Saturday, April 21, 2012

Age is all the rage.

Ever wondered what all of the stress you put on your body on the daily does to its real age?  Or maybe you make a majority of your choices in the healthy zone.  Here's a way to find out your body's real age (If you really want to know...of course I would find something like this fascinating!):

Follow that link, and if you're not already a member of the bluezones project, which I would encourage you to do anyway, make a username and password.  Then complete the quick, multiple choice questionnaire in order to see your true age! I love this stuff (then again I am abnormal) and hope you do, too! It's a great way to see where some of your daily habits may be tearing you down or building you up!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Days away and times to play.

Ahhhhh. Finally an enjoyable day off (not that I didn't work for it), but after a 12 hour day earlier this week and being scheduled for tomorrow, it was nice to have some time off just to sleep in, go for a long run, clean up my apartment, lift weights, bake some oatmeal chocolate chip muffins, catch up on some reading, catch up on peoples' lives, fix my wireless internet, do some dishes, finish some laundry, check out dogs at the animal rescue league (and by league I mean leagueS), and just relax (yes, yes that did happen also).  I needed today. Recently, I've been randomly hop-skipping my way through the bible by flipping coins, picking books, and working my way through them.  I just finished Philippians (one of my ABSOLUTE favorite books, one that's been revisited many a-time, and one that has fantastic memory verses if you're ever looking for some you want to recall for aid in every day situations).  Today, I decided Acts would be a good place to turn.  I read through Acts 1 and just about stopped at verses 7 and 8 because I immedietly knew they were the X-marks-the-spot of what He wanted me to read because if He's anything, He's definitely omniscient.  I did end up foraging on through the next couple chapters, and while these verses may not apply to you and your life-phase, they happened to lead me to a state of those inexplicable goosebumps and a non-stop, inner-cognitive smile. 

"He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world." - Acts 1:7-8 (The Message).

Did you hear that? Father Time has it all under control.  Actually, quite frankly, we're probably better off not knowing the timing of certain life events let alone, having the crystal ball to the future.  There are days where I pray for a road map, as well as, direction; however, The Omnipotent One often sends back one of those figure-eight looking sand holders that apparently tells time. Trying to read one of those is about as confusing as the curriculum for Physics 303.  But that is completely fine.  Just remembering that His timing is perfect, and He will work all things together for our good is enough to elicit a sigh of relief.  Along with that sigh of relief comes one of the best gifts we could ever wish to receive: The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like our little internal compass on the road map with which God has provided.  He is more than Pinocchio's Jiminy Cricket because He's more than just a conscience.  He's our guidance counselor, our morality gauge, the comfort of our favorite blanket, the joy we receive from the first swig of that summertime lemonade on June 21st, the beauty of the sunset over Gull Lake in mid-August, the first auburn-colored leaf dropping from a tree, and the Santa of the spiritual world.  The Holy Spirit is the giver of our spiritual gifts and the instruction manual that comes with them.  This verse almost hit me like a slap in the face...who am I to take the spiritual gifts that I have been given and stick them on a shelf to collect dust behind the clothes that are out of season?  How ridiculous is it to forget such an imperative blessing?  This is where we find purpose: using our gifts to the best of our ability with the aid of their giver, helping others, a smile here, a piece of advice there.  This will allow God to seep in through the cracks of our every day lives like red paint on white shutters until finally He's bursting out of every seam like the buttons on my jeans after Thanksgiving dinner.  I want God to not only be a part of my every action and word but to be proud of my every action and word.  I want my very life to be the act of leaning forward into the finishline tape at the end of the race, pushing onward toward the goal of reaching the Father and extending some Heavenly real-estate.  I want to get to the end and hear the words, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, you have fought the good fight, and finished the race...". 

So, what does this have to do with anything?  Pull those spiritual gifts out of the boxes labeled "To Be Used in the Future", dust them off, and put them to work!  What exactly are you waiting for?  The attainment of the perfect job, the purchase of your dream house, the last 10 pounds to come off, the collection of that diploma, the earthly definition of success to come knocking at your door, the white picket fence and 2.5 children, approval from a significant person in your life?  I hate to break it to you, but if that's the case, your tombstone may read, "Died with their feet stuck in quicksand but a heart full of good intention". But what good is good intention if the intention is never carried out?!  Life is about living in the here and now (don't worry, daddio, I am still contributing to my 401K and savings account).  This doesn't necessarily mean "Don't think about the future", but it does mean "You can make all of the plans you want, and ultimately God's plan will win out sooooo, why bother?".  Enjoy the beauty in every minute of every day.  The smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning, the endorphins after exercise, a fresh coat of paint in a bold new hue in your living room, the way your Bible pages make that crinkly sound after you've turned them umpteen times, the way the crisp air nips at your face as the fall football season begins, the sweetness and ease of peel of a ripe cutie, the way your joints de-stress and lengthen as you lay down in bed at night, the smell of burgers grilling as an indication of summer being on its way, the feeling of the sun warming your face as you relax in a hammock, the enjoyment of finishing an amazing book and finding out there's a sequel, a simple and heartfelt "Thank You" for finishing a task, checking something off of your to-do list.  Life is a beautiful gift not meant to be benched.  The best advice I can give is to stop waiting.  Put on that armor and start living your faith outloud. 

Most of all: enjoy it. Not doing so would be...well...a sin.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ribbons and Revamps.

It was overhaul weekend at the apartment, and trust me, it was definitely necessary.  When life gets busy I have a tendency to let the everyday life stuff get pushed aside in lieu of spending time with friends, longer runs, reading books, catching more z's, and just about anything else.  So, it was time. I cleaned and scrubbed, I vacuumed and shoved. I did laundry and dishes.  I also took EVERYTHING out of my drawers and closet (which wasn't as hard as you'd think considering at least 45% of it was already laying on my floor) in order to revamp, reorganize, and refold.  I'm always looking for ways to add more color into my apartment (sans paint since that's not allowed) so, this weekend was about ribbon.  They may seem like simple touches, but I found it to be quite adorable.  Here is the boring wardrobe-holder at the start (and actually I should have taken a picture with the drawers open and the deleterious spilling out):

And with the final touches (Stef would call them Janelisms):

Another Ta-Da moment! It may seem simple, but sometimes the simplest things can brighten a day!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Webster's words and severe scars.

I stumbled across this article recently, and it made me take a good look at the words that aren't necessarily bad or "swear" words, but words that possibly shouldn't be making an appearance in my everyday language.  There are some words that have just become a regular part of our day to day vocabulary; however, as Christians we're called to a higher standard.  I'm not trying to sound extreme since these are words that you would hear everyday at the water cooler or walking down the hallway of a junior high school or even on TV shows that would be deemed appropriate.  I'm just saying that this article may make you take a second look at the words that spill out of your mouth.  The world would be a much quieter place if we all thought before we spoke.  And on that note, happy Friday to me :) I get to leave for Ohio tomorrow for an awesome-packed weekend with the fam!  Not only am I excited that I just received my third raise at work, but I'm also excited to be leaving on a jet plane for my FIRST DAY OFF SINCE NEW YEAR'S DAY.  That's right.  I said it.  This girl needs a vacation from the whiners that seem to overpopulate the real world.  Anyway, check this one out when you get a chance!  It'll have you flipping through your nearest thesaurus in order to choose a different way to express your feelings...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sweet summertime and....triple chocolate muffins?

After such a beautiful summer-like Sunday and plenty of time spent outdoors (probably a little too much sunshine) it was time to head back inside for a little reprieve.  While trying to avoid getting groceries before I jet-set off to Ohio, I decided to make 2-ingredient triple chocolate muffins. Two ingredients!  You bet.  Happy Palm Sunday...and April Fool's Day?! Haha, I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.  I promise you do not taste the secret ingredient, and they stay moist for the entire week.

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins

You will need:
  • 1 box of Duncan Hines Triple Chocolate Muffin mix
  • 1 can of pumpkin (not pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin)
  1. Spray a muffin tin (I used jumbo muffin tins, but you can pick whatever size you'd like) with a can of non-stick spray.  Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the muffin mix and the can of pumpkin.  Stir until dough-like.
  3. Spread dough evenly in the muffin tins and bake for 20-23 minutes (if you use jumbo-sized tins, if not bake for 17-20).
  4. Remove from the oven, and let cool on a cooling rack.

  5. Enjoy :)