Category Archives: Health, general

My Bucket for the Cure

I must confess, when I first saw KFC’s ad about Buckets for the Cure, where you buy a bucket of grilled chicken and KFC donates 50 cents of the price paid to breast cancer research, I thought this:

“What?!? So buy a bucket of un-health to support health?” Really, it seems ridiculous. And counter-productive toward the cause in general.

I don’t even have to list all the reasons that it doesn’t make sense. But this is not the point.

Then I thought,

Hmmmm. How many things do I do that, while simultaneously thinking I’m doing something wondrous and “for the greater good”, doesn’t really make any sense when you really add it up?

For instance, me getting all worked up about KFC’s ironic charity efforts (enough to write a blog about it) instead of spending all that think-time coming up with my own ideas for charity, or participating with an already existing one.

Yeah. Sometimes it’s so easy to get worked up about the problem and talking about just how much a problem it is, rather than getting right down to business. Sometimes we hardly need to sit and think about it at all. Nike had it right all along. Just do it. Pay no attention to the pink bucket behind the curtain.

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Filed under Health food, Health, general, Spiritual Application, State of the world, Uncategorized

…by a GIRL!

So there’s one car decal that I don’t like. Here is what it says:

“You just got passed….by a GIRL!”

I saw it on a maroon BMW last week. On our last trip to Colorado, I saw it on the back window of a black Honda Accord with a body kit.

I know there’s still a lot of the “girl power” element in pop culture merchandising, but come on. I feel this decal pretty much reinforces the idea that females do certain things at an inferior rate/pace/ability. Of course it’s meant to be an insult to the poor driver that gets passed…but what is the appeal to having that sticker to the woman/girl driving? Especially if it is on the back window of a typically fast car, it’s just like saying, “You just got passed…..by an overly ambitious female driver of an already faster car than yours. So that means you are driving completely normal, and this is no real insult.” I know that this little phrase may intend to say something more to the effect of, “See, girls drive fast, too!” But that still reinforces that there was some doubt about that fact, and now the female population is in uprising to prove to the freeway world that girls are actually quite speedy. And that draws attention to the fact that this gender group is still out to claim their true position of equality, and in doing so, demands a bit more recognition than the other gender group (thus negating the intended equality).

For me, this decal would really only pack a punch if you put it on the back window of a 1990 or earlier luxury sedan. And preferably if the female driver looks relatively non-ambitious and is in no hurry whatsoever. If that car passes you, then you might consider being embarrassed.

And, in trying to poke fun at a common misconception of the abilities of women, this generalizing decal ends up pinpointing the collective identity of the driver—not necessarily the individual.

I know, this is a little bit of a rant. But it reminded me of another “joke” I heard at a potluck a few months ago. It was actually a guy talking to a visitor.

“Haha, you can tell we’re Adventists because we refuse the meat and black pepper, but we take 2nds and 3rds of that cheese-covered casserole and that ice cream cake!”

I know I know, he was just having fun and making light of things. And I’m so glad that at least he was engaged in conversation with the visitor. But in making comical conversation, he just downplayed his own church’s attitude toward its beloved health message. Instead of joking about his own affinity for cheese and ice cream, in a way he deflates a big part of his collective identity as a Seventh-day Adventist, Health Message Follower.

Maybe this is a far-fetched comparison, and maybe the decals and jokes don’t matter as much to the rest of the world as they do in my own mind’s identity environment. But this is just my little testament to my own identity as a Seventh-day Adventist Woman. I am proud of both, despite what challenges or shortcomings are associated with either along the way.

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One Track Mind

Usually this term is used to describe someone who is overly focused, and can’t seem to think about anything else but their subject of choice. Quite often it has a negative connotation.

Then, the other day, I was telling Van about my ineffective multi-tasking. (He made the mistake of asking me, “how are you doing,” forgetting that I answer honestly and fully, to a fault). I was venting about how I had about six things to do that day, and I was trying to do them all at once, but nothing was getting done because I kept switching between them and then would lose my focus and, though I felt tackling them all at once like that would get things done faster, was actually slowing myself down.

Van seems to have something for everything. “Ya know, isn’t that interesting how we’re wired that way? It’s like a failsafe. The verse in Psalm 119, “Thy word I hath hidden in my heart, so I won’t sin against Thee…” So if we’re always meditating on Scripture, we won’t sin against Him because we can really only think of one thing at a time.” So we discussed, over my cubicle wall, that even though the one-track-mind is making my multi-tasking nearly impossible, I can turn that very same dis-ability into an ability to keep my mind focused on the things of God. Sweet deal.

And it’s so true! That’s the only way I’ve kept myself in line. And the times I haven’t been in line lately, I have certainly not had prayer or other biblical principles on the brain.

And during this re-directing of my mind, I have found another very favorite chunk of verses: Colossians 3: 1-17. For the purpose of this point, I will highlight the way these verses correlate with the Psalm 119 topic:

“Since, then you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things…Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry… Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

And of course, the ever-so-applicable Philippians 4:8: “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Our minds are powerful weapons of control. Given as a gift from God, with free will and colorful, unique personalities…

…and just like any great Superpower, they can be used for good, or for evil.

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Filed under Challenge, Daily Normalcy, Health, general, Spiritual Application, State of the world, Stress, the Bible, Time management

Things People Do that Don’t Make Any Sense

So I was on my way back to the office from grabbing lunch, and I was just crossing 56th street on Pine Lake. I was in the right lane and someone was slightly behind me in the left lane. I noticed my lane was about to give out and merge, so I clicked on my blinker and was going to wait for that car to pass me, but then I noticed it wasn’t going fast enough so I started to merge over left. As I started to do that, the car in the left lane then decided to speed up to pass me (barely) so I wouldn’t end up in front of them in the left lane. I was only miffed because I was already changing lanes and had to swerve back to avoid getting swiped, but otherwise, it didn’t waste me any time. I slowed down slightly to avoid hitting them, but nothing too significant. The other car, however, probably wasted some gas by flooring the  pedal to make sure that no one else could ever be in front of them, plus the light in front of us was yellow at that point so we’d have to stop and relinquish our speed boosts anyway (Oh, and there were absolutely no other cars on that road than us two, so no real gain in getting in front of me). So really, that didn’t make much sense.

The following day, I was on the way home from work and was first in line at the red light. The light turned green and I started slowly accelerating. The guy behind me didn’t think I was accelerating fast enough, so he made a big showy effort of swerving around me to continue his jackrabbit start. Then, about 30 seconds later, I changed lanes around him because I had cruise control on a higher top speed than he was going. So really, his quick start didn’t gain him anything. But this is the kicker. The next stoplight, since I passed him, I was in front again. At the turning of the green, the exact same thing happened. He thought I was starting too slow, so he steps on the gas and swerves around in front. Then 30 seconds later I leisurely pass him again. (Whether or not I was slightly over the speed limit is not the issue here. And it wasn’t more than 5 over anyway…) That driver’s actions didn’t make any sense, really.

And I’ll always remember my sighting of a BICYCLE with spinning rims. And before that it was a MINIVAN with spinning rims. Sheesh. I just ask…WHY?

Ok, the point here is not that I make sense and everyone else doesn’t. Though I try to make myself come out smelling like a rose in those two anecdotes, I know that’s not the case. I do way too many things that don’t make any sense. I’ve been both of those drivers before. I’ve bought “blingy” things that had no real value. I’ve hurried through things only to sit and wait. I’ve stressed and worried about things only to realize they weren’t that big of a deal and I could have figured that out if I’d have just put it in perspective. Tomorrow really does worry about itself. Things really will be ok, even if they aren’t for a bit. Oh look, I’m coming back around to Ecclesiastes again. It’s all vanity! Again, I’m so glad that the stuff that really matters is finding joy in your toil, enjoying what you’ve been given, and living in the moment. Here’s to now, and all the vain things I don’t have to worry about right now. They don’t make any sense, anyway.

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Circadian (among other) Rhythms

Most who know me remember that I fall asleep punctually at 10ish every night and that I get up at the same time every morning. I also like to eat at the same time every day (and on the weekends I kinda freak out if I don’t!) I like routine, and when the routine carries itself out through the week, I get this crazy high. It’s like my circadian rhythm gives me a high-five when I stick to it.

And in general, my life really does revolve around rhythm. Sometimes too much. I am the type that drums on all surfaces during a conversation or is always tapping my feet or even doin’ a little jig while (I think/hope) no one is lookin’.

I get lost in music and get this little euphoria when I am playing or participating in a song. Charles Drake told us in a worship why music is so powerful is because it bypasses the thalamus (the brain’s “gatekeeper” and categorize-er) and goes straight to our emotions. Music is manipulative and can almost reverse your mood instantly. (So, of course with any powerful tool, it can be used for good or evil. Here I focus on the good).

Sometimes I wonder what God was intending when He created music. I wonder what it really sounded like when the angels sang. If they played instruments at all or if they even had to. I wonder what made the rhythm in the angel choirs, if they had a heavenly drum set or something. Sometimes I wish I could hear an angelic remix of Queen’s “Somebody to Love”, Yes’s “Seen All Good People” or Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time.” I wonder if they’ll take requests when we’re in heaven?

I’m also continuing with my dance classes. It is so much fun knowing that I can make my body move in harmony with a song’s rhythm. Nothing like it in the world.

Then I wonder what life would be like without rhythm. If we would walk differently, speak differently, or not be able to have the same coordination. Everything seems to operate on some sort of rhythm. It makes me think of that Volkswagen commercial from a few years ago when the drivers are cruising down the street and everything is following the beat of the song. The basketball bounces to the baseline, the jogger is in sync, as well as the windshield wipers. And in that similar but less exaggerated way, I think my life follows a beat. I think my thoughts and my actions have an underlying meter to them. And when my inherent metronome is thrown off, I just don’t function as well. That must be where the saying came from about “moving to the beat of a different drummer.”

I think God created us with rhythm so we could be efficient beings. We need something to move by, eat by, sleep by, thrive by. Good thing He gave us plenty of examples in the Bible of rhythms and steps to live by (I like Colossians 3. Put away this while putting on that. Let it be the pace of your Walk). Therefore, embrace the bounce in your step, that favorite song of yours, the way you always step out the door with your right foot first, whatever. Do what you do and thank God for your divinely instilled rhythm.

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Personal Trainer

Accepting Jesus Christ as your Personal Trainer

Of course He’s the Saviour of the world, but lately this little analogy keeps popping up in my mind when we’re in Sabbath School, Bible study, or just a discussion. It takes it a step beyond just the fact of being rescued from eternal nonexistence. It’s truly letting Jesus into your life.

I think of the Christian Life as gym membership. You accept the free membership, and you come in regularly for training, in whatever fashion you choose. Whether you are into the holy treadmills, the evangelistic ellipticals or the sanctifying stationary bikes. You get free personal training sessions with the One and Only Jesus Christ and he pumps you up into shape for all that life throws at you outside the gym doors. Training is not exactlty always fun, but yields myriad benefits. A relationship is built, body and soul, with your Trainer.

Though, sadly, some might just tote around their gym membership card, showing it to people, wearing it around their neck as a good luck charm, or keeping it in their wallet for them to view if they need to convince themselves they aren’t completely bad people. Maybe they’ll even intend to go sometime, but they just don’t feel like it. And that’ll be as far as the membership will go. They may only stop into the health club about once or twice. Their lives won’t reap the benefits of training, and neither will they tap into the truly Saving relationship with the Trainer.

Some might periodically visit the gym, but just stick to the holy treadmills and not show up for their free training sessions. Their physique may not appear gluttonous or swollen with sinfulness, due to their relationship with the treadmill, but their spiritual muscles are hardly flexed as the relationship that really counts is the one with the Trainer, not the treadmill.

And some others might be excited about getting their gym membership and get right onto the exercise equipment, and have every intention of scheduling a session with the Trainer. However, they get caught up in a program they set up themselves, or they become so busy that they neglect to make time for the gym.

Usually I’m not into somewhat cheesy analogies, but this one has come into conversation at least three times in the last month so I thought I would write it down. The last time it popped into mind was when our Bible study group was discussing the Laodicean state. The Laos could fit into any one of those sad categories, though mostly in the first and last. I suppose Ephesus mostly occupies the middle category. Each way, these are missing the point that it is the relationship that saves.

“You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.” Rev. 2: 3-4

“You say, ‘I am rich’…but you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Rev 3:17

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Child of Rhythm: Of high tides, snare drums and puzzle pieces

A stream of consciousness from today:

On my way home from work, an advertisement on the radio had crashing waves as a sound effect for advertising a summer getaway travel package that you could book from a local travel agent. Though the commercials were soon over and there was a song playing, the sound of crashing waves kept going through my head. It had triggered a memory.

When I was a kid, my family took a few trips to Hawaii since my grandparents had a timeshare. For the latest trip, I was in high school and was concerned more about getting a good tan than I was about many of the touristy activities we were going to do. But on a Sabbath morning, when we went down to the beach for a bit,  I decided to make my towel-dwelling, ray-soaking self a bit more productive than just absorbing sunlight. I had a good 20 minute prayer (and for an attention-deficit high-schooler, that was pretty good). I remember praying for God to make my hair not frizz so much, and other silly things, but it turned into a rather profound conversation with my Creator. And the crashing waves and soft breeze just made it all the more meaningful and memorable.

I remember talking to God about how I thought it was cool that he put rhythm into everything. Right before I prayed, I counted the seconds between wave crashes. I started moving my toes to the “beat” that the waves were creating. I remember the timing between the waves slowly getting longer and longer as the shoreline moved with the tide. I started singing songs in my head along with the waves. And I remember thinking that God knew what he was doing when he put in me the desire to be a musician and a dancer, and an appreciator of nature.

Pulling from the theme of the previous blog, I really like how God finds really clever ways to remind us that we are who we are for a reason. That I can take comfort and joy in the simple fact that I am me. Even with all the silly things that I almost hate about myself, I would never give them up if it meant my identity would change. The fact that I cry at most movies, that I laugh a bit too loud, that I sometimes speak out of turn, that sometimes I like people a little too much that I overwhelm them; all those things have been annoyances to me in my life, and yet when I think about what I would be without them, I slowly begin to embrace them. And when I still get a little bit down about the things that aren’t ideal about myself, God reminds me of crashing waves, tapping toes, and warm sunlight, and the acceptance of who I am and what I am moved to do.

Predominantly, I’ve found that most of my life revolves around people and/or rhythm. I’m very shy and introverted, but I love connecting with people and each person I meet immediately becomes meaningful to me. I remember names and faces very well, and my biggest social fault lies on the end of the spectrum that makes me appear nosy. On the rhythm side, I’m always tapping on something, always finding connections in the sounds around me. I remember in 8th grade, my science teacher called me a “child of rhythm” after the end-of-the-year band concert, when I had my first solo snare drum sequence. I find that when NPR plays classical music over the lunch hour, I seem to want to drive faster during heavy snare drum and crash cymbal choruses. Sometimes I think I should have been a choir or band conductor because those movements are just so natural to me (but I’m too afraid of being in front of a lot of people). And there is no morning pick-me-up like my 5:45am jazzercise class, the only exercise routine I have been able to stick with for over a year.

Back on the relational end, I also think of myself in terms of my relationship to my husband. He is all verbal (he is an English teacher, so I guess that comes with the territory), and I am all nonverbal. The messages we receive from each other or people around us vary so much when we both tell our side of things. But once we figured out how each other worked, it’s amazingly perfect the way we complement each other.

Life is a big jigsaw puzzle and we are all shaped differently, and we all fit together differently. (even more on this topic later). I have come to like the shape of my puzzle piece, and the way it fits with others. Thank you, God, for opening the puzzle box, shaking it up, and letting each piece discover where they fit.

(Random though these thoughts are, pieces of these concepts float to my consciousness just about daily. Maybe it is God reminding me that “I am who I am” (go Popeye!) and that I better be true to myself.)

“All together now—applause for God! Sing songs to the tune of his glory, set glory to the rhythms of his praise.” (Psalm 66:1, The Message Bible)

“… May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors” ( Kings 8:56, The Message Bible)

“…The God who gives rain in both spring and autumn and maintains the rhythm of the seasons, Who sets aside time each year for harvest and keeps everything running smoothly for us?’…(Jeremiah 5:20, The Message Bible)

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