Monday, March 28, 2011

Sleep is not Under-rated!

Sleep...the one thing that, just a few years baack, I would have said: "I will sleep when I die" and firmly meant it.  Now, well, lets just say, more and more each day I find myslef further and further behind on the one thing I want more of than love.  I know, it is quite strange what a a couple of years into the third decasde of life will do for one's perspective.  Perhaps it is the burning of a candle at both ends, but in all honesty, am I?

I have completed the series of classes that I was taking, half-heartedly, on Wednesdays due to a grant that we received through Work One.  I do not think there is one thing I can actively recall from a single one of the classes.  Then there is there is my Bachelor's Degree that I am attempting to complete ( I will admit the Associate's was much much easier to obtain.), and now the Industrial Maintenance Tech Certification I am working on, from yet another grant through the state.  Yes I like to learn - we should all strive to learn more.  However, I am mentally exhausted.

I am also working 45-60 hours a week.  I know, cry me a river, right?  I love my job.  I love losing myself in my work.    I get a huge sense of accomplishment knowing that I am doing something that actually does make a difference.  It helps, too, that my company is awesome.  (No they did not pay me to say that!)

So why am I tired all the time...well, out of the 24 hours a day that we all have I spend 9-12 at work, 2.0-2.5 on the road, 4-5 sleeping, 0.5-1.0 exercising, and the rest is family and school.  Yeah - that doesn't leave much for either, now does it.

With that, I am updating my steps walked, and signing off.  I need to study for a test and read the kiddos a book, and somehow find time to sleep.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Steps to A Healthier Me

Ok, so I'm overweight, much the same way Walmart is a Chinese Warehouse...thats a gross understatement.  There are few things in my life I am not proud of, my current health is one of them.  Now don't get me wrong, I do look much as I do in the photo I have posted, but put another 35 pounds on me and you will be about right; afterall, a lady never reveals her dress size.  We are starting a new challenge at work on Monday, one I desperately need.  I have attempted to begin a health/workout routine here at home, but alas, the discipline is just not there.  You know it is hard to unlearn bad habits.  My biggest one...reading.   Ok, well the act of reading isn't bad.  In fact, it is a great thing.  However, what is bad is the fact that I will spend almost every shred of free time I have reading a book.  I keep telling myself this wouldn't be an issue if I could just get my husband to by me a stationary bike...yeah, he isn't falling for it either.

So what I have now, is a Jillian Michaels workout DVD, a mat, some small weights, a pedometer and sore muscles.  Then I got to thinking...what is one thing that I do  every single day, regardless of the intention...that's right, I walk.  I read an article a while back that said that 10,000 steps a day in whatever manner of acheiving them will help you to maintain or lose your weight.  Well, alrighty then!  I have shoes, intentions - albeit sometimes misappropriated, and a pedometer.  Game on!  Due to this I created a tracker bar.  Yes, progress is fun to watch.  I figured there are 365 days in a year, we have already lost 31 (Jan) + 28 (Feb) + 21 (some of Mar) and if I mustiply the balance by 10,000 steps I get a tidge under 3 million.  So there you have it, my tracker.  Today, in my regular working day, I racked up a bit over 5k.  Not bad, not bad at all.  Of course, there used to be a time when I could run a 4k in about 16 minutes, that being 15+ years, 2 marriages and 3 kids ago too!  Boy life has a way of taking hold of you when you decide not to fight it!

I doubt I will share my weight as it is embarrassing.  In fact, I don't think I will share a poundage lost either, but I will share my steps.  Who knows, perhaps by year end I can say I lost 10 pounds?  Not great, but a start at least! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Or at least that is what I hear.  Today has been a cacophony of thoughts rattling around in my head.  Actually it all started last Friday.  Well, that too, may be a misinterpretation of the time tables. You see, last Friday I had the opportunity to be a part of a very important phone call; one in which, my professional career was all but laid open for all to see.  Again, that too, is a stretch, there were only four on the line and I was one of them.  However, the point I am making is that, in that time, I was presented the opportunity to take a new found passion, combine it with one that I discovered years ago, and make money doing it, all at once.  Now that said, no, I didn't get a new job, yes and no.  I'm still with the same company, just that the roles that I will hold will be flexible in predetermined intervals.  For this I am wicked excited and beyond words to explain.

Then...there was this week.  It is amazing how a follow-up conversation can burst  your bubble.  Now don't get me wrong, the opportunity still exists, but this conversation was a matter of two...me and my boss.  The topic...appropriate and just compensation against the correct "bucket" if you will.  There, now my world gets turned upside down.  Is this what I want?  Do I truly know what I want?  Is this the will that God has for my life?  After all, I don't believe in coincidence, I believe in God, and far too much has occurred in rapid succession for doubt to be an objective participant in the game.  Where am I?  Where will I be?  A house divided cannot stand, the same is true for a brain. 

With that I am an emotional basket case.  I am petrified of my every move, I have no direct understanding and yet I continue down a defined path, one that I helped give structure to, only to find that there has been a detour along the way.  Have I enjoyed the journey?  Oh yes, in more ways than I will ever be able to explain.  Do I think I am going to be upwardly mobile?  I guess the only true answer to that is I hope that it is so, but in the interim, I am firmly planted in the here and now.  For as you are told when small, don't be fooled, for your eyes are always bigger than your plate.

I long for concrete answers and guidelines.  I am a black and white person in everything but my mind.  This place has an immense shade of grey.  Perhaps that is what comes from the melding of too many ideas, the yearning for a greener pasture prior to a drought, or is it a monsoon?  Regardless, the efforts need to be where they are in the moment and desire lead in all applicable matters of the position held.

Man it feels good to type it out...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It All Takes Time

This is the name of my blog, well, actually it is I Read Too Much, but to get here you have to type in ...italltakestime... and well, frankly, it does.  I woke up this morning a bit after 7am.  It felt so good to sleep in.  Then I read a book, goofed around on the Internet, watched two saved TV programs, cleaned the kitchen, cooked dinner, watched a 2.5 hour class and did homework.  Now, I'm sitting here still at my computer wondering where the day went.  That list, in my mind, in no way justifies the loss of 15 hours, yet it is. 

You know, a funny thing about time, we are all given 24 hours of it each day and yet no two of us uses it the same way.  All of our 24 hours are as unique as we are.  Kind of makes you really think; well, it does for me at least.  Then I got to thinking about the way time is manipulated.  For instance, tonight we are to move our clocks forward an hour in the observance of Daylight Savings Time.  Seriously, this is a big deal for some.  I guess in a way it is, but when you think regardless of how you manipulate a clock's hands you are still only given 24 hours in a day; it is just accounted for differently. 

Time.  We read about it, sing about it, fret about it, wish for more of it, wish for less of it, but truly it is what it is.  The accounting for it is the same no matter where you are.  1 year - 52 weeks - 365 days - 8760 hours, and I could go on.  The point I'm making is time is the one thing that despite what we will it to be, will continue on.  It always was and always will be because it itself is the creation of our God. 

In the beginning...time wasn't accounted for until then, thus, it too had a beginning.  God gave us light and "and saw that the light was good, and separated it from the darkness.  God called the light 'day' and the darkness he called 'night. And there was evening and there was morning -the first day." (Gen 1:3-5)  It is amazing to think that something that is so profoundly important to us, the thing we base all matters of our being to, had a start.  I think it is even more amazing still that it wasn't the first thing created; but it was the first life based parameter created.  Now work with me here as I form a parallel - well at least share one that my brain drew.

John 1:1-5 says; "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men,  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."  A couple things here:
  1. Genesis 1:1-5 the beginning of creation & time / John 1:1-5 the beginning of God the father & the Word (Jesus).
  2. Genesis: light and dark - the first day / John: "light shines in the darkness" - reference of Jesus in this world, in our lives.
OK, so I guess what I'm getting at is that we are because God is and we have time because He gave it.  The days we are given come and go - how will you spend them?

For your listening pleasure - or at least for a list of 10 songs about Time, go here: http://www.aolradioblog.com/2009/12/31/10-best-time-songs/ 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Confidence

A while back, I think sometime around Christmas of last year, OK so not that far back, I started getting, ummm, what is the word....morose, that's it.  It was such an overwhelming feeling, which, I suppose the word itself indicates.  I was yearning for, searching for, a way to speak out, to reach out, to share.  For those that know me, I talk, not just a little, but a lot; sometimes I actually have something to say.  Anyway, to my point, in this quest, I stumbled across a scrap booking forum.  I guess I should stop here because even in the seemingly random randomness of life, God is directing paths, in reflection, this was one of those times.  Like, I said I was directed to this scrap booking forum, where I created a profile, then diligently waited day after day for someone to say something to me, about me, yadda, yadda, yadda.  Guess what?  NADDA!  Exactly, I know, right?!  However, true that is in that regard, it isn't true in another.  I found another scrapper.  I read her profile and was intrigued, so I kept reading.  You know how I said yesterday that God knows exactly how to get out attention; He knows the exact thing that makes us have an ah ha moment?  This was it.  This scrapper, Patter Triple the Scraps, uses her God given talent (scrapping) to create a devotional for others on the forum, or for random passers-through, such as me.  Now, I've said all that to share this:

The 2011 challenge this scrapper gave was an ABC Scripture Challenge.  I was all set to be on top of the game to keep up, yeah they say the road of life is paved with good intentions, that is very much true.  Last night, as I was cleaning out my inbox I decided to print out all the emails from her devotional, I think there were all of a half dozen.  Anyhow, in my, I don't always start at the beginning-ness, I picked up Word #3.  And what pray tell was word three?  Confidence!  Go figure!  I will never cease to be amazed by a God who knows me more intimately than I know myself.

Confidence.  I struggle with this more than almost anything else.  Well, there is my temper, but that is for another lesson that I feel God is not too far from teaching me.  Back to Confidence.  I lack this in my personal life on many levels, my professional life more times that I care to count, but especially so in my spiritual life; particularly so when it comes to using my gift.  Here is the thing that God, through this random person, taught me about confidence today; there are two kinds!  Go figure.  There is a self-confidence, which we are all to have and wear as a badge of courage, but there is the far more important one, and that is God-confidence. 

God-confidence isn't to be over placed by our self-confidence, it is to precede it.  Confidence means "belief in oneself or one's powers or abilities; trustworthiness or reliability of a person or thing."  However, looking at the definition (thanks dictionary.com) there are a couple key words: powers or abilities.  Who do our talents, gifts, abilities come from?  God, that's who.  So how can we rely on self confidence, when the very things that define the word come from the God who created us?! 

With that, I leave you to this day.  Go forth with God-confidence that He lovingly designed and created you for a purpose that He knows and has given you the gifts, talents and abilities to carry it out.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Clarity

So tonight at church the message was on testimonies and how they are a critical part of a Christian's life.  Pastor had 10 passages that he referenced showing the various ways in which testimonies played part in the Bible.  I wrote down, OK, so maybe not wrote, more like swyped, the passages into the mini diary section of my phone (man I love technology); well until I exceeded the 1000 character limit I did.

  1. Psalm 107:2 - "...let the redeemed of the Lord say this..."
    1. Testimonies are vital to our walk with God.
  2. Psalm 66:16 - "...let me tell you what he has done for me..."
  3. Mark 5:19-20 - "...the man went away and began to tell...and all the people were amazed..."
    1. our testimony is to point upward not inward
    2. our testimony should be fresh and up to date and be about our salvation
  4. John 7:7 - "...because I testify..."
    1. God can use my testimony to convict a person
    2. We ought to proclaim the light
  5. Acts 14:3 - "...speaking boldly for the Lord..."
    1. people will take notice when you share about what the Lord is doing in your life
  6. 1 Corinthians 2:1 - "...proclaim to you the testimony about God..."
    1. your testimony doesn't need eloquence
    2. speak from your heart, let it be genuine
  7. 2 Thessalonians 1:10
    1. your testimony has to be believable
    2. as you speak listen to your conscience
  8. 2 Timothy 1:8 - "...don't be ashamed to testify about our Lord..."
    1. your testimony may encourage others
OK - so that is what I was able to capture. It was hard to get it all since I was also trying to listen, then of course with the 1000 character limit thing - but this brings me to my testimony; you know, the one that is relevant, comes from above, not from within, and that is still fresh and new and far from eloquent.

God amazes me.  I mean, here I am, a person, just like everyone else, that was created on purpose by a God who loves me.  And because I am wonderfully made he also knows what it takes to get my attention.  He knows what it is that makes me tick, click, and all those other descriptor words that are me.  This is true for us all.  You see, I have gotten into a place of complacency; a place where I was just going through the motions - church on Wednesdays, church on Sundays, and all the events in between.  Because of this God gave me an amazing gift a chance of a lifetime opportunity, a trip that I will never forget.  He sent me to Israel, now granted, my work actually sent me, but I know that the pieces all fell into place because my Jesus loves me and He had a lesson for me.  So here I was in the place where it all started; the land of the peoples that just like me, where wonderfully and purposefully created.  This place of all places where the life of our Savior was born, grew up, reached the lost, and lived His life as a walking testimony for our Father in Heaven, and ultimately paid the biggest sacrifice for our sins, OUR sins, MY sin, YOUR sin.  He did this all because He loved me/you enough to create us in the first place.  So this trip, which I spent more time in a conference room than out of it, was more than just business for my company, it was business for my soul.  And only a God who loves me that much, would have found the way to give me the practical application that I so desperately seek, in order to bring me this testimony.

With that, I leave you with a piece of me, my transparency in this regard, if you will, for a God that I love only because He first loved me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When

Kind of a bland title, I know.  However, that is the question; when.  For instance:
When will I understand my class?
When will I be comfortable with the skin I am in?
When will I have the confidence to go after the job I'd like to apply for?
When will I know if my decisions are right?
When will I know what God's will is for my life?
WHEN WHEN WHEN WHEN WHEN...IT ALL TAKES TIME!

It all gets to be pretty circular and never ending.  For instance do I have so many "when" questions simply because I do not know the true meaning of happiness?  I know that these questions are all vaguely familiar, in fact I believe I just talked about each of them in my last post.  Guess I have come to the resolution that I thought that I had.

My mind hates me.  No, seriously, hear me out.  It hates me due to the fact that I twist it and contort its thougths until I work it into mental oblivion.  Scary isn't it?  Try being in my head for a day, you would really see.  Now, don't get me wrong here, I am not a mental case, I don't need happy pills, a straight jacket or a padded room.  What I need is to have some understanding.

Understanding about what I am and who I am, this of course beyond the obvious - a female named Mandy.

I am a person.  I was created on purpose and for a purpose. (God doesn't make mistakes; which is humbling in and of itself.) I am a Christian -  a poor one at that, but I have given my heart to God, I believe that His son died for my sins, and that the Holy Spirit wants to sanctify me wholly.  I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend.  But through this all I am still lonely.  I have a short fuse and the self confidence of a piss ant.

Perhaps the answer to the when is more a want.  Perhaps my eyes are bigger than my stomach and my plate is overflowing?  Perhaps I need to go on a diet, in both the traditional and theoretical senses of the word.  Well, there you go, I've completed another word circle and I am no where close the start of it.

So, with that, I will bid this post, adieu and until next time...when....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Giants in my Life

Why does something always look and feel monstrously large when there isn't a way to firmly grab a h old of it?  Does the simple fact that it is so big instantly mean that there is no faith in the beholder?  Does the "giant" indicate the person is simply not strong, not smart, not destined, not something that would be the defeating answer?  This is where I am.  I am facing a giant.  Perhaps this giant is big because I am distorting the facts of it, but perhaps it is because I am repeatedly being presented with it.  Here it is:

my degree - I'm struggling here man.  Am I struggling because I'm not smart enough for it, because it isn't a passion of mine, because I don't give it more time, because it isn't what God wants for my life?  Or is it more simply because I am too lazy to become the smartest person in the classes, to make it a passion, to give it time, or to realize it is God's will for my life?  Seems too circular for my taste.

I know that the simple fact of something being the will of God doesn't make it a walk down Easy Street, but seriously already, why can't I get it?  Why do I fail?  Should I not "get" all this school stuff because I use it on an almost daily basis?  Then that leads me to another dilemma.

Ok, so I have an assignment for one of my classes that I have to design a job, create a resume and cover letter to go with the job and a one minute commercial to sell myself for it.  So here is the thing, there is a job that I want.  In fact, I have, what I believe to be, a correct job posting for this.  No granted it is unofficial and it was created (the posting, not the job) at my request so that I could use it for my assignment.   So here is this giant, do I put my heart and soul into this project knowing that it is a project or that there may be at some time the opportunity for me to actually present it for real?

There you have it.  My giants.  Which brings me to a story of David and Goliath.  A famously remembered old Testament story.  Here was this little Shepherd boy, who armed with only 5 smooth stones and a sling, went against the tallest man alive and defeated him.  He was confident because he knew he was in God's will and because of that it took him one shot and one shot only.  And that my friends answers my initial question.  It is amazing how writing, or in this case typing, things out helps to bring about a level of clarity.

I simply need to apply more of myself to the tasks at hand and stop looking forward to what may or may not be.  The giant in my path is simply the reflection of my insecurities.