Stale donuts in Hell

Sitting alone at McDonald's this afternoon, which was the rendezvous point for a Mom/Kid trade (and the only reason I would be alone or even at McDonalds!), I was enjoying my dollar iced tea and had whipped out my beloved handy purse Bible to read while passing the minutes.

Next thing I know I'm chatting with a man about the weather. He was passing the time inside the air-conditioned restaurant to avoid walking home. He had a "couple" of DUIs he said, and couldn't drive.

I commented that I saw the temp was 107 on the bank that I had just driven by. He mentioned how horrible this Oklahoma heat was and how different it is from the Arizona heat.

We (Okies), all have this conversation ... so enough about that.

He asked what I was reading. When I told him, he said, "WOW. I never really understood the Bible," and told a story about how he would get picked up for church and went because someone had promised donuts.

They sat through the boring stuff to get the donuts. "They were stale, but we didn't care ... we were just kids."

I told him the Bible is anything but boring, and that he should try reading it again. I also confessed that sometimes the Bible doesn't even make sense to me, but other times, I know the Lord speaks right to me through his Word. So I keep reading it.

And, I told him, without Jesus, I would have no reason to hope or make it in this HEAT or this world!

Are you married? he asked! (oh dear).


You got a husband, that should give you hope.

Yes. I love my husband and he loves me, but not as much as God loves me. We are here on this earth to be able to spend forever with God. So you should try to get to know him. He's waiting for you.

I told him about a nearby church that I thought he could walk to. I told him that I knew for a fact that they didn't have stale donuts and had really good coffee and would be a great place for him to learn about Jesus. (By this time Keli and all of the kids arrived).

The conversation turned back to the heat, and I took a deep breath and actually (actually) said ...

"Hey. If you think it's hot out there, just think how hot hell is going to be. Isn't that a great reason to get to know the Lord?" (something like that).

We laughed. By this time I could smell that this guy had not been drinking anything from the soda bar at McDs, but maybe something from another nearby bar ... and prayed silently for him. He did have a job and a home. But no Jesus.

I've never done the hellfire and brimstone evangelism before, let alone to a drunk stranger at McDonalds!

Why am I sharing this? Dunno. Just sometimes I feel like I don't come across unbelievers in my "isolated" world of kids and homeschool and church. What a pathetic excuse! Maybe this was God showing me that we have to take the opportunities where He presents them.

Money is a Great Motivator!

I debated about whether to blog about this. Don't want to sound vain, or self-absorbed or boastful ... but it is what it is! Truly, I hope to convey a "if I can do it, you can do it" motivation when it comes to taking control of our health and our choices!

Back in February, when the producers of the Biggest Loser TV show came to Oklahoma to screen future contestants, two of my friends came up with a great idea to do their own "biggest loser" contest. So, they sent out a blanket email inviting friends to join them for this contest. They invited us to show up, weigh in and plunk down $100 each.

Then we were to head out the door and try to lose as much weight as we could over the next 13 weeks and meet back to weigh in. The winner would get 70 percent of the pot. Second place would get 20 percent, and the rest would go for a door prize to whomever showed up that day.

A hundred bucks is a lot of money for me to throw around for our family. But I knew that I needed to unload some pounds. And even though I am not particularly competitive, I was in it to win it.

The quick end to the story is ... I WON! By a hair (less than two pounds) ... and under a bit of controversy (reminding me why I loathe competition).

I lost approximately 11 percent of body weight. I would share the numbers of pounds, but I don't want to. I'm not done yet. Goal. Not. Reached.

Here's the picture of me on weigh in day.

Nice, no?

Immediately, I began counting calories. I had never really done this. I am very good at counting Sodium because of Stan's specialized diet (450 mg a meal), but c'mon ... now I really had to pay attention to calories, carbs and fat, like for real? Yes!

About that time, I also found this review from one of my favorite blogs. And set out to incorporate as many of the superfoods as I could ... almonds, spinach, eggs, lentils, oatmeal.

I cut out white food. I always heard you should. And really really loathed refined flour and sugar anyway.

I heard Bob say on the Biggest Loser that pop, even diet pop, produces belly fat. So I gave up Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

I did NOT join or a gym nor did I start running (hate running). I just can't disappear from my family for long periods of time, nor can we afford a gym membership. But I did buy Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred video, and committed to WALK by myself in the neighborhood or with friends at parks while the kids played. Thank you friends!

I plugged along. Did my Jillian video. Did other exercise videos that I got from the library including the Abs Diet workout, and Bollywood dance workouts (that I loved so much the family got me an entire set of videos for Mother's Day). Walked. And watched calories.

Most mornings, I whipped up delicious spinach smoothies ... inspired by my friend Kevin. A handful of frozen spinach (or other green leafy stuff - including romaine or other salad greens), a frozen half-banana, handful of frozen berries, 8 oz of water and ice. Do NOT knock it til you try it. Seriously. Not bad at all. (Banana is the key.)

Sometimes, I'd also eat one for lunch. I ate lots of raw almonds (lots). And Kashi bars. And oatmeal. I would make sensible dinners for the family and watch my portion control. And I would try not to pout when everyone else ate ice cream or desserts!

Instead of sitting at the computer watching the kids play basketball outside, I played with them. And we played hopscotch. And I practiced the 50 and 100-yard dashes with the kids for their field day. And I would throw in extra squats or reps when doing springtime yard work - bagging leaves, planting flowers, hoeing weeds.

And I did situps and push ups and chest flys with weights and leg lifts and whatever exercise I could think of while watching TV ... 24, Loser, American Idol.

The clothes kept getting looser, and I found myself NOT dreading shorts season (I'll always dread swimsuit season).

I'm writing all of this to say ... if I did it, anyone can do it! :-) I didn't need a gym membership, a trainer or super regimented diet ... or even a treadmill (tho I really want one).

But what I did have were three unbelievably supportive accountability partners who encouraged me. When I might try to swipe a french fry from Grant, or just a little taste of a shake from Giles ... they would scream at me "a thousand dollars Mom. A THOUSAND DOLLARS!" And it worked. Stan was also very encouraging.

The pay out was actually $910! Minus the hundred, the video and all of the almonds!

Oh, the controversy. We were supposed to do the final weigh in wearing the same clothes. I dug out the sweater from the winter clothes bin, and I had already ditched the jeans in a garage sale.

I had another pair of jeans selected. But morning of, my old pair of size SIX j crew jeans that I was saving "just in case I ever got thin enough again" beckoned. I was quite certain they wouldn't fit and didn't try them on one time during the contest. But that morning, they went on ... easily. Since they were heavier jeans than the weigh in jeans, I felt okay about it.

However, at weigh in, I FORGOT to put on the stupid sweater. It went unnoticed until after we got home (Lydia went with me to the weigh in). So, I went back and reweighed with the sweater, and still barely won. And that reminded me why I don't do well with competition. Yucky guilty feeling for second place! And feeling like people might have thought I tried to cheat. All of the contestants did great ... and I wish we all could have won. We did all win though ... we won our health!

But still, there had to be a winner! And now, the cash is gone. We had sold and given away our junky living room furniture in the same garage sale that I sold those baggy weigh-in jeans, so we've been sitting in camp chairs since March. We went today and I plunked down nine Bens for some brand new living room furniture! CASH! We thought about getting that treadmill ... but like the lure of getting outside instead.

That's the story. Money, turns out, is a great motivator! So, start your own contest, just remember to wear the sweater ... and eat your almonds!

Walking the Walk

Wew. Almost forgot how to tap into this blog, it's been so long.

No big reason to post now, except I felt like it. And maybe it's a prelude to chronicle a new journey our fam is about to embark on. Intriguing, no?

So, I've always wanted to walk to the grocery store. Even more now that I have "green" reusable grocery bags, and when I need just a few things that I could easily carry.

So grabbed bag, cash, shuffle, list and mace ... just kidding. I packed heat. No, not really. I went in the daytime. No worries.

Lots of people do this. I'm trying to be health-conscious, carbon-imprint conscious and adventurous. There's lots of folks around here who have to walk to the store, or anywhere. I don't know if they pack heat, but sometimes they pack a lot of little kids in a stroller, push their own grocery cart, and some people carry drinks in brown paper bags. If they do it, I should try.

Anyway. Loved it. As a bonus my shuffle's shuffle gave me ...
"All By Myself" (Eric Carmen's 1970s hit) to make me laugh
"We Love You Lord" (David Crowder) to make me praise, and
"All We Need" (Charlie Hall) to make me cry.
Then I was at the store ... and got a couple more Charlie songs for the walk home.

I could have improvised everything I needed for tonight's menu of jicama slaw and fish tacos, except for the cilantro. How do you fake cilantro? So I walked to the store to buy it (and strawberries on impulse) but I want to grow it.

So on my urban dweller TO DO list. Walk to the grocery store. Check.
Now, let's head to the country! And grow some stuff.


The Shelts went to the MUSIC BUILDS concert last weekend and volunteered. Since the music was TOO LOUD for Stan's ear, he hung out with the staff while we rocked out inside ... and he mentioned that I write a blog and volunteered me to write something for them. Like I minded! But the surprise was, they wanted my drivel! :-)

NOW ... join ONE and share some food.

Here tis.

And here are pictures to go with ...

Here's "Mr. I Got More Names than You." in action.

"Please sign my petition to stop world hunger."
JARS OF CLAY .... they're signing his HAT.
Familia ...
Fans of the FOOT.

Mirror Mirror

Blog plug: my friend Full of Joy (can I say her real name? Can't remember.) has started a Bible study on her blog. Great --- now she has a much awesomer looking blog, and now better things to say on an important topic.

But I'm not envious ... I'm glad to soak it in, and pass on the love to you.

Here's what she said about it today on our homeschool email loop.

"I have been teaching a class on Body Image that I am absolutely passionate about. I have been working to write and edit down the material in order to share on my blog. This is such an important topic for girls, and women. In learning this I felt overwhelmed with the desire to be able to pass this on to my daughter, but I was reminded that as free as I wanted my daughter from it, the Lord wanted me free from it even more. I would love for you to join the study."

Intrigued? It's an issue that hits me head on, and now I have a daughter also who's also getting this body image pressure.

Okay, I just checked and she signs some of her posts with "Tiff." So I can use her name.

Go read Tiff's study.
Here's the main blog: but scroll down to where it begins with Monday's intro.

Life Lesson from TR

Giles is doing a report on Theodore Roosevelt. And we've been researching the question: "how this president's spiritual life affected his term in office."

Gee, that sure hasn't been mentioned in all of the picture books we got from the library. But we did find a copy of his speech given at the dedication of the house office building on April 15, 1906.

"Materially we must strive to secure a broader economic opportunity for all men, so that each shall have a better chance to show the stuff of which he is made. Spiritually and ethically we must strive to bring about clean living and right thinking. We appreciate that the things of the body are important; but we appreciate also that the things of hte soul are immeasurably more important. The foundation-stone of national life is, and ever must be, the high individual character of the average citizen."

That TR was such a muck-raking rough rider!

Waiting for the Bus

If I could do one of those coffee table books ... that's what I would call it. "Waiting for the Bus."

It would be of pictures of the people I see around our neighborhood sitting on the benches and congregating around the stops ... waiting for the buses to take them to work, home, school, the store.

Think there's some good stories? That and a lot of wisdom.

There's a cute older couple that I see a lot. She always has an umbrella to protect against the sun or the rain (or snow). There's another lady who rides with about three kids. Another lady I know from Cross & Crown. She takes the bus to work and back every day. Yes, most people look poor. It's not so hip around here to ride the bus. But the riders are way hip. And they're savvy. They know this city, the schedules, the routes. And probably their driver's name. Fortunately, our city wants to expand our public transportation which might make it a more hip option in our greening consciousnesses ... and dwindling gasoline budgets. And I'm all for it.

My dream is to commission a real photographer, like Joy's Tapestry Photographs, to shoot it. So, do we first find a publisher? How do you do that?

In the mean time, I found this book at the library, Finding Grace: The Face of America's Homeless. And I think I'll have to buy it for my coffee table.

Amazing photography. And the best part about it is the text. Sparse and not on every picture. Certain portraits will have a paragraph ... a brief paragraph. But the story gets told. And many of those graphs bring a tear.

Waiting for the Bus.

Stuff Christians Like on Homeschooling

Haven't checked this blog lately but was humored to see this post on homeschooling!

It's kind of like the skit on SNL the other night (the Tina Fey as Palin and Michael Phelps as host episode that, yes, we all stayed up to watch and then were grumpy at church the next morning). Humorous, but could have been WAY funnier.

Thoughts? The comments on his homeschool post are interesting. Mostly, they make me sad. And I'm too chicken to say why. Kinda like I'm too chicken to get into a debate about Sarah Palin. I'm mostly for her, but my very very first thought about her before we knew anything more than her name was "I hope she's done raising her kids." Oh. Nope. And look at that new baby.

Oh well. I kind of feel the same way about Obama too ... missing out on his kids' lives to do this. (On the other hand, what a ride for those kids. Talk about educating for life!)

See, I'm not "sexist." (whatever).

Some of us are called to do MORE and can do more.

I can't.

Not Getting My Kicks

This one is hard to share ... but here I go anyway.

After our first 4-H meeting on a rainy Saturday morning, the fam stopped at a local German bakery. The kids, preferring chain food, were resistant, but the parents pressed on. Great place. Great food. We used to come here all of the time BEFORE WE HAD YOU.

There will be a little band in there and a lot of seniors. So cute! And there will be a lot of plates with food that includes kraut, schnitzel and wurst. But there will also be fantastic bagels and other treats.

Come on.

Most all of the kids were pouty (even while munching on yummy bagels and cinnamon rolls) until the band started. And we began watching people dance. So cute!

Then, Get Your Kicks on Route 66, started. And mom started swaying ... but only with her pointer fingers, thinking my only audience was at our own table. And we were all singing along.

The rest of it is a blur ...

From out of nowhere, a gentleman approached our table and grabbed my hand TO DANCE.

Oh. No. No. No. Please NO! I said.

I don't dance. (I was raised in the Church of Christ).

I have on crocs.

I don't know you.

He, uh, did not take no for an answer. And by this time had my very own husband and children helping him get me out on the dance floor.

I'll spare the rest of the clumsy details. However, I am certain the band played a few extra choruses just to carry on the mirth.

Stan was in stitches. The children were afraid for me. "We don't know him."

"Is mom ever coming back."

The song was over. I bowed to my partner. And we were outa there.

But should Stan be worried that I caught the eye of an octogenarian?

Not cute!