys and disappointments. But mostly it is full of God and His goodness!

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How Thin is Too Thin?

15 Jun

How Thin is Too Thin?

I had a glad reality check at Weight Watchers yesterday. There is another gal there who, like me, has lost over 100 pounds. Her name is Stephanie and her exact total is right at 120 pounds. Also like me, she is a Navy contractor who used to be active duty.

My total has been 120 pounds when I was at my smallest (144). My gynecologist actually weighed me in at 264 a couple of months before I went back to Weight Watchers, so I will always have that weigh-in as evidence of how high my weight crept in the end.

However, as the attached photo of me in the red dress shows, even at around 150, I am still plenty slim.

So yesterday Stephanie announced that she had gone shopping with her granddaughters while on vacation and had had a stunning moment when she tried on a pair of pants in size 6 and had to send her granddaughters out to get her a size 4. When she said that, I cheered and clapped, probably more loudly than anyone else!

Yet, I told her later that my wide hips make it less than feasible that I will ever get a pair of pants in size 4. Size 6 if they are loose; size 8 if they are jeans/fitted. That is just how God built me.

And I am glad to note that without the slightest hint of envy. I like who I am and how I look. Stephanie looks fantastic. But we are two different people and our weight loss and maintenance is not a contest.

Better to be there to support each other. It always is.

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Eating Healthily on Vacation . . .

14 Jun

Eating Healthily on Vacation . . .

Today our Weight Watchers meeting had the topic of how to go on vacation without going off the rails.
Since Noel and I just returned from an eight day marathon run to Wisconsin and back to Virginia, and since we both lost weight (he lost 2 pounds; I lost 3.8), we had a lot to say about how to do healthy vacations. We are not perfect, but we found:
1) Keeping fruit, granola bars, and water in the car is an important move. Weight Watchers counts all fruit and most veggies as zero points. Go ahead and indulge. It won’t hurt you (unless you can eat your weight in fruit every day . . .). We also like to put some baby carrots in the cooler with our fruit.
2) Do stop at the regional places where everyone goes, even the chains. We love Culver’s and Steak and Shake in the Midwest, especially as we don’t have them near us in Virginia. But we go with a plan. I have not yet tried a shake at Steak and Shake, although my husband has. He still lost weight. We went to Steak and Shake twice this trip. The first time, I had a salad with chicken; the second time, a cup of vegetable soup. Both were very good and satisfying.
3) Don’t make vows that you won’t keep, like not eating dessert just because you don’t usually eat it back home. We attended the graduation ceremony at our son’s college in Wisconsin. Their culinary school made the cupcakes for the reception, so I had one. The two times we went to Culver’s, I had a small lemon ice, which tasted great and was a lower points alternative to a custard with mixins! At my parents’ house in Michigan, I let my mom serve me a half cup serving of her chocolate trifle two days in a row. Excellent stuff!
4) Salad is your friend, but so is soup. Along with the grilled chicken salads at Steak and Shake, Culver’s has some excellent salads with grilled chicken and fruit, too. I had one of those both times we went. Yet, eating only salad is a sure path to boredom and feeling deprived. So when we stopped at other places, I ate soup. A late night snack at Perkins during a sudden downpour led to me ordering a bowl of chicken noodle soup while my men got burgers. So did a late night visit to Cracker Barrel after we had our long day of driving through the mountains. Soup is good, especially when I am with my son and his first question is “Do you want your crackers, Mom?” The answer, for his entire life, has been “no.” He eats my crackers.
5) Cracker Barrel’s four vegetable sampler is the best thing going. Really! I ate it the other time we hit a Cracker Barrel on this vacation. A green salad, a sweet potato, green beans, breaded okra (indulgence, guilty pleasure!), and cornbread make for a very satisfying meal.
There are many ways to do vacations without gaining weight. Those are just a few tips from where we stand!
Have fun!

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God’s Not Dead, the Movie!

4 Jun

God's Not Dead, the Movie!

This movie might be very good. I haven’t seen it so I won’t comment.

However, the meme, shown with this post, is just theologically wrong. Satan, as a created being, can’t tell the future any better than we other created beings can.

Sure, he is probably a very good student of God’s Word. He would probably put most of us to shame.

And he is probably a very good student of history, too.

But that said, if we were good students of history and of the Word, we could do much to subvert him because he doesn’t have any resources that are not available to us!

Just a thought. I hate to see precious Christian brothers and sisters in a flummox because they believe that Satan knows the future or can read their thoughts.

A loving God can do both of those. But not Satan.

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I Am Everywoman (Walking that Fine Line of Balance . . .)

7 May

I Am Everywoman (Walking that Fine Line of Balance . . .)

I have often said that if I could lose a hundred pounds in one year (2012), then anybody can. I mean that. Anyone willing to adhere to the Weight Watchers system for a year can do what I did. There may be other systems that would produce the same result. I only know about Weight Watchers.

I often present myself as Everywoman. There is a valid reason to do that. I am not movie star beautiful and I am not an heiress and was not a straight A student, although I was pretty close.

On the other hand, there is a lack of balance that can adhere to presenting oneself as Everywoman one too many times.

For example, I went through Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS) in Pensacola, Florida in 1981-82. I don’t think that AOCS is for everyone, nor do I think everyone can complete it. There comes a point where I think I am allowed to acknowledge that, God helping me, I accomplished something that few women of my time did. By the way, many men in my day actually enrolled in that program and failed to complete it. It is okay for me to rejoice in something exceptional that happened in my life (it’s called an accomplishment!).

I say that because I have heard women say that they wish they had known me earlier so they could have gone through AOCS with me and completed a naval career. When they make that theoretical statement, I usually think that the life they are living is probably the one God actually wanted them to live. Theirs, not mine.

Theoretical is not actual. I actually went through AOCS and did the following:
1) Completed an approximate 3 mile beach run at 7-8 minute miles while in ranks (many of the men and all of the other women fell out of ranks. Several of them were vomiting from exertion).
2) Was rolled inverted underwater in a simulated helicopter and a simulated airplane while blindfolded. Extricated myself from my seat and seatbelt and found my way to the surface from both.
3) Parasailed behind a truck.
4) Was picked up by a helicopter dropping a line to me out in Pensacola Bay.
5) Drownproofed for half an hour in the base pool after treading water for ten minutes after treading water with my hands held still and out of the water for one minute.
6) Jumped from a high dive and swam the length of an Olympic-sized pool without coming up for breath.
7) Many other rugged requirements of which this is just a sampling.

In addition to the physical requirements, we had a heavy schedule of academics which actually challenged me even more than the physical program did.

Needless to say, graduation day was a day of rejoicing for me.

So, when someone makes a theoretical statement that she wishes she could have done what I did and had my career, I have to bite my tongue to not say that neither of us knows whether she would have graduated from the program . . . Many people did not.

We are all unique. My life has not necessarily been more challenging than someone else’s, even having gone through AOCS. Even with having had breast cancer at age 49. Even with having had a child with autism.

However, I will not negate my challenges and say they were not challenges. I will not say that anyone could handle them. But for the grace of God, even I could not! But His grace was applied to my life in these challenges because He willed them to be part of my life. That does not mean anyone else could have handled them in the same way or as well as I did. I am me. I have lived this life. Anyone comparing herself to me is just being theoretical.

It has become important to me to spell that out because a longtime mentoree who probably has borderline personality disorder seems to have become enraged at me that my life has turned out fairly successfully while hers has shipwrecked. From all I can see in her communication, she seems to wish she had had my life for herself without having had to put into it the effort I have put into my life.

In other words, she wants to have the same things I have worked for, but without the work.

Life doesn’t work that way, folks.

Yes, God has blessed me abundantly. But I have partnered with Him. I didn’t just lie down under an apple tree and wait for Him to drop blessings on my sleeping head.

God is sovereign; man has choice. Those two work together somehow.

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A Drink of Cold Water for the Soul!

17 Apr

A Drink of Cold Water for the Soul!

A Drink of Cold Water for the Soul . . .
Proverbs 25:25, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”
When I see a friend I have not seen in a while, I always think of the verses equating the experience with having a cold, refreshing drink of water.
I had that experience again earlier this year, amidst the snowstorms of February.
In fact, my friend lives in Ohio and was on the road with her daughter, who is an engineering student at Purdue University in Indiana. My friend came down to see me while her daughter was at a conference at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
They braved a snowstorm to get out of Ohio, ending up unexpectedly in a hotel in Pennsylvania overnight when whiteout conditions hit.
And my friend and I watched the weather.com website religiously for the two days she was here, eying another storm heading from the Midwest toward the East Coast.
Travel plans out of here had to be altered. My friend left earlier in the day than expected to get to Williamsburg, an hour north of here, before the East Coast storm started. She left Williamsburg later than planned the following day and ended up meeting her daughter in Washington, D.C. instead of picking her up in Annapolis.
In all of this, I watched weather.com in fascination, texting my friend as appropriate while she was on the road. I was never so glad as when she texted me that they had arrived safely home in the Dayton, Ohio area that weekend!
But what delight we had in each other’s company the two days she was here! We had met in our military reserve unit almost 20 years ago. She had influenced me to join the national Bible study that I still attend after 19 years. We have both taught ladies’ Bible study and enjoy a great theological discussion.
We went to a tearoom in the town where she used to live down here for a fancy lunch . . . and we could have stayed there talking all afternoon, just like in the old days!
A treasured friend, and one who encourages me to come outside of myself and my own petty concerns of the day to behold the greatness of our God!
A refreshing drink of cold water indeed!

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Dear Diary . . .

14 Feb

Dear Diary . . .

My perfect Valentine’s Day has downsized over the years. It had to do that, because I have been married to a frugal guy for almost 25 years and . . . when we marry someone, we inevitably change each other. That seems to be one of the reasons God instituted marriage in the first place–to smooth off the rough edges.

I started my Valentine’s Day at 2:45 AM. I had intentionally set my alarm, going to bed at 10 PM so that I could get up and watch “Woman of the Year” with Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy on Turner Classic Movies.

They did not disappoint me! I love that pair. Sad that their relationship never was based on the sound marriages they portrayed in their films, but their onscreen pairing certainly made a strong case for enduring marriage (and for forgiveness within marriage).

In “Woman of the Year,” Ms. Hepburn is portrayed as more the selfish, unreasonable partner who needs to change.

In “Adam’s Rib,” which I saw again earlier this week, Mr. Tracy is more the selfish partner who changes by the end of the film.

So they balance!

As do Noel and I. Two imperfect people, bonded by Christ’s love as well as romantic love.

After the movie was over, I crept back up to bed, only to find my husband already awake. He had fallen asleep in his recliner early last night while I was at Bible Study. He was slowly waking up for the day.

We lay there, talking for almost an hour before I drowsed back off to sleep and he got up.

What a precious time. I always think of the early morning quiet and darkness as velvety and intimate, not frightening like darkness can be at midnight when you are rushing a child to the emergency room or when you are lost on the road somewhere.

Such a good time to share your hearts in ways that belong just to the two of you, never to be shared on a blog.

This morning, when I finally got up, I scrambled us egg whites and served them with leftover blueberry scones I made for our meal at Bible study last night. It was a good enough treat. We don’t need heartshaped donuts!

Tomorrow night we will attend a Valentine’s party at the home of friends.

And, with that, I am content, having found a place to belong in a world that sometimes seems frighteningly random.

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