26 before 26…

So as MANY other people do in the blogging community, I’ve come up with a list of goals I would like to accomplish before I turn 26 on May 21, 2012. I’ve organized the list into smaller categories (which, incidentally, made it easier to come up with 26 goals) and I will *attempt* to update as I complete (or start) items on the list. Of course, being that I have a LOT of time on my hands right now, I’d imagine that I’ll be jumping head first into some of the easier to complete goals (mostly the reading ones).

I also wanted to make sure that I was putting items on the list that I can actually track in some sort of reliable manner. Somehow “spending less time on the internet” didn’t seem like a good goal because really, I’d have to take a baseline of how much time I spend and then continue to collect data. Not. Fun. However, if I spend MORE time doing OTHER things, it’s entirely possible that my internet usage (at least wasteful usage) will decrease. Also, some of my goals INVOLVE the internet. What can I do about that?

I’m actually pretty excited about this and I *hope* that it’s something I can keep in mind while going about life. I’ll tack this list up in its own little tab where I will undoubtedly make some additions that will help me to keep track of what I’ve accomplished.

So, without further ado, The List:

26 before 26

Financial Goals:
1. Get a job
2. Start paying off student loans
3. Take another step closer to tithing
4. Talk seriously about finances and financial goals without worrying.

Fitness Goals:
5. Run a 10k and have properly and sufficiently trained
6. Run either a half or full marathon and have properly and sufficiently trained
7. Do yoga on at least one off-running day a week for at least 8 weeks (not necessarily in a row)
8. Decrease my average minutes/mile to 8:30 minutes/mile or faster

Personal Goals:
9. Educate myself about politics and political party values
10. Say only things about others that I would say if they were part of the conversation (even famous people)
11. Allow what James sees to trump what I see in the mirror

James-given Goals:
12. Teach James how to read and play music, even if only at a basic level
13. Learn to play hockey
14. Begin reading the Sword of Truth series

Literary Goals:
15. Finish reading the Red Wings book I gave to James for Christmas
16. Finish reading Love & Respect
17. Read all four therapy books I got from Amazon

Spiritual Goals:
18. Finish reading the Old Testament
19. Lead a summer Life Group to completion
20. Read Galatians with the rest of the church AND try to have discussions about it with other church members (either through facebook, actual getting together and discussing groups, softball team or email)
21. Purchase and listen to more Christian music

Food-related Goals:
22. Keep up with planning meals either weekly or biweekly
23. Try a new recipe every month AND share it with the blogging community
24. Incorporate more fruits and veggies into meals

Social Goals:
25. Get together with friends at least twice a month to hang out
26. Get to know more people at church

How about you? What do you want to accomplish in the next year?



I’ve been slacking hardcore in the blog department for longer than I care to admit, but it’s not because there is lack of stuff swirling in my brain to talk about. I think I just haven’t taken the time to do anything about it. Some of it has to do with professionalism and not wanting to talk about job prospects on here. At least not before I’ve heard about an interview or whatever. You just never know. However, I HAVE been doing some job searching, I DID have an interview last week and we’ll see what they say sometime this week. Honestly, though, this will probably not become my job for several reasons. I’ll get into that after the fact, though. There is another potential job on the horizon but I have some stuff to do before talking about that.

Mostly, though, that’s been the bulk of my existence the past week and a half. Softball was canceled last week because of storms, I’ve been running two miles every other day for about a week, TRYING to maintain good form (today I did not. I was really tired.), and typical apartment maintenance and whatnot. Needless to say, life has been a little dull for blogs lately.

However, I was visiting someone’s blog today and no, I don’t remember who anymore, but they had a list of stuff that they wanted to. So I’m thinking that I may try for some kind of list of achievements this year, a 26 before 26 or something. I’m not sure yet, though. I don’t know what I would put on it. I don’t know that I can feasibly plan that far ahead. It’s mulling around in my head.

I’m also going to try to make an effort to post at least twice a week here. I know it’s not much, but it’s something. I’m definitely bogged down with Reader because I’ve been a slacker lately and fell WAY behind. I’m trying to catch up. It’s just hard.

Also, in church we’re going through a series about Galatians, so I’m going to attempt to read through it at least once a week (thought it’s only 6 chapters, I could probably read through it every day without breaking a sweat) in BOTH versions of the Bibles I have. I have the Message, which is actually what the pastor is teaching from. It’s pretty cool, actually. I also have the good ol’ NIV, your standard version (or one of them). I think this is going to be a really good series because it’s talking about religion and how detrimental it is being religious. Religion is rules and rules never transformed anyone’s life for the better. It should be REALLY cool and I’m excited about it.

Anyway, I apologize, reading community, for my slacking and I promise to try to do better in the future.

random thoughts…

  • I’ve just started following a new batch of bloggers from a collaborative blog that never quite got off the ground. I, of course, won’t stick with ALL of them, but it’s been fun getting to peek into the worlds of a few more people. What I find more interesting is that going through reader now is kind of like going to a party where I only know a few people and so I’m making the rounds chitchatting, but then I come across someone I already know and it’s really refreshing. Do you ever get that when following a new blogger?
  • I played softball last night and was pretty much crippled after the games. I had surgery a million years ago on my legs, but I don’t know that all this scar tissue is a big fan of my running, so it’s been annoyed. Of course, being the catcher, I would get hit with the ball RIGHT where my leg is ALREADY annoyed. It took us FOREVER to walk to the car with me limping along, trying not to engage that muscle. Today, it’s not so bad. I’m really thankful for that.
  • I am part of a women’s Bible study and over the summer, we’ve been doing a book club once a month. Apparently next month, we’re not doing a book which is a bummer to me. We’ve been reading some good stuff. We just read this book called Crazy Love. Long story short, it’s about how God, who created the ENTIRE universe, cares about us dinky little humans and those of us who call ourselves Christians should probably be living a LOT more differently than we do in response to this crazy love that God has for us. The only thing is, sometimes it’s hard to conceptualize what that ACTUALLY looks like. So I suggested what I thought would be a good follow-up book, A Contrarian’s Guide to Knowing God, but to no avail. I thought it would be good. I guess we’re going to a play or something instead.
  • Speaking of Bible studies, I cannot WAIT until James and I start our new believers/seeking Bible study for part of the summer. It’s a 6 week series about major questions people ask about Christianity. I am really looking forward to getting together with people to discuss it. I miss that – discussion. Discussion about faith, about questions, all of it. I like to think and it makes me sad when I put things out there for people to think about and then NEVER get a response.
  • I have no idea what I want to do for a career. Some people are looking addiction counseling/rehab type jobs for me because they have connections and I think that’s really cool. I think I could totally be content in that. Or in regular counseling. Or in running a forum that discusses faith and biblical things. Or training dogs. Or being a mom. I feel like I have no focus and that I should. I hate that about our society. Just sayin.
  • On a TMI note (feel free to just skip this one, but I gotta get it off my chest), I’ve had my period 3 times in 2 months. I’m on a pill that’s supposed to keep it away for a YEAR. Needless to say, I’m annoyed. I was going to make an appt with a gynecologist, but I can’t get in until August. So, back to my regular doc I go at the end of this month to talk about and figure out what the HECK is going on and what we can do to make this craziness stop! I fear, though, that I actually need to see a gynecologist to get those kinds of questions answered. You know, that being their specialty and all. *sigh*
  • I have 3 friends who are going to have babies. That makes me want one too. Of course, 2/3s of them of have been married for like, 4 years. One got married a few months after us. I know we can’t afford one right now (especially since I have approximately eleventy billion dollars in school loans). I just kinda want one. Or a puppy. I’d be okay with that too.
  • What is up with this summer? Cold for a week, hot for two days, rain for 3 days, cold for a week. Ridiculous.
  • Usually I spend a bulk of my day playing world of warcraft (because seriously, I have nothing else to do, and yes, I enjoy it. Judge away if you must.) but today, I think I’m going to watch some Invader Zim instead. I have Gir’s ‘doom’ song in my head. I think that’s a sign that I need to watch it.

what’s on your mind today?

trying new things…

I mentioned a post or two back that I ran a half marathon. And survived. I’m now training for a 10k with one of my friends who just happens to live 3 hours away. And so is the 10k. Fortunately, it’s not until August and I *should* be able to go. The only thing standing between me and that 10k is learning how to run.

Okay, maybe I don’t have to learn how to run again, but I do need to learn a different stride. Why? Because I’m a terrible heel-striker when I run. That means the first thing to come in contact with the pavement is my heel. That’s not good. At least according to people who run in minimalist shoes. Yes, I finally caught onto the minimalist shoe trend, only about 2 years behind. That’s actually pretty typical for me. I don’t jump on any bandwagon right away simply out of principle. I’m that person, I know.

So the shoes I wore during my half are these lovely darlings:

I found out the hard way that I cannot run those kind of distances in these shoes. At least not without learning how to run properly. My toes were hurting the ENTIRE race and all sorts of other aches and pains related directly to the shoe and how I was running improperly. Now, I’m training in these darling shoes:

They are a bit more shoe than the 5-fingers, but I think I’m actually okay with that. The thing about minimal shoes is that you kinda have to learn how to run on the balls of your feet. Basically, your forefoot strikes the ground first. The only problem is that it works an entirely DIFFERENT set of muscles to run that way. Like, I could barely walk for 2 days after running less than a mile like that (and playing catcher the day after for 2 softball games PROBABLY didn’t help, but whatever. Details.).

I made it a mile and a half today and actually felt pretty good during it. My throat and lungs seemed to be less ready for this run than my legs. That could also be because I was running significantly faster than I ever ran before. That’s a nice side effect of this new style. I run much faster with half the effort. Talk about WIN!

I’m definitely excited to see where this new running form takes me. Who knows? I may even start doing yoga again for strength and flexibility. I had good intentions to do it this week because I couldn’t run, but I also could barely walk. We’ll try again next week.

In other news, early next week I should be submitting my application for a job! Full-time. Benefits. Everything. Scary, but really exciting.

being hesitant to really dig in…

Recently, I was having a conversation with one of James’ friends about a verse that James posted on his facebook wall. Needless to say, I’m not sure if the conversation is still actually going or if last reply was so long that he didn’t really want to deal with it. Either way, whatever. I really enjoyed the conversation. However, during the course of the conversation, he asked some pretty tough, but typical questions that non-Christians like to ask in order to stump us Christians and prove that we’re, well… either crazy or wrong (unless someone is genuinely seeking answers, then they’re just really tough questions that have the tendency to hang people up because they’re so mind-boggling).

So this gentleman, of course, asked about hell. Most Christians have a nice little answer that they’ve heard their entire lives and generally just give that answer without much additional thought. I’ve certainly done that and tried to make it okay by adding the ‘I haven’t really researched this’ caveat. This time, because the conversation was via facebook, I actually had the luxury of taking the time to research my answer and to look at what is ACTUALLY said about hell in the Bible. Needless to say, I was COMPLETELY and UTTERLY surprised by what I found. To the point where I’m not actually 100% sure about my answer.

However, I’ve sat on it for a couple weeks now, waiting to see if he’ll actually reply to what I said and I have yet to hear. I decided that I wanted a second opinion about what I had found, so I posed it to my women’s Life Group on our closed facebook page. That was just yesterday so I’m not REALLY expecting a slough of answers yet, but one I HAVE gotten has made me think, but probably not for the reasons you would think.

The only answer I’ve gotten so far is “I’m no theologian, I just know what I know and I know that God is good”. My initial response is ‘I’m not a theologian either, I simply looked in the Bible to see what it ACTUALLY said.” I provided the references for the precise reason that none of us are theologians – these are the verses that led me to my conclusion and I wanted others to read them and see what conclusion they would draw.

That aside, though, how often do we Christians use ‘I’m no theologian’ as an excuse to NOT dig into the Bible and to NOT really try to find what it says? Is it really some mysterious book that is SO far beyond us normal, non-pastor, non-theologians that we’re unable to find answers for ourselves? Or is it that we’re subtly told that from the beginning? Or is that it’s a REALLY big book with something to say about LOTS of things and it’s just kind of hard to navigate sometimes? Maybe it’s because I’ve been in school my whole life, spent the past 2 years learning how to research and it’s simply that skill that has taken over and others who don’t ever do research just don’t have the skills?

Honestly, it makes me sad because that’s the kind of reasoning that leads to others believing that Christians accept everything on blind faith and that God hates questions and doubts and things of that nature. BUT THAT ISN’T THE CASE!!! In the Bible itself, (Isaiah 1:18) God says to the Israelites, ‘Come now, let us reason together…’. After doing a little more digging, the original word is actually closer to ‘an argument such as one used in a court of law’. When do you EVER hear about a court case settled on blind faith or intuition? NEVER! God isn’t expecting us to do so, either! We need to reason, to research, to look for ourselves and QUESTION. Why are we so afraid or unwilling to do that?

Now, of COURSE I’m going to share what this guy said and my reply because I’d be a jerk not to now that I’ve written a whole post dealing with thoughts arising from this conversation.


(The dude) What makes God a bad guy is His creating hell in the first place, creating the criteria for who qualifies for a one-way trip there — while knowing full well who will end up there and why long before blinking them into existence (which puts paid to the idea that He’s given us “free will” to begin with). It was His game to create, and He decided to create a game where unsupported credulity would spare his sentient creations the agony of eternal torture. Given the powers of omnipotence, I’m pretty sure most folks could come up with a much nicer game — maybe one where everyone wins cupcakes and a puppy.

(Me) This leads me to your statement of “God creating hell in the first place”. This is something that actually hadn’t occurred to me until right now. If you look at Genesis 1:1, it says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Where is the mention of creating hell? The only place I could find where there was any mention of a creation of hell is in Matthew 25:41 “…into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Hell wasn’t even created for humans! Also, if you look at Revelation 12:9, Satan wasn’t immediately cast into hell. He was cast to the earth, with all of his angels. Later in that chapter, verse 19, it says that “the dragon (Satan) was enraged and went off to make war with those who obey God’s commands.”
What do you think? Am I way off the mark (as in having misread or misinterpreted something) or have I surprised myself with this crazy truth?


What are your thoughts? (about anything I’ve said, not just the conversation excerpt)

and the job search begins…

We have been in New York for the past week and I have to admit, I’m really glad to be home. It’s a nice place to visit, but there are definitely a few things I really dislike, such as lots of people, lots of noise, being crowded everywhere, and everything is really expensive. I like the slower pace of the Midwest. I like my smallish city. I like not having to listen to car horns honk at all hours and constantly hearing sirens of some kind or deal with oodles of herpaderp tourists and I really like some peace and quiet. Of course, there are no Broadway theatres here or carriage rides or really tall buildings (some of the cooler things), but I can also walk down the street and not be asked by 14 different people if I want to rent a bike or take a carriage ride. I like being home.

Of course, being home means that The Job Search begins. I was fretting about it quite a bit on Saturday, our last day in New York, because I’m rather apprehensive about starting. Right now, I’m not sure where I want to work or what I want to do. We were talking about it a little and I said “I just don’t know what I want to do with my life” and James replied with something rather profound. He said “I do. You want to be a good wife, you want to be a good mother, and someday, you want to be a respected professional.”

It really got me thinking. When did “What do I want to do with my life?” become “What job do I want to work or what career do I want to have until either I retire or change my mind?” When did “What do I want to do with my life?” become all about working? There are MANY things I can do with my life and work is only ONE of them. Heck, a SMALL one at that. I do want to be a good wife and someday mom, I want to be a good friend, a faithful Christian. I want to be reliable and dependable. I want to be a marathoner (I think, we’ll see how I feel about that after my first marathon) and someday, I’d like to try an ultra-marathon (that’s 100 miles, folks). I want to be a good dog-owner and a faithful Red Wings fan. I want to be a consistent volunteer at my church and even other places, too.

I think that in our culture, work has become too important. I forget that work is what you do so that you can do what you want when you’re not at work. I often believe that work HAS to be enjoyable, something that I’ll look forward to doing every day and something that fulfills me on some level. Work is WORK, it’s not meant to be fun, it’s not synonymous with fun. I can be fulfilled in so many other areas of my life that work really is just something that brings home a little paycheck that helps us to do as we wish. Having it be a really great and fulfilling job would be a perk, but I can make it a requirement.

I’m not going to lie, this new perspective doesn’t make The Job Search any less scary, but it does take off some of the pressure of finding a REALLY great job that I will LOVE and that will FULFILL me. I just have to remember what its purpose is and I have to remember to keep it in the right spot on my list of priorities. It has to be important enough to do well, but not so important that it consumes my life.

what is your perspective on working and jobs?