Archive | September 2012

Fitness Friday: Week 4

As I mentioned before, I was out of town last week and tried to keep up my exercises in the hotel room. I wasn’t about to sacrifice space to bring my hand weights, so I found myself in a pickle when the workout called for them. I looked around the room and decided that the Gideon Bible would have to do. It’s always good to “lift the Lord up.”

I also found that being on the 8th floor presented a problem when it got to jumping jacks. It was like trying to vacuum without waking a baby. The two beds in the room were also problematic when doing stretches that required lots of space.

This week was the “recovery phase.” It was more of the flexibility training, although I did get in some core work. Let me just say that I will likely never be able to do this:

I did kind of skimp on my yoga yesterday, but I still got in a good 40 minutes or so. (The DVD is an hour and a half, but Pete and I went to help Sara paint her new town home.) Yoga isn’t my favorite. I prefer kenpo.

Fitness Friday: Week 3

Pete and I were in Minnesota last Saturday and Sunday, so it was my first time doing P90X away from home. I was proud of myself for keeping it up, even though all I could think about was breakfast on Sunday morning. I might have slacked in plyometrics that day.

On Monday, I was hungry and super tired after work, but exercised anyway. Thanks to Pete for telling me I really did want to work out when I whined that I didn’t.

Right now, I’m in Buffalo to cover an event for work. (More on that later!) I continued my exercises when we arrived yesterday, but today I had the option to do the stretch DVD or rest and I chose rest. I also had some delicious dessert a couple of hours ago that I’m sure Tony Horton wouldn’t approve of. (He’s the P90X guy.) But it was soooo good. Plus I’m getting up early tomorrow to do yoga before we start working and I’ll be walking around a lot, so I don’t feel TOO bad.

I also had a personal triumph a couple of days ago when I did the last move on the Ab Ripper DVD to the max! It’s called the Mason Twist and it was the first time I got all the way through without pausing. Yay me!

Perfection

I’ve debated a million times whether to write this post or not. I don’t know how many people will read it, but it’s more for myself than anything — a way to say publicly “this is a struggle for me and it’s not the end of the world after all.”

I work with some of the most beautiful women I know. You know the type. Flawless skin, clothes that fit just right, jewelry that’s understated yet fashionable, and hair that ALWAYS looks good, even when she claims it’s dirty. You get the impression that even her mother doesn’t have an awkward picture of her. Shoes always fit the occasion, and she likely doesn’t own any “fat jeans.” She turns down chocolate and opts for raw vegetables.

I’ve been better about it lately, but sometimes I have what I call “off days.” Days when my confidence is shot, when my outfit doesn’t quite work and I generally feel icky. These are days that I could easily be jealous of the seemingly perfect women walking around, but it’s harder when they’re nice.

I’ve told Pete about my off days and he tells me I’m ridiculous. He calls me beautiful on a regular basis and says I look nice on the days I least expect it, but sometimes I have a hard time believing it.

I doubt there’s a female in this world who hasn’t wanted to look or be different in some way at some point in her life. If only I were taller, shorter, slimmer, curvier, had straight hair, curly hair, darker skin, lighter skin, etc., etc., etc. For me, my skin gives me the most grief. My mom, a few close girlfriends and Pete know the most about this. I’ve struggled with it since 6th grade and I feel like it’s high time the battle ended. Yet, here we are, nearly 15 years since the frustration began and I’m still complaining about it.

It’s not just that it’s oily or refuses to be clear. It’s the fact that I don’t want to look people in the eye because I don’t want to know what they’re thinking. It’s the way I try to avoid looking at people in sunlight because natural light makes it look worse. It’s embarrassing, frustrating and makes me want to peel my skin off and start over. I even debated skipping a trip to see family in TN a while back because I didn’t want them to see me.

Pete tells me I’m being silly, which I appreciate. It’s not like every day of the last 15 years of my life has been this way, but it’s always been up and down. If one more person tells me that oily skin makes me less prone to wrinkle, I might scream. I’d rather use an anti-wrinkle cream. (Sounds like the beginning of an adolescent poem.)

Then there’s my profile. I inherited my dad’s nose, which looks great on him, but not on me. I hate to see pictures of me from the side. My grandmother once tried to make me feel better by calling my nose “distinguished,” but I still wish it was different. … And I won’t go into the ugly veins on my feet and legs.

Several weeks ago, though, despite the insecurities and bitter diatribe, I was convicted. It started with a verse I read at work — one I’ve heard before but one I sought out again when feeling pretty low. It comes from 1 Samuel 16:7:

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

It’s pretty amazing to realize that the perfectly loving, perfectly wise God who made the heavens and the earth also made me, and that He doesn’t make mistakes. By beating myself down, it’s like beating down His creation, and, well, that’s just not cool. He loves me completely, unconditionally, no matter what my veins look like.

I still get self-conscious — that’s not going to change overnight — but here’s my end-of-year resolution: try to see myself in God’s eyes and hope that He avoids fluorescent lights, too. So what if I don’t like my profile? At least I have eyes to see myself. And who cares if my face gets shiny? I’ll steal the argument that I’m less prone to wrinkle. … I’m here, I’m breathing, I have legs to walk, a wonderful husband, and great friends and family who will always tell me when I’m being silly or ridiculous.

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”
– Psalm 139:14

Millie and Maggie

Pete and I spent last weekend in Minnesota. We went to a wedding Saturday evening, but earlier that day, I had a chance to go on a long walk/run around the neighborhood and swing at the playground — still one of my favorite pastimes. When I got there, there was a grandmother and her two granddaughters. The oldest, Maggie, was 5. Her sister, Millie, was 2 1/2. Maggie asked me what my name is and I told her that, unfortunately, it doesn’t start with a M.

Maggie took the swing next to me and grinned really big, showing me the front tooth she just lost. I asked if she got a visit from the tooth fairy, and she said she has a special pillow for that — a pillow with a pocket on it.

Millie took the swing on the other side of me, the kind with the two holes for the legs, and asked me what my mom’s name is. Then what my grandmother’s name is. Then it was Maggie’s turn again.

“I like your shorts,” she told me. I was glad to see that my old blue running shorts are still fashionable to Generation Y … or Z, or whatever kindergartners are.

A few minutes later, Millie held her arms up in the air, waiting for her grandmother to get her off the swing. “I need to show Tippany the hole,” she said. “I want to show Tippany.” She got off the swing and cautiously ran in an arc in front of me to avoid my feet in midair. She ran over to the slides — in that shuffle kind of run little kids with short legs do, then carefully walked into a little ditch under the slides, completely amused. It took her three tries to get out of it, saying. “Whoooa!” every time she tipped backwards, then laughing. …

I wish I remember being 2 1/2. I do remember a few things about being 5, like playing in the two-foot high “sandbox” in my kindergarten classroom, scraping up sand with empty ketchup bottles, or reading cardboard books on a beanbag by the cubbies. I remember feeding our classroom mouse Peaches, and learning to square dance in gym class.

I still feel silly when I think about drawing a picture of a brontosaurus for a husky, curly-haired kid named Will, then telling him I wasn’t the one who put it in his cubby even though it had my name on it. I remember spinning on the tire swing outside and the time a hot air balloon landed on the lawn of our elementary school. I still want to go in one of those someday. I also remember my kindergarten teacher, Miss Cruz (not sure how she spelled it), meeting her fiance outside of our mobile unit one day to kiss and look lovingly into each other’s eyes. We spied on her and giggled or said things like, “Ew, gross!”

I really enjoy being a 20-something, but if I could go back to single digits sometimes, I would do it.

This entry was posted on September 17, 2012, in Life. 1 Comment

Fitness Friday: Week 2

I still hate diamond push-ups, but I’m getting a little better at the upper body stuff. Ab ripper is still hurts, though. I also discovered this week that it’s not a good idea to exercise for an hour when I’m really hungry, and that I like the end of the yoga exercise the best. That’s when I get to lie on the floor and focus on breathing. Now that I can do! I’m surprised I’m not more sore, but the videos do make sure you warm up and stretch a lot, so maybe that’s why. I know it’s not ’cause I’m slacking!

A firm foundation

Eleven years ago today, thousands of people from our great country and around the world lost their lives in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

I love the picture to the right, taken by Anne Bybee shortly after the attacks. Anne was part of the National Disaster Medical System Mission Support Team and snapped the photo with a disposable camera she bought in a hotel gift shop. She was surrounded by rubble 10 stories high and none of it recognizable. There was a constant stream of thick smoke and unrelenting stench. To her, the cross formed out of the remains of the Twin Towers was a message from God that said, “You’re not alone. I’m here.”

Here’s an excerpt from the speech Billy Graham gave at the National Cathedral three days after the attacks:

“This week we watched in horror as planes crashed into the steel and glass of the World Trade Center. Those majestic towers, built on solid foundations, were examples of prosperity and creativity. When damaged, those buildings plummeted to the ground, imploding in upon themselves. Yet, underneath the debris is a foundation that was not destroyed. …

“Yes, our nation has been attacked, buildings destroyed, lives lost. But now we have a choice: whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation; or to choose to become stronger through all of this struggle, to rebuild on a solid foundation. …
That foundation is our trust in God. And in that faith, we have the strength to endure something as difficult and as horrendous as what we have experienced this week. This has been a terrible week with many tears.
But it also has been a week of great faith. In that hymn, ‘How Firm a Foundation,’ the words say,
‘Fear not, I am with thee;
o be not dismayed,
for I am thy God, and will give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee,
and cause thee to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.’

My prayer today is that we will feel the loving arms of God wrapped around us and that as we trust in Him we will know in our hearts that He will never forsake us.”

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

Fitness Friday: Week 1

Day 1: I hate you, diamond push-ups. Weren’t these easier in 6th grade? I need more upper body strength; the German girl in the video is making me look bad.

Day 2: I had to look up “plyometrics” on the Internet, but I really enjoyed the exercise. I haven’t sweat this much in an hour since that kickboxing class I took at UNCC. (Standing outside in NC humidity doesn’t count.) I also haven’t hopped on one foot for any length of time since elementary school, but I’m still good at it!

Day 3: Ow. … Ab Ripper X is definitely an accurate name for the workout. My abs are on fire. I’m disappointed that I can’t keep up on all the exercises, but I’ll get there! Also worked the arms and shoulders. I need heavier weights for sure.

Day 4: Yoga is harder than I thought it would be. Need to work on my balance. Anja stared at me during my warrior pose and tried to shake my hand during floor exercises.

Day 5: Getting a little better at the Ab Ripper! Also got heavier weights and a yoga mat.

Day 6: My Facebook post of the day: Any volunteers to be my picker upper? I bent down to pick up the dog dish and my leg muscles nearly exploded. I need one of those things inmates use to pick up trash by the road.

Day 7: Today I had the option of resting or following the stretching DVD. I did half of the stretches, but we have to be somewhere this evening, so consider my first week complete!