Monday, January 24, 2011

Forty by 40: Update #1

Week one of my "Forty by 40" challenge has come and gone... and I have survived. Actually, 5.5 pounds of me didn't survive. But that's the point, right? :) 

I am following the Weight Watchers PointsPlus program. It's the newest Weight Watchers plan, and wow, am I ever happy with the new changes to the program!  If you're not familiar with Weight Watchers at all, none of this will make sense to you... but if you are familiar with the Weight Watchers points system, here are the changes that I've noticed in the plan.
  • The number of daily points has increased.
  • You have 49 weekly points for "treats, extras, and special occasions."
  • The way a food's value in points is calculated is different now.  Instead of the old way of calculating it by taking into account calories, fat, and fiber, it now takes into account fat, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. This has caused some point values to have changed, so sadly, my beloved fruit rollups are now TWO points instead of one.  But since the number of daily points has increased, it's all good.  :)
  • The most exciting change, in my opinion, is the fact that ALL fruits and most vegetables are now ZERO points, no matter how many servings.
So there you have it... the updated plan in a nutshell. 

Total weight lost in week one:  5.5 pounds
Total exercise completed in week one:  84 minutes  

Total weight left to lose by 7/9/11: 34.5 pounds
Time remaining in the Forty by 40 challenge: 23.5 weeks

Friday, January 21, 2011

Forty by 40

I interrupt this Frugal Friday to bring you a public service announcement.  Although I am "39 and holding"... and would love to permanently keep that title, the truth is that I will be (gasp) 40 in six months.  And on that note, I hereby commit myself to "forty by 40."  My goal is to lose 40 pounds by July 9th.

About ten years ago, my (then) workplace had a "Weight Watchers at Work" program, and several co-workers and I signed up and followed the program together.  I have no doubt that my success (I lost about 25 pounds) was due to the accountability... we all would traipse off each week to our meeting together and announce to each other how much weight we'd lost that week, and so NOT sticking with the plan was really unthinkable to me.  Was it that I was motivated... or was it that I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of my co-workers?  Well, it was probably both. Hence my decision to make this announcement to my blog friends. Hopefully you all will motivate me... or embarrass me... into sticking with it.  :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What Happened to Modesty?

While searching tonight for various things online, I came across the book Christian Modesty: The Public Undressing of America. I haven't yet read the book, and so I can't vouch for it, but it looks VERY interesting. Here's how it's described on Amazon: 

The Church is being destroyed by sacred cows. A "sacred cow" is an untouchable subject that we are not supposed to discuss. To do so impinges upon another's "Christian liberty." Certainly, there are few sacred cows quite as sacred as the right of modern Christians to dress however they please. But in this groundbreaking work, Jeff Pollard challenges us to embrace God's standard and to understand the historical roots of the rise of nudity and immodesty in modern culture. His perspective is thoughtful and balanced. Most importantly, he accomplishes what few authors on this subject have achieved: a treatise that avoids both license and legalism. A courageous booklet.

I have found the book available for free here (in PDF form). Enjoy!  

P.S.  I would still love to have some feedback on my last post... anyone??  Hello?  Is this thing on??

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Open for Discussion: To Help or Not to Help...

I would love to have some "reader participation" on this one. For those who don't already know, I have several extended family members who have difficult lives, and in turn make life somewhat difficult for me. They don't purposely make things difficult for me, but one thing I've learned in life is that sins have far-reaching effects, and so oftentimes I get a bit caught up in the tangled webs that my relatives weave.

Earlier today, I heard something on a Christian broadcast that I've tweaked into a motto that I think will be helpful to me in decision making in regards to relating to/helping people in our extended family. Or for that matter, people in general... but specifically I’m thinking of our relatives.
As Christians, we should help others.
But we should NOT help others to live sinfully.
My questions for you, my blog readers, are these...

1.  Can you think of a better way to word this?
2.  How would you define "helping others to live sinfully"?
3.  Is there such a thing as "the lesser of two evils"?

Some things are clear to me. If a relative wanted me to sin for them, I would refuse. But some things are not as clear. Here's an example:

Let's say that a relative is applying for disability, and is lying on his/her application. If he/she put me down as a person who could answer questions about his/her disability, I would not lie for that person. That much is clear to me. But what about driving that person to a disability interview? Or what about something as small as making photocopies or mailing the paperwork in for that person? 

How far should we take the quest to not participate in other people's sins, and to not assist them to remain in their sins? How far is too far? Where is the fine line between being committed to not helping someone to remain in their sins and appearing to be a stark raving fanatic? This may be a ridiculous example, but how about an unmarried family member who is living with a boyfriend/girlfriend? Technically, even driving that person back to their home would be assisting them in their sin.

I guess a lot of this would call for independent judgment calls. To me it seems pretty obvious that helping someone move in with a boyfriend/girlfriend would be helping them to live sinfully (and would give the appearance of approval). But what about visiting that family member? Eating dinner at their house?

If I think about these things too hard, I fear my brain will explode. And so I have chosen you, dear blog readers, to do my thinking for me.  :) PLEASE comment with any thoughts you might have on this subject... or if you'd prefer, drop me an email!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

22 Years Ago Today!

Twenty two years ago today, my life changed forever.  I became a mother.  It strikes me more and more every year how long my son has been a part of my life.  I lived for 17 years without him, and now have lived for 22 years with him.  I knew him in my teens, my twenties, and my thirties (and sooner than I would care to admit, I will know him in my forties!).  

I am so thankful that God allowed me, a pregnant teenager who ran away with her boyfriend, the privilege of raising the sweetest boy who has become a God fearing man.  I know that most teenage pregnancies do not have such an outcome, and for that I am eternally grateful!

And so to celebrate 22 years of motherhood, I present to you my favorite picture from the day of his birth... father and son.

And for good measure, here's a picture of me with the birthday boy earlier today!  Am I the only one who thinks it's neat that he turned 2-2 on 1-11-11?

I love him more than words could ever say.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ten Things That Happened in 2010

**1/4/11... I can't believe I forgot to mention the kids' baptism in this list!  So I'm cheating and adding it here in this note.  :) **

Here are ten big things that happened in 2010.  Some are more exciting than others... but here we go! :)

1.  In January, my son turned 21.  Sniff sniff.  (And in ten days, he will turn 22!)

2.  On January 24, K&G's dad drank his last two beers... and has not had a drink since.  So on the 24th of this month, he will be alcohol-free for a year!!  This has made a huge difference in so many ways.  We are so thankful and so proud of him!

3. January was a big month. By January, the decision had already been made for me to quit my job in May in order to stay home and homeschool the kids. By the end of January, though, we had reached a breaking point, and pulled the kids out of school.  The following week we began a cooperative homeschool effort with our pastor and his wife. Their willingness to keep the kids during the day for us saved us from four more months of stress and unhappiness.  This was a big turning point in our lives, and I am so thankful for the way that God worked it all out for us!

4.  In March, I gave my official two month notice to my boss.  This was such an exciting time for me, but also a somewhat sad time, because of my attachment to my boss.  He hired me as an 18 year old (in a different job) and took me with him as he moved on to manage a brand new department.  I left for a better paying job at one point, and he worked for a long time to be able to create a position in his department so that he could bring me back.  It worked!  So we worked together off and on... mostly on... for 21 years.  We have the same sense of humor, and that resulted in 21 years of a fun work friendship.  

5.  In May, I quit my job and came home full time!  Words cannot even describe how excited I still am about this, 7-1/2 months later! 

6.  In July, I started homeschooling K&G.  Oh, and I turned 39...and holding!! Rik and I also celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. 

7. August marked the one year anniversary since K and I stopped wearing pants.  This reminds me that I meant to write a blog post called "One Year in Skirts"... but that must have been filed away in my senility file.  Surprisingly, we made it a year without anyone ever commenting or asking about the change in our wardrobe... but soon after that one-year mark, the family comments started coming!

8.  In October, the kids and I went to Texas to visit my sister and her family!  This was the first time that G had ever been on an airplane, and the first time K could remember being on one.  It was also the first time that they were able to meet my sister and her family, and a great time was had by all!  xoxoxo 

9.  November came and brought with it an ongoing medical issue for my sister-in-law. We had all stopped speaking to each other about two months prior, due to some family "drama" that our household was no longer willing to participate in.  In early November, she was hospitalized for ten days, and then later in the month she was back in the hospital for about two weeks.  After losing a half of a lung, she is back home and probably on oxygen for the rest of her life.  Her being in a near-death situation has caused her to reflect on her life more, and at this point, we are now enjoying a less stressful relationship with her.  Please pray for her health and her salvation!

10.  I am happy to announce that as of December 31st (yesterday afternoon) K&G completed their 2010 Bible reading plan.  Before you congratulate them too much, I should mention that I know neither of them truly read every word of the Bible.  I know that some portions were skipped in an attempt to get through their daily reading more quickly. :( However, they definitely read more of the Bible than they ever have in their lives, and I would guesstimate that they DID read at least 90% of the Bible.

2010 was a life changing year for me... and I hope that in 2011 and all the years to come, I will never forget to be thankful for all that God has done in my life this year.  I never want to forget how much God blessed me this past year by allowing me to stay home full time!