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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Glow in the Dark

When glow-in-the-dark toys stay in the dark, they don’t glow. They can only glow when they first absorb light.

I’ve had this thought brewing for about 15 years and I’ve pulled it out on several different life occasions. Today, it resurfaced and I just can’t shake it. It’s a simple thought, so forgive me if it doesn’t create an ah-ha moment for you.

We are like those toys. We absorb the things, thoughts and attitudes that we are near. If we keep ourselves in darkness with negative thoughts, or by camping out around condemnation, we can’t ever glow, even if glowing is our true purpose.

Only after we’ve surrounded ourselves with light can we be seen in the darkness.

Today, let’s purge the negative, bask in the positive and then dance in the dark.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


In February, a 14-year-old broke the Guinness World Record for Guitar Hero and was also named the new world champion of the game. His name is Danny Johnson and you can find several videos of him playing his guitar on YouTube. Danny said that he played three hours a day (after homework and music practice) for nine months.

I’ve been thinking about Danny a lot the past few months. Not necessarily as related to Guitar Hero, but as it relates to his dedication. Three hours a day put him in the Guinness World Record category. What could I accomplish if I devoted three hours a day to one thing? I don’t have an extra three hours a day - let’s go smaller.

What could I accomplish if I devoted one hour a day to one thing? Still seems like a lot of time – let’s go even smaller.

What could I accomplish is I devoted just 30 minutes a day to one thing? I could probably find that.

30 minutes a day adds up to 182 hours a year! What could you accomplish with a 182 hour dedication to one thing?! I could get a good start on a ton of different things!

  • extend my education.
  • learn to belly dance
  • learn to play the guitar.
  • re-learn how to ride a bike.
  • learn to speak Italian.
  • write a novel.
  • become a certified electrician.
  • write a novel.
  • have a weedless yard.
  • memorize the dictionary.
  • write a novel!!

What about 30 minutes for my health? According to the Mayo Clinic, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day helps in weight loss, gives you more stamina, prevents illnesses, reduces health risks, strengthens your heart, helps clear your arteries, boosts your mood, keeps your mind sharp and extends your life.

There is so much we can accomplish if we focus our energy. I’ve decided that we don’t need to wait until the new year to make goals and resolutions. Goals that are born out of desire, rather than the time of the year, mean more to me.

So, what do you want from your 182 hours this year? What certificate will you earn? How much weight will you lose? How many countries will you visit? What goals do you have that could use a little extra daily attention? Write it down, plan it out and savor every minute of the journey!

Me? I’m writing that novel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing

Alaska is called The Land of the Midnight Sun. On June 21st, the longest day of the year, there is quite the celebration in Fairbanks. They shut down the main downtown roads for a street fair that closes at midnight. There is a baseball game that starts at 10pm and finishes without turning on the lights. There is also a Midnight Sun Run that starts at 10pm and usually has thousands of participants, some from the lower 48 that come to celebrate with the locals.

This year, the Summer Solstice in Fairbanks recorded a
sunrise time of 2:58am and
sunset at 12:48am (yes, 22 hours of light).
On the flip side, the Winter Solstice, December 21st, in Fairbanks recorded a
sunrise time of 10:59am and
sunset at 2:40pm (3 hours of light).

This winter was a tough one for me in Seattle. Lots of cold and snow for here. I wrestled with the worst spring fever I had experienced since leaving Alaska. I prayed desperately for sun, in any form. Fast forward to July and I spent a week in Fairbanks with nothing BUT sun. Sun at midnight, sun at 4am, sun to wake up my son at 1am, SUN! I was thankful for my first dark night back home.

On the same thread, I spent many Weight Watcher "good" days longing for foods I shouldn't eat - in abundance. While on vacation in Fairbanks, I enjoyed it all - in abundance. I have a mother-in-law that can really cook and I certainly didn't want to waste a single thing. I ate until I didn't feel good. I gained 9 pounds. Ouch!

My first day back at the gym yesterday felt amazing. Writing in my food journal and tracking my points felt great. I feel like myself again.

What I learned - from the Fairbanks sun and the Fairbanks food - is that TRULY, you can have too much of a good thing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Squishy and Pink

I went to Fairbanks, Alaska to have a mini-family reunion. For the big celebration at the lake on the Fourth of July, I made a cake. I had planned for it to have the red streaks in it, using Jello and then decorating the top like a flag.

However, as plans can go, this one didn't work out. Through a few mishaps, I ended up with a squishy pink cake. With no time for a redo, it was quite upsetting, as this was for a group of 24 people. I slathered on the cream cheese frosting and prepared my fruit flag anyway. Wanna know why? My sister-in-law's no-bake cookies didn't set up, due to a few mishaps. SORRY AMIE, but it made me feel better.

I'm not sure why we take comfort when someone else is in our boat. But we do. Like seeing the skinny girl at your class reunion that gained weight too....sad bunch of humans, huh? But, really, it's just out of our need to feel normal.

Weight Watchers meetings help me in this area tremendously. It doesn't matter if my cake is squishy. Someone else there has made that same cake (maybe not THAT cake, but something like it). I'm not the only one who has food issues, who struggles with Fat Days or who just really wants to earn a Bravo sticker. I'm normal there - if no where else.

One WW meeting, I planned on skipping because I'd gone on vacation and gained 5 pounds. I went anyway, though, and faced the facts. During that meeting, a memeber shared how she had gone on vacation and gained 5 pounds the week before, but it was all gone as soon as she spent a week back on the program.

It's not just that we like other people to suffer. We like to see them win too. Because if THEY can win, WE can win. Success breeds success. Cheering someone else on will most certainly encourage you. We clap a lot for each others' successes at Weight Watchers and I will, occassionally, Woo-Hoo. It's good to do - to Woo-Hoo. You should too - you should Woo-Hoo. To a friend, a spouse, a shoe. Everyone likes a Woo-Hoo.

Just in case you were wondering, not many people ate my cake and the leftovers got really squished on the ride home. BUT, I have an amazing picture of my flag art that my son was most proud of and that made it all better.