Monday, June 30, 2008

Props to Smoke-Free Iowa!

This is allegedly the ceiling painted in a corporate smoking room. It's one of my favorite pictures to use for risk factor education. Hooray to Iowa for going smoke-free in ONE HOUR! Lots of dedicated people worked tirelessly to make this happen. Thanks to all of you for believing in what I'm sure seemed impossible at times. God bless you all.
Tea tonight: Stash Red & White Fusion

Only a song today: How You Live

One of my all-time favorites

Tea today: Tazo China Green Tips

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Be Careful

Found this on PostSecret today - my Sunday message to all of you, whether I know
you or not.
Tea today: Green with strawberries

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday's Feast # 195

What is the weather like today where you live?
Humid, hot, cloudy
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how career-minded are you?
Career-minded? a low 4. Job-minded? 1 (today). Bad question for a Friday!
What type of window coverings do you have in your home? Blinds, curtains, shutters, etc.?
Blinds on the inside, Mother Nature's special protective coating on the outside that I can barely see through. Nothing on my kitchen/breakfast nook windows - the water side of my "water-front property!"
Main Course
Name something that instantly cheers you up.
Phone calls from my kids, anything with 11:11 or 1:11 or 1.11 - you get the picture. I get more of the latter than the former :(
How many times do you hit the snooze button on a typical morning?
4-5 I've been told, usually don't hear the first 3.
Tea tonight: Young Hyson

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hitting the "James"

Haven't been to the gym lately - so long that I should call it "James." (props to the voice on TV I heard say that the other night...) It's been too nice outside to spend the time among the sweat, odor, and germs that hover over the hummm in there, so I've been choosing instead to bike or walk through moldy cornstalks and left-over tornado and flood garbage on the bike trail. Great options, huh?

So tonight as I was pumpin' to 33 Miles on the Roman chair, this tattooed home-from-college kid with ginormous biceps said, "Hey lady, how long you gonna hang out on that thing?" "As long as it takes," I said *smiling,* planting my road-mapped legs a few more times. Garmin's got nothing on me. My iPod wasn't loud enough to drown out his "maybe next year" to his 'buff and cut' friend. I ignored him, finished my reps, and went about my business. But I was watching him as he got on the chair. I had done 80 reps with a 4.5 kg plate. He did 25 and he was dying. I counted. Carefully. I don't have huge biceps or barbed wire tattoos, but I smoked him on the chair. Besides, Sonny Boy, I know your mother. And your Father. So chill. I'm gunning for 90 next time, and I hope you're counting. And I'll have you know, I'm more than twice your age. I forgive you for treating me like chopped liver, because you just haven't reached the point in your life yet when you realize it's not about you. You will. I just hope you glanced at your forearm, saw that tattooed cross, and thought about how much more He had to lift for you than you will ever lift for Him. Because that's what I thought about when I was on about # 65. Perhaps you were there just to remind me of that. So thanks for that. For sure.
Tea tonight: Heavenly Tea Passion Fruit Green

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Playlist by God. Really.

Long bike ride through the Greenbelt today, just ask my "sit bones." iPod in tow. For you purists, I KNOW you're not supposed to ride with ears plugged. Get over it. I was careful. One bad crash in a lifetime is enough. I needed thoughts other that the ones my own brain was generating so I could change my outlook on the day. On the way up, I listened to Pastor John's sermon from last week (6/15). Just like a spring vegetable soup with a sprig of fresh rosemary, it's always better the second time. He was talking to me. It was wrapping up; I was listening to the last 2 songs when I arrived at the Labyrinth in Cedar Falls. I love stopping there and prayerfully walking through the purposeful path of brick and rock, listening to the music. The pea gravel gets in my bike sandals, hurts like crazy, but I just try to look at it as the Lord's Pedicure. I love that path. There is no mystery, just like life, we know where it starts and where it will end and it is awesome. Powerful. Uplifting. In between is the winding path with twists and turns and going back and feeling like you're starting over, feeling like you've got the same rocks in your sandals. Yea, like life.

On the way home, my music was on "Shuffle." There was no random shuffle about it - it was God's playlist. Everything played in perfect order for my mood, from "A Mother's Prayer" to "Anyway" to "Million Pieces" to "Stand" to "Thank You" to "God Will Make a Way" to "Grace Changes Everything"....and when my mind started wandering a bit and I had this out-of-the blue crazy thought about maybe some day moving somewhere else, what song came on at precisely that time? None other than Bert and Ernie's "I Don't Want to Live on the Moon." I'm no doubt the only AARP member who has Bert and Ernie on their iPod.

"...I would miss all the places and people I love
so although I might like it for one afternoon
I don't want to live on the moon."
Then about living in the sea?
..."I might stay for a day there if I had my wish
But there's not much to do when your friends are all fish
And an oyster and clam aren't real family
So I don't want to live in the sea."

That was no shuffle, that was a Divine Playlist. I'm never surprised by these happenings anymore. To the contrary, I expect them. The only song that would have surprised me was "God Blessed the Broken Bra that Led Me Straight to Kohl's." Now that would have blown me away.

For the record, I looked at my speedometer at least 4 times going 11.1 mph (nasty headwind). I glanced down when I had gone 11.1 miles, and I was at the most deadly corner on my ride, waiting to cross Viking Road, when my ride time read 1:11:11. Now try and tell me that I didn't have Company, other than my better half. Wow, what a ride. God was shifting my gears today.

We came home, showered, and attended a celebration for a neighbor who has now completed 3 1/2 years of IV and oral chemotherapy for leukemia, including 40 spinal taps. Oh, and he graduated this year. Diploma didn't mean nearly as much as that last lab report.
Tea tonight: Republic of Tea Pink Grapefruit Green Tea "Sip for the Cure" - just for you, Sam

Saturday, June 21, 2008

At last...the Bike Ride

Wasn't sure I'd have the energy or gumption get my bike out of the basement this summer. With the trails covered with flood waters, then the debris left when they receded, it was with a bit of trepidation that I ventured out on the trail to downtown Waterloo today. My better half accompanied me (this time he wore the biking gloves right side out), and other than the occasional brisk head wind, the more frequent gust from the north that nearly threw me in the brush, and the random burst of flood stench, it really was a delightful ride. That's because there was a lot of "Bunny Park" smell - that enchanting odor from my childhood that one can only find in a deeply wooded paradise that takes me back to Green Lake camping days, Keds, and the simpler life. Bunny Park = God's Country. Ahhh. My childhood friend Dan would understand. But what a shock to ride across the still-raging Cedar River, seeing the collapsed railroad bridge with my own eyes, and the trash-littered landscape all the way into downtown.

I'll ride again tomorrow. For a few months, I forgot how free and airborne one can feel. But I'm once again hooked, and I can't wait to hit another trail. This time I'll remember the mosquito repellant.
Tea tonight: Zhena's Gypsy Lemon Jasmine

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday's Feast #194

Newcomer to Friday's Feast
Do you consider yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist?
I fear I'm a paradox - in my heart and soul I'm an eternal optimist, but on the outside I can sometimes bleed pessimism. I'm working on that. Ask me again in a couple of months.
What is your favorite color of ink to write with?

Black (bean).
How often do you get a manicure or pedicure? Do you do them yourself or go to a salon and pay for them?

I've only had two in my lifetime. I find the money better spent elsewhere, now that I know how they do it - dental tools, sandpaper, and emu oil work fine for me. And you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
Main Course
Have you ever won anything online? If so, what was it?

YES! A set of Rachael Ray Furi knives. They were awesome, but I gave them to my son who enjoys chopping and dicing as much as I do. Remember, Luke - sharpen and hone. Knuckles out. And never put in the dishwasher!
In which room in your house do you keep your home computer?

Heaven forbid, is my lap considered a room? Yikes, I hope not. Wherever my lap is, there shall be my computer.

First Day of Summer

Longest day of the year. There was a time when I considered that a good thing.
Do what we can, summer will have its flies.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tea tonight: Heavenly Tea Green Walnut

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Iowa. Floods. Need Shoes?

Enough said.Tea tonight: Traditional Medicinals Organic Green with Ginger

Monday, June 16, 2008

Missing Tim

I really liked Tim Russert. Aside from the fact I become easily enamored by people on TV who actually know what they're talking about, and who actually know who they are talking to, he was a genuine "down home" boy who never forgot where he came from. He exuded humility. You could see that in his interviews, in his shows, and in the respect he showed to everyone. He helped me understand politics the way Mr. Hamilton never could (besides, at that time, spit wads and passing notes had priority). I felt like I knew him - and surely he knew me. After all, he was in my family room talking several times a week. And I loved the way he unapologetically spoke of his faith and loved his family. I am as fascinated with his death as I was his life.

So when I heard he died of a heart attack, I was particularly taken aback. Was I surprised? Absolutely not. Was I saddened? Oh yes. I've been in the health/prevention/cardiac business for over 34 years, and my husband (who is Tim's age) will tell you I predicted Mr. Russert's demise a month or so ago. And I only saw him on TV - never met the guy in person. It was the weight, fluid retention, hard-driving style that told me he was working his way to heaven on the fast track. I've seen it a thousand times.

So a word to all of you twenty-somethings out there - here's the skinny, and I don't use that word loosely. Take heart, Luke Russert. Carry your dad's legacy and listen up. Heart disease doesn't start in adulthood - it starts in childhood with poor choices (our "All-American" choices) including food, drink (aka alcohol), and activity. There's a little bit of bad luck involved, but as many scientists will tell you, "Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger." Some of us just picked the wrong mom and dad when it comes to heart disease. But when your mom said eat your vegetables, dine from the sea, stay out of the cookie jar, and go ride your bike, it wasn't for punishment. It was because Mom Always Knows Best (well, some do) and she loves you. Fatty streaks, the precursor to coronary artery disease, have been found in children as young as ten. The damage to the arteries occurs over time, and by the time you have a piece of plaque that is blocking 30-40% of an artery, you are a heart attack waiting to happen, and it's quite possible you may be only 30-something. Those 30-40% blockages are the causes of heart attacks, not the 100% blockages. And always keep that waist size under 40 (women - 35). And women are just as vulnerable as men - often moreso.

My heavy heart is with the Russert family. Apparently God needed a really smart politico in heaven before this election. And maybe this is a message to us all. Take care of yourself before something preventable has it's way with you, slams you, cripples you, kills you, has your family asking why?? Because once it strikes, it never goes away. Unless you're superhuman like the Dean Ornish type (kudos to them).

There is nothing more sad that a 30-40 year old bypass patient (or dead person) with small children left to survive on their own. Out of work, disabled from heart disease, fear of walking to the mailbox lest another event is precipitated, always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Good blood pressure, good cholesterol, and proper weight in your early years do not make you immune from the disease process. It is happening as I speak. And for the sake of your body, that holy temple the Good Lord blessed you with, keep the trash out of it, keep it moving, and pray like it's your last day on earth.

Heart disease was not Tim's bailiwick. Journalism is not mine. Surely we can all help each other.
Tea tonight: Heavenly Tea Organic Bamboo Green (how appropriate!)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"The Greatest Man I Never Knew"

Props to Reba (and Kelly) for my blog title tonight. I feel entitled to use it because on October 7, 1998, I was minding my own business driving home down Highway 63 and she literally whopped me up the side of the head with a two by four when I heard this song for the first time. My dad Chuckie died on October 11, 1997, so if you listen to the words to this, you'll know why it was a major Godwink for "had been almost a year..."

There are three times a year when I get that dis-ease inside that feels like I put sadness, joy, peace, fear, regret, and gratitude in my Cuisinart belly, push the "ON" button, and leave it running until the motor dies. Spent. Exhausted. BURNT. OUT. Those three times are Memorial Day, Father's Day, and October 11. So here on the eve of Father's Day, the "pulse" button is starting and I'm really missing him a bunch. Even after all of these years, there are things I find myself wanting to ask him, pick his ordered, logical, accountant brain (ok, "anal" would describe it better), and hear more stories about what his world was like. I want to surprise him again with a visit up at the river and take that spontaneous boat ride (sans wing dam surprise). After reconnecting with my Father listening to Quiet Night (again!), I will listen to this song over and over on my iPod tonight as I beg for some REM sleep, and know that when I wake up, my eyes will be puffy and crusty with dried tears and it will be yet another Father's Day he's been gone. But I'm one Father's Day closer to being with him again.

I hope he's ready - I have a list of questions for him. And I'm sure he'll point out the moon he mistakenly thought I hung. He knows now it wasn't me, doggone it. I love and miss you, Dad. I'm pretty sure there is no sand in the boats in heaven. And if there is, it doesn't bother you any more, does it?

PS - You rolling in that grave tonight after we sang those Baptist hymns jazzed up with a band in church tonight? Nah, you loved it :-) It was just another tribute to you and your Baptist upbringing. PTL.
Tea tonight: Adagio pi lo chun

Monday, June 9, 2008


Life is ever

Since man was born,

Licking honey

From a thorn.

-- Louis Ginsberg
Tea today: Dragonwell long jing

Sunday, June 8, 2008

pRaYeRs for a rAiNy sUnDaY

There's something to be said for a day that God has literally made me a prisoner in my own home. I guess prisoner is rather strong - "blessed me with chosen captivity?" The rain has not stopped for nearly 24 hours, to the point that gutters are overflowing, the pond is at it's brink and dribbling over the edge, and the grass (aka hayfield) that was mowed yesterday will be another inch taller tomorrow. I don't think R's blisters from the last mower marathon have healed yet. So with tornado warnings, torrential rain, and streets filled with rushing water, I'm not budging, though the only place I'd intended to go was the gym. And maybe for a few groceries. Pasta will do us for yet another night. Pair that with random left-overs and we won't starve. I have eggs and free asparagus, so an asparagus popover may be in order. One serving of lettuce which can be easily stretched for two. One sweet potato which would serve two, but Mr. Picky won't eat that. So I've spent the day between doing a work project (sounds so much more important than a "mandatory annual assignment") and cleaning bathrooms, putting up the rest of the screens (irony - can't even open the windows!), and the ever-present dusting, vacuuming, and laundry. But had this been a sunny day I would have taken a very long bike ride and gotten nothing else done. I would have ridden for hours into God's country. I woke up with the "I need to get away from it all" mindset. God had different plans - His persistent "wherever you go, there you are" control that He frequently reminds me about. So despite invites from two different friends for different entertainment options, I stayed here, moped a bit, prayed for some answers to a few questions weighing on my mind, one of which was "How could I lose the key to the $49,000 car that was entrusted to me this weekend and where is it?" Only One knows the answers.

And for sure, my back goes out more than I do.
Tea tonight: Green with pink grapefruit - "Sip for the Cure"

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lookin' for that free car. Holla.

I hate car$. I'm looking for one to le$$en the burden at the pump. My current FSP doesn't work into my plan.

But I love to listen to Dave Ramsey. He would like my cupboards full of samples and the recent financial restraint that I could never have imagined a year ago, though if I ever went to see him in person, I may have to cave and buy myself something new to wear. I only wish I would have found Dave and his principles 30 years's why:

Had I started the free car program 4-5 years ago, this process would be well in place. My question to you is, knowing full well the next 4 years will pass (just like the last 4 years did), where will you be sitting with your car? And where will I decide to go? I want to be a good steward of the resources God has given me, and I'm heaven-bent on doing better this time. I pray and struggle and pray some more that my choice will be wise and right. And as I do, I know the ol' Honda Wag-O-Van is probably still running somewhere - and paid for.
Tea today: Genmaicha

Friday, June 6, 2008

Rising from Destruction, Part 2

My friend Beth stopped by to see me at work today with her two beautiful daughters. Laughing, giggling, Beth looking tanned and rested, her blue eyes as huge and awesome as ever, one would never know she and her family had lost everything in the tornado last week. Well, everything except each other. Her calm was astounding to me - "It is what it is" she shrugged, as she told me of the love and outpouring that they have received from friends, family, and community. "We never found Jenna's dresser..." "The neighbor's car was blown right through our house..." She was so matter-of-fact, it just stunned me. I asked about her wedding rings she had lost; she had left them on her dresser when they left for the weekend. FOUND! After sifting through piles of insulation and debris with gloves, one handful at a time, she found them. I got goosebumps. As she told me of the kindnesses extended by her priest and friends, I was the one crying (?). Truly she has turned this whole thing over to God. She is noticibly humbled and grateful and at peace. It shows. But with her family intact, I guess she has reason to be. God bless you, friend. I'm so glad you're safe. I miss seeing you often and we never got around to discussing it, but yes, I still pick the blood vessels out of my meat and I think about Country Fried Steak every payday Thursday.
Oh no, You never let true.
Tea tonight: Sweet Sakura

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

11:1 - over. and over.

It's been a dry spell on the treadmill, bike trail, and even the streets. If it's not pouring down rain and 35 mph winds, the treadmills are full when I get to the gym and I don't get my fix. Let me clarify "fix." On the trails, it's my "new favs" playlist on my iPod. On the street, it's a sermon on my iPod - Pastor Mike, Justin, Pastor John - they all make me feel safe out there in the dark. But in the gym, my fix is 11:11, 1.11, get the picture. No matter what I'm listening to on the mill or EFX, no matter how focused I may be on "According to Jim" or my iPod, or even the 6:oo news (that would be channel 11 on cable - honest!), my eyes always glance down and every single time, no less than two, and sometimes 4 LED displays will give me those elevens throughout my workout. Minutes. Calories. Distance. METs. It's uncanny. I used to ask what it meant, but now I know. It's just the Holy Spirit talking to me, telling me "All Will be Well." Sometimes I purposely cover up the display, and will see elevens on the clock, or even on the machine next to me. Those Godwinks don't surprise me any more - they just bring peace. They remind me to keep the faith, live in service, and that God's grace is mine. And tonight, at 111.1 calories, I took a drink. Boy, did I. From the Cup. So as I'm writing this, I get this picture in an email from KT. Not an accident, this was an
::on purpose::
from above. If you can't read it, it's Hebrews 11:1. Go figure. God rocks.
How about you - have you been paying attention to your subtle visits from God?

Tea tonight: Green with dried strawberries

Sunday, June 1, 2008

On Being Prepared: She Runs! She Shines!

My baby girl ran her first 20K on Saturday. She was trained, as prepared as she could have been, and all prayed for. "Run the race, finish the course..." More about life than a 20K, but it worked. She was all nervous and excited and really didn't know what to expect but whoa, she did me proud! After getting lost all around Des Moines (in the exact area we had driven the night before) I finally found a "No Parking on Saturday" sign so knew I was in the right place to get a video shot. The water stop volunteers told me they thought it was about the 8 mile mark, but they really didn't know. It was really the place I'd hoped to be, and how I ended up there was nothing short of an act of God. The compass on my car and the map in my hand did me no good whatsoever. But the only person who needed to know where to go was KT - and that was simply one foot in front of the other and on the heels of the person ahead of her...with her eyes on the Prize. She finished in fine form, still sweating (hooray!) and with a satisfied look like she'd just won the whole thing. I miss that smile. I don't get to see it very often any more. She even finished ahead of one of her "Three's Company" roommates, who had over-carbed and super-fueled so much that his liver was working harder than a 12-shot night. Kudos to KT for reaching a goal and setting another - all in the same 24 hour period. With the best Coach she could have. Next stop, Sturgis Falls, then on to Chicago, glycogen storage and synthesis permitting.
It's all about the liver function and the mitochondria. Hope she feeds them both well. O 2 B 29. again....and to know what I know now.
Tea tonight: Harney and Sons green with citrus