Thursday, April 29, 2010

caught up

today at work something incredible happened.

after eight months of being behind the curve and struggling to meet the requirements of my regular duties and a special project
for which i volunteered last fall and which ended four months ago, i was beginning to think that i would never catch up.

today, i am caught up. 
all the packages in my in-box are things for which i am waiting on other people to provide information. at this very moment, noone is waiting on information from me.

i am caught up.
i'm sitting at my desk, stunned and in disbelief.

i'm going out for a pedicure this evening to celebrate, and then for a long run.  woohoo!

bring on the weekend!  let's see what else i can accomplish.

waiting


sometimes i feel a little lost.

like when i'm sitting on my couch curled up under my lavendar silk throw pondering my life.  trying to envision where i want to be, what i'd really like to be doing with my life, and i can't see how that will happen.  that's when i feel a little out of place, a little lost.

i know i have the power to make things happen in my life and the power to choose what i do with my life.  and i do make choices and do things.  i have chosen to move forward, struggle through obstacles, walk my own path, experience great joys and pains.

this week as i prayed and pondered some direction i feel i am receiving, i found a small slip of paper in my scriptures with this reference printed upon it:  Isaiah 40:28-31, and felt strongly prompted to read the verses.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching [fathoming] of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

sometimes the answer is to wait upon the lord.  stop.  be still.  wait.
wait for him to prepare the way.  remove an obstacle. 
create an opportunity.  change my heart.
to wait for him to say, now go forward.  the way is ready.  you are ready.

sometimes this is hard to do.  it can be difficult to wait.  it can make me feel a little lost.

i suppose i need to learn that in waiting upon the lord the promises listed in these verses are not casual.
they are real.  i just need to have faith and wait.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

i love, love, love being a girl

i love being a girl.

there is power in being a girl.
power in recognizing and owning my emotions. 
power in
compassion,
kindness,
empowering,
standing up,
being true,
forgving,
loving,
who i am.

power to change the world.
girl power is awesome.



thanks to teabelly for sharing this.  i had to share it too.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

another thought

image from: photo.net

Light gives of itself freely,
filling all available space.
It does not seek anything in return;
it asks not whether you are friend or foe.
It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.
-Michael Strassfeld

Monday, April 26, 2010

winning the battle - week 7

1 pound down this week.  slow and steady wins the race.  right?

sometimes, i feel like i'm getting nowhere with this.  last week every work out was a battle with myself to keep going.  i would start my run and immediately bounce off that brick wall.  i would get on the ellyptical and boom!  there was that wall again.  i just wanted to get over that wall last week.  i had to push and pull myself to keep going to get over that wall.  i did my workouts, but they just didn't feel as good as they have been.

i have a confession to make.  it's a pretty shameful, dirty, little secret.  i love whopper jr.  i love the smaller size, the grilled flavor, the onion and pickle, and the sauce.  oh, i love whopper jr.  in fact, i crave whopper jr, fries and a diet coke.  i drove by whopper jr this afternoon.  it would have been so easy to stop, but i kept right right on going.  i didn't give into that little voice in my ear.  instead i thought about how much work i would have to do to undo whopper jr, and to be honest i'm just too tired right now to do all that work right now.  salad and jenny entree here i come! 

image from: wikimedia.org

Thursday, April 22, 2010

a thought


i love this.  it helps me remember who i am and how to love others.

True love requires action. We can speak of love all day long—we can write notes or poems that proclaim it, sing songs that praise it, and preach sermons that encourage it—but until we manifest that love in action, our words are nothing but “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”

Christ did not just speak about love; He showed it each day of His life. He did not remove Himself from the crowd. Being amidst the people, Jesus reached out to the one. He rescued the lost. He didn’t just teach a class about reaching out in love and then delegate the actual work to others. He not only taught but also showed us how to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.”

Christ knows how to minister to others perfectly. When the Savior stretches out His hands, those He touches are uplifted and become greater, stronger, and better people as a result.

If we are His hands, should we not do the same?

Elder Uchtdorf, April 2010, LDS General Conference

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

amazed


i am newly amazed today.

amazed at the totally unexpected and yet absolutely clear way in which god watches over and protects me.  a huge obstacle that i've recently been trying to overcome hasn't been removed, but rather explained.  i understand why it's there and can now accept it.

the whole process has been quite humbling.  but i am amazed, humbled, grateful for the insight, and confident that god really does have it under control and that all is going according to plan.  i can move forward.

today was just another reminder to
let go and let god
to quote an old friend. 
love and miss ya andy p.!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

i'm also amazed by gift of life today.
up until today, i had 2 nieces and 8 nephews. 
niece number 3 was born today on her mother's birthday.
we've been waiting so long for another little girl to join our family.
welcome little lilly, and happy birthday to mom, nickolee.





images of lillies from: commons.wikimedia.org

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

making a home - one

one of my favorite things in my apartment is
the vinyl chalk board i got from etsy.com.

i can write welcome messages
or put an inspirational reminder up for myself.


i'm really truly a fan of this great vinyl art.
and i really truly love my chalk board.

the chalk board is from:  OffTheWallExpressions
where they have some really fun art for your walls
and some fun chalkboards.


photos by me

Monday, April 19, 2010

winning the battle - week 6

I lost 1 pound this week.

It would have been more, but as I am once again learning there are consequences to what I choose to put in my body.  As my Jenny consultant said to me today, "You would have lost three pounds last week, if you had stuck to the diet."  It's true, I would have.  Oh, the consequences of such indiscretions with food.

My friend, A.B. and I rode our bikes to a Nats baseball game Friday, and of course we stopped by the famous Ben's Chili Bowl stand for a half smoke with chili, which is seriously awesome stuff.  Then with my cousins here on Saturday, the clincher was the Afghan dinner we had, which was sooooooo goooooood.  I probably ate four days worth of calories in two days.  Not even logging 15 miles of run/walks and bike rides last week can put a dent in that detour off the diet, but the good news is I still lost a little weight.

So, this week it's time to get serious again.  I have no plans to eat out, lots of plans for my workouts this week, a plan to smuggle my diet food into the baseball game on Thursday and a goal of three pounds lost this week.  I'm looking forward to it.

Little Miss Squirrel is so gonna be regretting that chocolate chip cookie,
when she weighs in next week.
I found her eating her dessert down on the Mall this past weekend.
How do I know she's a she?
She's eating chocolate, 'nuff said.


photo by me

Sunday, April 18, 2010

the real weekend plans


So many fun photos from this weekend!
Collages are the funnest and easiest way to share all the photos.
(Click on the collage to see a larger version.)

A glimpse of Eastern Market in all its spring time glory.
From strawberries to cupcakes, fresh fish to sun dresses,
bouquets of flowers to the best crab cakes on the Hill,
there's something here for everyone.

The WWII Memorial is massive.
It's difficult to capture the details in one photo.

A walk around the Mall.
Glimpses of the Vietnam War Memorial, the Korean War Memorial,
the DC WW I Memorial, the Tulip Library and azaleas in full bloom.

I never fail to be moved by the reminders of greatness throughout our country's history.
Ordinary people doing their best in difficult circumstances,
making hard decisions with the knowledge they had at the time
and at times laying everything they had on the line.
I am glad that we have places dedicated to these sacrifices.


I believe one of the highlights of the weekend
was the feast we shared at The Afghan Restaurant.
It was fun to share the best part of Afghanistan with A&D, my cousins.
So many flavors, good conversation and a friendly serving staff.

We
survived the unexpected cold front,
ate lots of yummy food,
(so not thinking of my diet right now.)
walked and walked and walked and walked,
(about 8 miles total.)
toured the Pentagon and 9/11 memorial too,
(sorry, no photos allowed)
talked and talked,
(trying to solve the world's problems)
laughed a lot,
made plans for another weekend,
and
just enjoyed each other's company.

We didn't do everything on my weekend plans list,
but we did see everything they wanted to see.
It was fun to be a tourist in my town for a weekend.

Come again soon A&D.  You are welcome here any time.



photos by me, collages on picasa 3 from google

Friday, April 16, 2010

weekend plans

cousins are coming this weekend!

we will go here.

and here.

tour here.
 

and maybe go here
to see this.

definitely here

food from here

and here

gosh, there's just so much to see,
so many places to go
and so little time.

happy weekend!


images from all over the place

Thursday, April 15, 2010

taxes!



This is too difficult for a mathmetician. 
It takes a philospoher.
-Albert Einstein, on filling out tax forms



America is the land of taxation that
was founded to avoid taxation.
-Dr. Laurence J. Peters



Be wary of strong drink.
It can make you shoot at tax collectors...
and miss.
-Robert A. Heinlein



The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist
is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
-Mark Twain



Alexander Hamillton started the U.S. Treasury
on close to nothing and that was the closest
our country has ever been to being even.
-Will Rogers


'happy' tax day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

winning the battle - week five

1 pound down this week.

So, I'm learning I can't just wing this.  It's hard work to stick to a diet and a workout routine.  I knew this, but I feel like I'm learning it again.  Funny how that works.  And when I don't stick to the diet, I sure do know it on Monday morning when I step on the scale.  So, this week I will stick to the diet, which means really thinking about portions and choosing the foods which are on the diet.

On the upside, my clothes are starting to fit differently.  For instance, I wore one of my favorite shirts today and instead of pulling around my belly and waist, it totally hung really nice and cute.  I felt like I looked skinnier, because the shirt was hanging right.

The running feels good.  On Saturday, T.T. and I ran the Swamp Trail at Theodore Roosevelt Island, which is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  I loved it.  The Swamp Trail is part dirt/mud/rock/log trail and part wooden bridge through the swampy part of the island.  It's beautiful and has great views of Georgetown, the Kennedy Center and DC.  We ran the loop twice and finished in 35 minutes.

So the battle continues, one pound and one step at a time.

swamp trail image from: nps.gov

a friendship

image from: wickimedia.org

once upon a time, there were a girl and a boy who were friends.

they were not just friends, they were the best of friends.  he treated her with so much respect and love, that she couldn't help but love him right back.  he pushed her in ways she had never been pushed to think, feel or do, and she found she liked the challenge.  he accepted and loved her no matter what, even when she told him her dirtiest, darkest secrets and things got all dark and twisty, which didn't really happen all that much.

things happened.  life happened.  they slowly grew apart as their lives took different directions.  they didn't talk or have any contact for several years.  she still worried for him, prayed for him, and wished a beautiful life for him.  she let him go, because letting go opens doors, clears the path and makes room for good things to happen.

every now and then, when she would fall in love with someone, she sometimes wished she could tell him.  tell him she was in love, happy, scared, excited and just talk things out with him.  when it didn't work, she wished he was there to hold her, make her laugh after crying, tell her it was okay and that the risks of love really are worth it in the end.  she missed him during those times and so many others.

years passed.  he found her again one day, and when they talked it was as though no time had passed.  the friendship was still there, the comfort, the easiness, the not-having-to-work-to-make-it-work, the love.  it was all there, just like they had left it.

only now, they were grown-up with experiences that helped them not be afraid.  they could talk about their fears, hopes and the possibilities.  it was scary, but the thought of not having these conversations was more scary.  and in the end after the conversations, they found it wasn't scary at all, but more like being wrapped and hugged in an old, comfortable blanket, softened by age and familiar. 

they were more accepting of each other.  things that once seemed so important just fell away and the really important stuff rose to the surface and stuck.  their frienship wasn't perfect, in fact little things sometimes drove them crazy, but not for long.  soon they would be laughing again.

their friendship was a rock for both of them. it was a measure of all other friendships and relationships.  both knew it was something rare, wonderful, strong and not to be taken for granted. they knew their friendship was meant to last no matter what happened between them and for that they loved each other all the more.

the end...

Friday, April 9, 2010

beauty on the way

the other morning on the way to work,
i drove through a cloud of cherry blossom petals
falling to the ground. 

for just a moment
time
slowed
down
and i was caught in
the midst of a perfect pink
storm of spring beauty.

it also made me feel like Anne
as she's driving in the buggy with Matthew
on her way home to Green Gables for the first time
and she sees the Avenue full of wild cherries,
plums and other beautiful trees in full bloom.

"Pretty? Oh, pretty doesn't seem the right word to use.  Nor beautiful either.  They don't go far enough.  Oh, it was wonderful--wonderful.  It's the first thing I ever saw that couldn't be improved upon by imagination.  It just satisfied me here"--she put one hand on her breast--"it made a queer funny ache and yet it was pleasant ache. "  (Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maude Mongomery)

yes, that's just it.  she captures how i felt just perfectly.

i love Anne.
i want to be her when i grown up.
i always want to keep my appreciation for beauty, for life.

from worldofstock.com







Tuesday, April 6, 2010

dream tree

when i dream of trees,


i dream of this tree in particular.

i dream of a weeping cherry tree
its thin branches twirling in a breeze,
covered in lace of the lightest shade of pink
tinged with bits of green.

i dream of this tree in front of my home.

shading my yard, providing protection for
a child in a swing reading a favorite book,
a blanket covered with leftover picnic remains
and a sleeping child.

marking the seasons of life,
welcoming visitors to my home,
giving such beauty each spring.

i. love. this. tree.
i see it every day on my way to and from work
and it has become my dream tree.


i, especially, love this tree in the spring.
gorgeousness abounds all around.


photo by me on the way to work one morning.

Monday, April 5, 2010

winning the battle - week 4

this week 0 pounds lost, but none gained either.

it was easter and we had a picnic potluck.  the food was amazing and all homemade:  carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, croissants (yes, homemade) with chicken salad, guacamole and chips, hummus and pita, couscous with roasted peppers, fruit salad, chocolate chip cookies, easter eggs, angel food cake, sweet sticky rice with mango and coconut milk, carrot sticks, vegetarian salad nicoise and lime-ginger macaroons. oh yeah, i ate the food.

the good news is that i ran three times last week and felt great.  my running partner and i are a good team.  she's good at getting us started and i'm good at keeping us going when we want to stop.  we are having fun.

i'm enjoying being on this diet, because i'm learning really how to make up menus and pay attention to quantities.  it really does help to follow a menu and track everything i eat.  it makes it easier for me to eat right and well.  planning menus in advance also helps me know what to eat and when, and takes the guess work out of it.  plus, at the end of the day when i'm tired and just come in from running, i don't have to decide what to eat, the decision is already made for me.  i like that.

this week i have my work cut out for me, but then i knew i would after eating all that lovely food on sunday.  life is short and dessert should be eaten first.

me, out for a run.
we can call this a before shot.

funny story about this photo.
two guys with heavy accents stopped me during my run for directions.
in exchange, i asked one to take my photo.
he took the photo and as he handed me back my camera said,
"you don't look as hot as you think you are."
i wasn't sure whether to be offended or laugh,
or if he was referring to the fact that my face was bright red
from the heat.
so i just started running again and laughed.
whatever . . .


photo taken by, quite possibly a very rude, random tourist

Sunday, April 4, 2010

mmmmmm, cake!

If you like Angel Food cake, you're really like gonna like this twist.

The ingredients: Angel Food cake mix and a can of crushed pineapple.
The jelly beans are for later.

Dump the cake mix and the entire can of crushed pineapple in a bowl.
Do NOT add the water, which the directions on the box call for.
The pineapple has enough liquid for the mix.

Follow the directions on the box for mixing the ingredients together.

Then pour the batter into a baking dish of your choosing.
If you use a mold like I did, then be sure to overfill it.
I baked the leftover batter in a 9'x13' cake pan.
Follow the baking instructions on the box.

This is the finished product.
I used the cake from the regular cake pan as the base,
frosted it extra creamy Cool Whip,
and sprinkled green coconut for grass.
I placed the lamb cake on top,
covered it with more cool whip and coconut
and gave it a face with two black jelly beans for eyes
and a pink jelly bean for a cute little nose.

Normally, the lamb mold would be sitting upright on the plate,
but the cake collapsed and I only got half a lamb.
Oh well, it's still pretty cute and was a hit at our picnic this afternoon.

This is the yummiest Angel Food cake ever.
It's like eating a piƱa colada.  YUM!

Thanks to my friend K.L. for loaning me the cake mold this weekend,
and the great twist on an Angel Food cake recipe.


photos by me while baking in my kitchen early this morning

and yes, tara, i'm channeling thepioneerwoman.com

easter happiness

image from: freewebs.com

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.

He is risen.  He lives!
Happiest of Easters to you.


I had an interesting conversation with a young man,
newly arrived from Ethiopia,
who helped me in the drugstore earlier this weekend.

He commented to his co-worker that he liked how in this country
Easter weekend lined up with the celebrations in his home country.
I was curious and asked where he was from.
He replied, from Ethiopia and I'm still learning English.
Then he wished me a happy Passover.
I wished him a happy Easter.

He then asked, What's the difference?
I replied that the Jewish people celebrate Passover,
and Christians celebrate Easter.
And he asked me why. 

Kind of a weird question given he had just wished me a good Passover,
but I figured he was still learning English and didn't question him further.

I briefly explained the story of Moses in the Old Testament,
who tried to convince Pharoah to free the children of Israel.
Pharoah refused, and as a result God sent curses upon the land.
The last curse was the angel of death passing through the land of Egypt
and taking the first born son in each family.
However, the first born sons of children of Israel were spared.
They heeded Moses, their prohet, who told them
to mark the doors of their homes with a symbol of their faith,
so that the angel of death would know to pass over their homes
and leave the eldest sons alone.

The young man listened intently, smiled, then said,
"I didn't know that before."
I then explained that here we greet
Christians with happy Easter
and Jews with happy Passover.

He asked me which I preferred,
and I said, "Happy Easter."
His smile grew, and he said so do I.
Then he wished me happy Easter.

As I left I heard him remark to his co-worker
that he loved learning new things here every day.
Me too.

As I wrote this experience, it struck me once again
how deeply symbolic the story of Passover is to the Easter story.
Christ, the first born son of God our father,
gaves his life and suffered for our sins. 
God releases us from the captivity of sin and death
through the suffering and death of his eldest son.
Similar to the release of the children of Israel,
we too must heed the prophets, and
mark our lives with a symbol of our faith,
namely a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

Beautiful and moving.
So, whether you celebrate Easter or Passover
may you feel his love and joy this day.



Saturday, April 3, 2010

cherry blossoms and a wedding


i love how the setting sun is catching some
of the petals floating through the air

couples everywhere enjoying the blossoms.
gorgeous wedding couple.


the cherry blossoms are just one of my favorite things about living in dc.
happy easter weekend.



photos by me while on my run last night

Friday, April 2, 2010

random photos from my car


today i give you random photos taken while in my car.

i have a sun roof.  yay!

green... finally.

i looked out the window and what did i see...?

gorgeous white tree against the blue, blue sky.

on the street where i live.

if you look really close above the car directly in front of me
there are two small humps which are
the u.s. capitol and library of congress.
this is my view on the drive home from work every day!

I LOVE IT!

p.s. i was only moving while taking photo #4.
all the rest were taken while stopped or parked.



photos by me from my car