This week I’m being stretched in a variety of new ways; the yoga has gone well. I feel like I’ve got a rhythm to it now, but the first few back-to-back days weren’t easy. Then, I took a class and noticed we were almost done. We were getting out of camel pose and had 10 minutes left; I wondered how that had happened. I was present; I simply wasn’t in pain.
Bikram apparently tells a tale that when you are in pain during his class, it is a reminder that nothing can take away your happiness. One silly 1 minute pose standing on your toes with all your weight pushing forward? It is still just one silly minute. Breathe and before you know it, you won’t remember the pain.
If you are interested in reading more about Bikram yoga, Oprah Magazine has been featuring it for the last two months. My studio sent out these links and I thought her story was sad and empowering. Month 1. Month 2.
My Bikram tip for the week is to remember to always wash your face before class. There is nothing more frustrating than being in a pose and fully concentrating when you have to stop because mascara has run into your eyes and is screaming for attention. My studio provides face wash in the bathroom and I’m sure to use it now before each session.
There wasn’t a whopping weight change on the scale this morning, and to be honest — that’s okay. I know I am stronger this week with 8 classes under my belt so far than I was last. Plus, the sleeping issues have me over-compensating with food, as I’m prone to do when I can’t figure out why I feel gross. Granted, mint chocolate chip doesn’t give me extra rest, but it certainly does give me a smile.
The stretching professionally and personally continues too; it’s in these times, when I feel a bit uncomfortable, that I know I’m learning something.
Sometimes I’m learning I need another scoop.
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- Journal, yoga
Life is exciting and hectic this week; I’m not crafting, cooking or gardening. Rather, I am sweating like a maniac in Bikram each morning, eating gobs of good food I’m not preparing for the rest of the day, and trying to maintain sanity. Today: lunch at one of my local faves — Pita Jungle.
Their gazpacho is as fantastic as the hummus trio. (I may go there often enough to know several of the servers by name.)
The new job is going very well, although I’m on the farthest left-hand side of the learning bell curve. There is so much to understand and accomplish; I am very much in my element working at a university. A bit premature to make sweeping statements, but truly I like this position thus far.
Tomorrow morning is the Bikram weigh in! Are you nervous? I am. I have taken this week by the horns professionally and just barely made it through physically. Apparently one of the side effects they don’t mention about regular Bikram practice is “not needing to sleep as much.” Read: insomnia. I’ve been getting 3-4 per night, which is far from my normal — feel free to roll your eyes at my infantile sleeping needs — 9-10 hours. I love sleep. I like Bikram. We’ll see how long these two decide to bicker.
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If there is a theme to my closest circle of childhood friends, it’s that we all attended United Methodist churches as youth. We were a part of Methodist Youth Fellowship. This means we spent our summers playing late-night, sweaty, parking lot volleyball tournaments against each other. We passed our winters curled up in drafty cabins or hunting jackalope on Mingus Mountain. We danced far too close wearing far too much Jovan/Sand and Sable to Boyz II Men at countless dances and lock-ins. We adventured for weeks in vans trekking across the western United States volunteering in forests, sleeping on hard church floors and eating copious amounts of Taco Bell until we thought we would eventually ring.
And at some point, we became adults and scattered.
It’s funny to think of it now — the Yas — all in this group. As are many of my closest male friends. I spent so much of my teenage awkward years in a church fellowship hall flirting, eating pizza and rolling my jeans, it is amazing I learned anything from my pastor. Most of my friends don’t attend church today. Just as I can’t imagine my life without it, they cannot image theirs with it. To each is own.
On top of a few of the other changes happening around here this week, I’ve accepted a part-time gig at my church to help with children’s ministries. I am really looking forward to creating a MYF group, strengthening Sunday school curriculum, getting more kids and parents involved and making church a fun place for little ones to come spend time.
So — this is where you come in. Do you have any happy memories of church as a child? What and how did you learn that you still remember today? If you are a parent, what types of activities do you like to see your children involved in with church? What seems to work?
I am completely new to this type of ministry and would love any suggestions of books, activities, etc you may have. So, please delurk and leave a comment.
P.S. Get the girls in the car and we’ll still sing any Boyz II Men song at the top of our lungs. Also, we’ve been known recently to still enjoy copious amounts of Taco Bell.
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- Community, Faith
I’ve had a headache for the last three days centered behind my left eye. Little has provided relief — much less the hot, sweaty yoga I made such a public commitment to keep. I didn’t get a thing done this weekend other than attend yoga and watch hours of movies with squinted vision.
They say it is the darkest before the dawn. Perhaps my body is preparing for the change my heart and head have already accepted. I suspect I’m fighting caffeine withdrawal and the yoga may be doing a thing or two to my lymphatic system. Also, I’d guess I’m dehydrated; it is going to take some time to figure out the Bikram/water/feel great ratio. I don’t have it down yet. Tomorrow, I suspect, will be far kinder.
Tomorrow, after all, is a new job. A new outfit. A new routine. A new way of life. A new set of challenges. A new beginning.
These, I believe, are just what the doctor ordered.
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- Arizona, Flora and Fauna, Journal
This morning I started a 60-day challenge at my Bikram studio. I’ve got 1 class down and 59 days to complete the remainder. I also weighed myself for the first time in months: 168.3.
How’s that for transparency? To be honest, I’ve been staring at these blurry photos, shot in my bathroom this morning bleery eyed before class, and debating whether or not this post crosses some silly line of over-sharing. It probably does. If my white belly bothers you, look away. I’m sure we’ll be back to crafts and baked goods soon.
Like most women, I’ve long had a love-hate affair with my figure. Lately, we are on good terms. I don’t mind that my weight is in the 160s or that my belly jiggles a bit when I fold in half like a “japanese ham sandwich.” My legs are strong from running. My shoulders still carry muscle from a dozen years of competitive swimming. My feet are the same gigantic size 11 they were when they stopped growing in 5th grade.
I’d love to tell you I’m doing this challenge because I expect to lose 20 pounds and have some sort of miraculous six pack to emerge from the pasty white mid-section above. I’d also like to have a 5-acre garden to feed unicorns on rainbow-filled days. The unicorns are scheduled to arrive far sooner, carrying George Clooney and a winning lottery ticket.
I will be posting how things are going once a week or so — including weight and flexibility changes. More than anything I want to conquer that ever-so-frustrating tree toe stand pose and show myself this is a challenge I am strong and dedicated enough to rock.
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For the last week or so I’ve been reading, “Breath, Eyes, Memory” — a Haitan tale of women and their relationships with their daughters. Of course, with the tragedy unfolding in Port au Prince, it’s been a difficult read. I don’t know that anyone handles this sort of mass tragedy well, but I feel itchy. I wish more than anything I had some sort of skill that would make me useful in such situations. I wish I was there.
And then, I don’t. I’m not sure I could handle seeing the death. I nearly fell off the treadmill yesterday when they showed footage of a little boy being rescued from the wreckage. His arms outstretched, he was handed overhead by rescuers down a mountain of broken concrete. I was in tears.
This book is an Oprah selection; they usually make me far too introspective and sad. This book didn’t send in the dark clouds. Instead, it told a strange, interesting tale from a cultural perspective I was hungry to learn from. It is an easy read and I did enjoy it.
My favorite excerpt comes from the very last page:
“There is always a place where women live near trees that, blowing in the wind, sound like music. These women tell stories to their children both to frighten and delight them. These women, they are fluttering lanterns on the hills, the fireflies in the night, the faces that loom over you and recreate the same unspeakable acts that they themselves lived through. There is always a place where nightmares are passed on through generations like heirlooms. Where women like cardinal birds return to look at their own faces in stagnant bodies of water.
“I come from a place where breath, eyes, and memory are one, a place from which you carry your past like the hair on your head. Where women return to their children as butterflies or as tars in the eyes of the statues that their daughters pray to. My mother was as brave as starts at dawn.”
3 out of 5 bananas
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- Journal, Media
This week’s yellow soup is roasted acorn squash with garlic and cayenne. It is spicy and perfect for the rainy weather we’ve been having.
Yellow seems to be a recent theme — and not just because I’ve fallen in love with the Golden Doodle. I’ve taken up tennis this month after playing a friend on the Wii during Christmas break. He beat me and of course I challenged him to a real match. He plays tennis; I’d never picked up a racket before. Fast forward three weeks and I’m knee deep in lessons and matches with other friends in preparation for an anticipated serving of humble pie. There are times I simply cannot keep my competitive edge in check. Then again, this got me playing something new, so it really will be win-win.
I’m also a little yellow over a recent car mishap. My bank account is jaundice after the front end of my sweet car needed to be replaced. Long story short: parking garages are not nice places and people should really leave a note. Mind you, I was fighting my first parking ticket when this happened. Curses! The good news is I’ll be out of this crappy rental car and back into my newly improved baby soon.
There is some happiness in this shade too: think daffodils, sunflowers and daisies. I’ve spent time recently with two women I met here and they are delightful! Jennifer and I have long chatted about books. We met last week after a tour of the Montelucia for tacos and margaritas in Scottsdale. She is so fun and it felt like we were long friends falling back into place.
And last night I delivered this lemon oatmeal bread to my friend Tina who recently moved to Phoenix from Georgia with her family. We took a tour of Taliesin West and then I had dinner with her clan. It was such a lovely evening!
Balancing the good with the bad, it’s safe to say I come out far ahead.
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- Community, Journal, Kitchen Talk
My brother Cody was in town this weekend for some debauchery with the boys. I was penciled in for lunch yesterday — coincidentally just an hour before he needed a ride to the airport! We did have a nice lunch and I was once again reminded how silly my family is.
When I asked him to take a couple photos with Sydney, he naturally rolled in the grass with the dog and the two began howling in unison:
If you aren’t giggling just a little bit at these, I think it is safe to say your sense of humor is on sabbatical.
Man, I love that kid.
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I was asked by some friends who organize the Old Town Farmer’s Market in Scottsdale to help with the Kid’s Korner booth this weekend. They wanted someone to talk about gardening and coordinate a craft for the children who may come to the market with their parents.
We painted pots and then planted seeds in them. It was a simple, but very sweet day spent with a handful of creative and curious children. Not to mention the market is home to incredible food, flowers, produce and Sweet Republic ice cream.
The kids particularly liked the worms I brought to talk about composting. They named two of them Carl and Walter. Later in the day, we gave a third worm — Locavore — a funeral service. Come to find out, worms don’t like being handled by dozens of kids.
We had a couple dozen kids participate and I ran into a handful of friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. More community time very well spent!
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- Arizona, Community, Flora and Fauna
With the 25 citrus trees we planted last Spring and the 50 fruit trees we planted yesterday, our community garden is starting to resemble an orchard.
(That’s Thelma’s date palm! Every time I see it, I smile.)
We had more than 40 volunteers come to the garden to help yesterday morning. Refugees, high school students, retired master gardeners, church members and Sydney — the superpooch. (I’m watching Syd for the weekend. He’s fun to photograph and I have a feeling you’ll be seeing him in a lot of my posts for the next couple of weeks.)
(Proof I don’t just boss people around. I worked! Although there was a good bit of bossing too..)
I cannot belive how rich my life is with community. There is no way I could have ever dreamed I would be a part of such a great group of people. It simply tickles me pink to think one day soon, hungry families in our neighborhood will have fresh fruit thanks to land donated by the church, trees donated by friends and planted by volunteers, and good old reliable Arizona sunshine.
Something magical is happening in this garden. We are planting hope. Miracles will bloom.
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- Community, Faith, Flora and Fauna