Thursday, September 25, 2014

Setting goals

Getting back on the horse.

I was inspired by the lovely Brooke of Brooke:  Not on a Diet to set some goals for myself for this month.  I spent a bunch of time the other day and used Brooke's Goal Digging printable to articulate what I want for myself this month.

I like the structure of the printable because it helps to visualize daily, weekly, and monthly goals, and provides a space to list a reward that you will do or buy yourself at the end of a successful month.

So, what are my goals?

15 minutes of intentional movement
Drink your water every day
Take your vitamins
Make your plate half veggies and fruit 2 times per day

Walk 10 miles
Stick to food plan
Put on makeup and do hair 3 times per week
Get up early to meditate and pray 4 times per week

Do something scary
Get rid of old, unattractive clothes that make you feel frumpy

I liked this Alex & Ani Moss Winding Road Beaded Bangle.

So, how have I done so far?


Goals have been lacking since I hurt my back somehow.  (Okay, I'll be honest -- I hurt it while SLEEPING.  Getting old really is awful, isn't it?) so

  • movement, intentional or otherwise, has been problematic this week.  It's getting better, and I'm contemplating setting up my living room as a dance hall tomorrow -- I've been listening to some old beloved music tonight and really enjoyed the memories of all those dance clubs of my youth. 
  • Drinking water -- I'd say I have a 50 percent success rate.  Working on it.
  • Take your vitamins.  Fail.
  • Make your plate half veggies/fruit 2x a day.  I've been more successful with this.  Good thing I love vegetables.


  • Walk 10 miles.  I'm not going to do this this week.
  • Stick to food plan:  I've been trying hard this week, but I'm feeling confused and paralyzed.  I haven't been really draconian about it, and I am struggling this week with not eating for hours and hours.  For example, yesterday, I ate a bagel with butter in the morning, then a bowl of soup in the at lunch and another at dinner and that was it.  The soup was chicken tortilla soup and I did have some tortilla chips with it both times, but I don't know, is that a normal thing?  On Monday I didn't eat anything at all between breakfast (a power sandwich at Panera) until dinner -- I was really busy grocery shopping, doing laundry, and cooking.  Today I had a bagel and a banana for breakfast, a bowl of Chicken Tortilla soup for lunch with a handful of tortilla chips, a pumpkin spice latte (no whipped cream and smallest size and a cheese danish from Starbucks), a banana, and a cup of whole wheat pasta with broccoli and white sauce.  
  • Put on make up and do hair three times this week:.  Well, I took my makeup out of the drawer in which it usually hides and put it in my purse.  But not on my face.  And I did do my hair this morning.  I have a few more days to do this though.  
  • Get up and pray 4 x per week.  Well, since I have not gone to bed yet and it's 12:52 am, I don't think tomorrow is going to be the morning either.  But, we are saying a decade of the rosary or two on the way to school in the morning.  It keeps me calm(er) in traffic, prevents the chickadees from listening to the trash on radio, and helps to start the day intentionally.  I went to prayer group this morning and did some Lectio Divina on the Gospel for Sunday and I am going to teach Children's Church this Sunday, so I will get some prayer time in this week.  It just won't be early.


  • Do something scary.  Hell, getting up every morning is scary -- I've got that covered.  Really, I'm thinking.  I would like to do something adventurous.  Maybe I will sign up for this?  I wonder if I could walk it.  Running it would be scary and probably impossible.  
  • Throw away or give away old, unattractive clothes.  I am thinking of which ones to give away, but am worried about not having anything to wear.  Seriously.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


I'm sitting at my computer, waiting for a repairman and trying to get my mind into work mode.  In the background, I am listening to relatives of those lost on 9/11 in New York read the list of names of those murdered by members of an Islamic death cult.  Every year, I listen to the names and feel such empathy for the relatives standing there, naming strangers in alphabetical order.  All the while, they know that, at the end of their portion of the list, they will have to acknowledge in speech the gaping hole that was torn in their lives by people who looked at their precious loved one as just part of a hated group.

This reading of names, this insistence on the particularity of each person who was murdered, is the kernel of my philosophy.  People are not groups.  They aren't "liberals" or "conservatives" or "men" or "women" or "black" or "white" or "Christian" or "Hindu" or "Muslim" or "American" or "alien" or "the 99 percent" or "the 1 percent".  Those are labels that the political cynics and the race baiters and the haters use to divide people from one another in order to accrue power, prestige, and wealth to themselves.  It's time that we stop playing into this tactic.

The news from this past summer has been unrelentingly bad, both internationally and domestically.  In April, 276 Christian schoolgirls were kidnapped in Nigeria, presumably to be sold into slavery or kept as sexual chattel by a branch of the Islamic death cult, Boko Haram.  Another branch of the Islamic death cult, the Islamic State (ISIS) spent the summer cutting a swath of destruction through northern Iraq, beheading soldiers and sticking their heads on spikes, raping women and children, cutting the heads off little Christian boys and girls, driving people from cities and villages that had had a Christian presence for 1,700 years, murdering, raping, and displacing members of the Yazidi ethnic and religious minority, driving them to utter ruin,starvation, and dehydration on Mt. Sinjar in Northern Iraq.  I defy anyone to watch the YouTube video of Vian Dakhil, the Yazidi representative to the Iraqi Parliament, beg for help without weeping.  Meanwhile, it was revealed that gangs of men in Rotherham, England had spent the past fifteen years raping and prostituting English girls without being hindered in any way by police and social service authorities who, while aware of what was going on, were reluctant to intervene because the perpetrators were Asian (i.e. Pakistani) Muslims and the victims were white Christian English girls.  Instead of addressing the crimes being committed, they sent social workers off to "diversity training" and threatened them with firing if they ever again referred to the criminals as "Asian" (i.e., Pakistani Muslim).

On the home front, we spent weeks watching riots in Ferguson, Missouri over a racially-tinged fatal shooting of a black man who may, or may not, have been threatening a white police officer who may, or may not, have been responding to reports of a suspect fitting the man's description who had just committed a strong-arm robbery.  Businesses, homes, and the city itself were well-nigh destroyed.  Respected civil-rights leaders were calling for the police officer to be arrested, indicted, and convicted before an investigation was completed, thus demonstrating their utter lack of interest in due process on national television.  Politicians who are facing tough elections in their districts are distancing themselves from a President who appears ever more disengaged and uninterested in leading, even from behind. The economy sputters along, cost of living rises every week (for example, my grocery bill at Aldi, the cheapest grocery store I can find, has risen from an average of just below $100 per week at the end of last school year to between $110 and $140 per week at the beginning of this school year), and I recognize that I live in a boom-town in comparison to most other places in the country.

This is where my mind has been this summer, caught up in all sorts of dark places.  It's hard to concentrate on the goodness in my life, which is undoubtedly more than I deserve, when, emotionally, I feel that it is teetering on the brink of chaos.  And so, I find it tempting to retreat into the make-believe certainty of a world with labels, of us vs. them.  It feels good.  It feels right.  I have even done it, to a certain extent, in this very post.

Yet, all the while, in the back of my mind, I hear those names.  Those particular people:

Emmanuel Akwasi Afuakwah,
Angela Reed Kyte,
Philip D. Miller,
Rhondelle Cheri Tankard,
Ching Wang, and
Christopher Rudolph Zarba, Jr.,

among so many others.

Each one a gift from God.
Each one precious in the sight of God.
Each one willed into existence by the Lord.
Each one taken from this world by an "us vs. them" mentality, ripped from existence by those who had succumbed to what we used to call "Evil" with a capital E.

How are we to function then, in the world, without our labels for others?  Empathy.  Compassion. Humility.  An understanding that we ourselves don't have all the answers or a lock on the truth.  And, always, with the words of a very wise Person in our ears:  "By their fruits shall you know them." From what I can see on the television screen, many of those who were killed on 9/11 bore the fruits of love in this world.  This is a day when we should ask, "What are the fruits that can be harvested from our own lives?"  I hope the fruits of mine are compassion, love, and kindness.