Saturday, February 25, 2006

Talking About Torino

Well, the 2006 Winer Olympics are just about over. I was excited to watch the Olympics this year because it's the first time in many years that I've had the opportunity to do so. I watched something almost every evening and have some closing thoughts as the games wind down this weekend.

1 - NBC needs to pass the Olympic torch off to someone else. Maybe it's just me, but their coverage leaves a lot to be desired. Much of what Bob Costas had to say was boring or unwatchable. I also thought their comentators for several sports were not very wise choices. Some of them talked consistantly so much that you could hardly pay attention to what was going on. There's a difference between commenting on the events and talking just to hear yourself on television.

2 - Snowboarding is fun to watch. I enjoyed seeing the skiing and snowboarding this year. I'm always amazed at how fast those people can move on the snow. I felt bad for the ladies in some of their events dealing with horrible fog and blowing snow. Of course, then again it is winter.

3 - There was an awful lot of fighting. It seemed every time I turned on the TV there was a story about people fighting. Whether it was between competitors like the speed skating guys or between coaches and players feuding. Last night the news was all over Picabo Street's comments about a woman on the US Ski Team that were less than flattering. I'm not sure people realize it, but these types of feuds don't paint anyone in a good light. No one comes out the winner.

4 - There's too much pressure on the ice skaters. Some of these skaters are way too young to have the kind of stress on them from their coaches and representing countries. The press is especially guilty of this. The Russian women's staker Irena Slutskya was suffering from a medical condition that makes her blood vessels swell. She also has had to deal with her mom's kidney disease and failed transplant that caused her health to deteriorate. The girl's doctor told her to take a year off and rest, but you can't take a year off before the Olympics and still be a contender. So she's dealing with her illness, her mom's illness and the stress from being in the Olympics and what's the focus? If she can win a gold, there will be a Russian Sweep in the Ice Skating. Is that really all she is? Just a bagde for the Russians? I'm surprised with all of the stress that she took a bronze! I've heard people remark that skaters like Emily Hughes and the young girl from Georgia skated with such joy and a love for the sport. But I think that's only because they weren't expected to place. I'm guessing that those girls will have the same determined, driven, joyless look on their faces as they make their way to medal contention in a few years.

5 - Stop showing off. One thing that seemed so obvious, especially in the skiing and snowboarding competitions was the pride and arrogance of the participants. I realize the Olymπics are exciting and a change-of-a-lifetime, but honestly, some of these people were out of control. I would listen to interviews and wonder what these people were going to do when their athletic career was over. An employer would never put up with some of these attitudes. I wish them well, but some are going to have to be humbled a bit before they can assimilate into the normal world with the rest of us.

6 - Can somebody please force Dick Button to retire? Isn't the man old enough to do so soon? I have hated his commentary skills for so long. Each year I think, please Dick Button, move on to playing golf in a retirement community and leave figure staking to those who actually enjoy it. He's cranky, inconsistent, and often incoherent. He makes his own words up, complains about everything and just generally acts ticked off. It's almost like he takes the skater's errors and personal affronts to the great sport of Ice Skating. He kinda reminds me of the two guys in the balcony on the Muppet Show. Except those guys were funny. And puppets.

Overall, the events were fun to watch. I especially enjoyed watching the people from tiny countries with no medal hopes. They seemed so honored to be there and happy to particiapte.

Thank You, Sakura

The women of Flourish had dinner at Sakura Japanese Steakhouse last night. We had a lovely time. There were 16 women and we took up two tables. Everyone enjoyed the food and it was hard to leave. My mom suggested that if we do it again next year we plan to go somewhere for coffee or desert afterward. That way we'd have more time for catching up.

Thanks for Debi for her work organizing the night and for Ruth, Pam, Carol, Naomi, Danielle, Darleen, Kim, Sharon, Candy, Susie, Joanne, Karen, Leslie, and Brya for for joining us! I hope all of you will join us again for another event.

So far the Flourish activities have been pretty easy to plan this year. Now we're hard at work with the Game Night on March 18 and the next Flourish Cafe on the 31st of March.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Can I Get An Amen?

I'm putting my teacher hat on right now and giving you some instructions. I'd love to have those of you who read this blog (all three of you) actually make a comment. Yes, you. I can see you hiding behind the tall girl in the back and you're not getting away with it. I'm on to you. So listen up.

Were you aware that after you read a blog post, you can make a comment so that I know your thoughts? It's so easy and painless that you'll wonder why you didn't try it before now. So here goes, people. Listen up as I explain and don't make me repeat myself.

At the end of a post in pink letters you'll see the word COMMENTS. You can click on that word and it will take you to the comments page. Just type whatever you have to say. When you're ready to post it, you have to select who you are. If you have a blogspot account, you can log in and sign in under your name. If you don't, just select anonymous and that's it! If you do use the anonymous identity, make sure you put your name up with your comments so I know who you are.

Okay, class. Let's all try it out. Don't make me call you down in front of the whole class....

Martha vs. The Donald: The Battle of the Over-Inflated Egos

So Martha Stewart and Donald Trump are arguing, huh? I feel like sending in a kindergarten teacher to say, "Okay, boys and girls, play nice."

I guess all the money, power and position in the world won't help a bad attitude and big ego. Honestly, I wish they'd both zip it and move on. The Donald is mad at Martha for suggesting she was supposed to fire him on her show. He says she's lying. I guess we'll never know if she is or not, but it seems kinda odd to me for The Donald to accuse someone else of lying. He's the one running around saying he's had the number one show in America. South America, maybe. He doesn't have the number one show. He might have the number one show in his time slot, although that hasn't happened in awhile. I don't believe The Apprentice has ever been the number one show in America. I doubt it has ever outperformed CSI in it's very own timeslot! Donald Trump is the last person who should accuse anyone of lying as he overinflates things quite a bit himself. "Pot, meet kettle..."

For some reason, I am expecting this whole feud to be a TV movie of the week. If they run out of kidnapped babies, women in jeopardy, or disaster of the week movies, that is. As for me, I'm not planning to watch either show. Not that Martha's is coming back. The Donald is right about one thing, her show was pretty stinky.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Captivated, Chapter Four

This chapter was a difficult one to read. I must admit, I was slightly sick and physically shaking as I read some of it. I resonated so much with my childhood and much of what I felt as a child and since then, as an adult. As I read I slightly wondered if this book might not be too overwhelming for me to think about. But I know the meat of this book is so needed in not only my life, but the lives of so many women I know, that I'm pressing on.

If a woman is comfortable with her own femininity, her beauty, her strength, then the chances are good that her daughter will be too. (p. 61)

...the reason there are so many struggling women is because there were so many wounded girls. (p. 64)

We can't put words to is, but down deep we fear there is something terribly wrong with us. If we were the princess, then our price would have come. If we were the daughter of a king, he would have fought for us. We can't help but belief that if we were different, if we were better, then we would have been loved as we so longed to be. It must be us. (p. 69)

The vows we make as children are very understandable - and very, very damaging. They shut our hearts down. They are essentially a deep-seated agreement with the messages of our wounds. They act as an agreement with the verdict on us. "Fine. If that's how it is, then that's how it is. I'll live my life in the following way..." (p. 70)

Shame causes us to hide. We are afraid of being truly seen, and so we hide our truest selves and offer only what we believe is wanted. If we are a dominating kind of woman, we offer our "expertise." If we are a desolate kind of woman, we offer our "service." We are silent and do not say what we see or know when it is different from what others are saying, because we think we must be wrong. We refuse to bring the weight of our lives, who God has made us to be, to bear on others out of a fear of being rejected. (p. 74)

The wounds we received and the messages they brought formed a sort of unholy alliance with out fallen nature as women. From Eve we received a deep mistrust in the heart of God toward us. Clearly, he's holding out on us. We'll just have to arrange for the life we want. We will control our world. But there is also an ache deep within, an ache for intimacy and for life. We'll have to find a way to fill it. A way that does not require us to trust anyone, especially God. A way that will not require vulnerability.
In some ways, this is every little girl's story, here in this world, east of Eden.
But the wounds don't stop once we are grown up. Some of the most crippling and destructive wounds we receive come much later in our lives. The wounds that we have received over our lifetimes have not come to us in a vacuum. There is, in fact, a theme to them, a pattern. The wounds you have received have come to you for a purpose from one who knows all you are meant to be and fears you. (p. 75)

Dishin' It Up!

I had a blast last night at Dish It Up! I was amazed at how easy it was and how much fun it was. And now, I have sixteen meals in my freezer for the next month, ready to go! And they are good meals too, like pot roast, salmon, shrimp scampi, chicken chili, chicken and dumplings, oriental pork chops, and more. I am thinking this might be a monthly trip for us. I'm curious to see how much we spend adding in extras to go along with the meal. If we don't spend too much it will end up being cheaper as well. I think we have a winner! If you want to check it out their website is (I went to the store that is listed as MD-Baltimore. It's in Timonium, near where my mom works. They have other locations that you can see from the website.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Movie Reviews from 02.11.06

While I was staying warm in doors on Sunday I watched some movies. All three of them were great. I want to start adding mini movie reviews into my blog so I'll start with these three:

1. The Corpse Bride - I liked this movie a lot. I have not seen The Nightmare Before Christmas but I added it to my Netflix list once I saw this one. I like the story and thought it was clever. I also liked it from an artistic view since the world Tim Burton created is very unique. I thought it was funny how the underworld was in color and very lively. It was loud and there was music and laughter and joking. Then in the live world things were grey and quiet. Those who were alive lived drab, boring lives. This movie isn't for everyone but I enjoyed it.

2. The Day After Tomorrow - I loved this movie. I love disaster movies. I like movies where people have to continue on to face overwhelming odds. I am a big fan of movies with this theme. I was hesitant to see this movie because I remember when it came out that people were complaining how it had a very "tree-hugger" agenda and that kinda turned me off. But I was able to tune out the propaganda and enjoyed the story very much. I love Dennis Quaid as well so that was a nice bonus to the movie. It was also interesting to think about how long I could survive on what i had I my house should disaster occurr. I'm thinking not too long. I keep very few extras in my pantry. I don't even really have a pantry to be honest!

3. The Interpreter - This movie was one of the best I've seen on DVD in awhile. It was supsenseful and exciting without being scary or hard to follow. I enjoyed the story and liked the angle of the United Nations setting. Nicole Kidman was great as always and even though Sean Pean isn't a favorite he was good in his role. I like movies that make me think and this one did.

So that's my recent movie-watching. Three new flicks are coming from Netflix this week, yippee!! I love me some Netflix!

My Wintery Weekend

Currently Listing To: Sara Groves "Add to the Beauty"
Currently Reading: Cheri Fuller's "A Busy Woman's Guide to Prayer"

I had a great weekend. We ended up with about 12 or 14 inches of snow Saturday night. I was so pretty outside and so quiet and still. I love when it snows. Of course, I hate having to clean it off my car or drive in it, but overall, some snow every winter is fun.

I did manage to squeeze some scrapbooking in during my weekend away before it snowed. I did seven pages for my personal album. That doesn't sound like much, but I only worked for about 7 hours or so and I did all the journaling on them myself - in my own handwriting. I wrote the stuff out ahead of time and then traced lines on my paper. Then I copied what I wrote previously. After the ink dried, I had to erase all my lines. This book is more like an illustrated journal with lots of writing and some pictures and memoriablia. I am happy with it so far, but it's going to take longer than I first thought it would. But so far, I'm having fun with it.

I have been watching some of the Olympics. It's been many years since I've been able to watch them. I have always enjoyed the winter ones. I like the speed skating, ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding. I know curling is huge, but I just can't get into it. The first year it was in the Olympics, I watched quite a bit of it. Honestly, to me it's kinda boring. But I know it has it's fans.

Friday, February 10, 2006

And Now For The Weather...

What I'm Reading The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell
What I'm Listening To When God Ran by Across the Sky

Well, it's supposed to snow this weekend. I am not sure how I feel abou it. In a way I'd love to have some snow since we've had very little this winter. On the other hand, I'm going to a scrapbook weekend and I'd hate to have to end it early. I just hope if it snows, it snows enough so that I can stay home a day or two. I hate these snows where it's enough snow to have messy parking lots and roads but not enough for people to cancel things and stay home.

I hope to get a good deal done this weekend on my scrapbooks. I've needed a kick in the pants to get going with it. But I think I finally have everything ready to go. I have printed out over 100 photos, bought 12x12 paper galore, make an outline of what I want to do for my album and have tons of embelishments and alphabets.

I am currently working on three albums. I am doing 12x12 post bound album for Brian and Michelle. I just give them pages as I get them done. I am not going to work on that one this week.

I am working this weekend on my other two albums. One of them is a 12x12 album of ny nephew. The other one is 7x7 album all about me. I made an outline that covers what I want to say. I'm not doing them in any special order. I'm just going to place them randomly in the album. Here's the topics I'm covering.

I Believe… Jesus Loves Me
I Believe… In Prayer
I Believe… God’s Word Meets My Every Need
I Believe… In Living On Purpose

I Cherish… My Favorite Gifts
I Cherish… My Nephew
I Cherish… My Mom
I Cherish… My Grandmother Fair
I Cherish… My Friends
I Cherish… Amy
I Cherish… The Theater
I Cherish… New York City

I Aspire… To Be A Godly Woman
I Aspire… To Be A Published Author
I Aspire… To Flourish

I Feel… Grateful
I Feel… Happy
I Feel… Content

I Am… A Leader
I Am… Strong And Capable
I Am… Single
I Am… A Creative Artist
I Am… A Girl
I Am… A Child Of God
I Am… A Reader
I Am… A Movie Lover

I am eager to get started on this album. I will say that it won't have a huge amount of pictures in it though, more of a scrapbook journal than a photo scrapbook. But I will be fun to do. AND, I plan to do much of the journaling in my own handwriting. I am using stamps and rub-ons for the headings, though.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Mission Statement

I have been reworking my mission statement. I was never that impressed with my old one, and have been wanting to do a better one for awhile now. I am just feeling the urgency now because my mom wrote hers and I was jealous. It was a pretty awesome one. Mine isn't quite as cool, but I'm pleased with it nonetheless. It might sound familiar as you read it because I based the name of my blog on my new purpose statement! Here it is, (drum roll please...)

Strive for Excellence.
I will serve others with Skill.
I will approach each day with Creativity.
I will honor God with my Talents.

Look for Beauty.
I will serve others with Charm.
I will approach each day with Grace.
I will honor God with a life of Virtue.

Live with Passion.
I will serve others with Enthusiasm.
I will approach each day with Energy.
I will honor God with a Fervent Heart.

There it is. I'm happy with it. I am very grateful someone invented the thesaurus, though.

I was happy with the word charm in the beauty section because the dictionary definition is the power or quality of giving delight. It here's one thing I want women in the Flourish Ministry to know is that life doesn't have to be a chore, it can be a delight. What a nice meaning to the word Charm. :-)

Have you made a mission statement? If not, consider it. Not only will it help you establish your priorities, but it's kinda fun to work on! What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Captivating Chapter Three

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Chapter Three of Captivating...

"...most women buried their longings for romance long ago and are now living merely to survive, get through the week." p. 44

"And women are tired. We are drained. But it's not from a life of shared adventures. No, the weariness of women comes from a life of shared adventures. No, the weariness of women comes from lives that are crammed with routine, with chores, with hundreds of demands. As Checkov said, 'Any idiot can face a crisis, It's the day to day living that wears you out.' " p. 44/45

"Having forfeited our confidence in God, we believe that in order to have the life we want, we must take matters into our own hands. And we ache with emptiness nothing seems able to fill." p. 48/49

"We are not inviting, we are guarded. Most of our energy is spent trying to hide our true selves, and control our worlds to have some sense of security." p. 50

"...women dominate and control because they fear their vulnerability...That self-protective way of relating to others has nothing to do with real loving, and nothing to do with deeply trusting God. It is our gut-level response to a dangerous world." p. 52

"What we are saying is that far too many women forfeit their femininity in order to feel safe and in control." p. 52

"Controlling women are 'the sort of women,' as C.S. Lewis said, 'who live for others. You can tell the others by their hunted expression.' " p. 53

"All of our hearts are at some level unsatisfied and longing. It is our insatiable need for more that drives us to our God. What we need to see is that all our controlling and our hiding, all our indulging, actually serves to separate us from our hearts. We lose touch with those longings that make us women. And the substitutes never, ever resolve the deeper issue of our souls." p. 58

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Captivated Upated

What I’m Listening to: Captivated by Aaron Benward
What I’m Reading: The Guardian by Dee Henderson and A Busy Women’s Guide to Prayer by Cheri Fuller

I blogged quite some time ago about the book Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. I am just beginning to pick the book back up and work through it with the journal. It is quite an illuminating look at the heart of a woman and a big I can highly (so far) recommend. I did chapter two a few weeks ago, and am currently working my way through chapter three.

If you are interested in this book, may I make a few suggestions? First of all, don’t attempt it without the companion guided journal. I feel this book is similar to The Sacred Romance in that reading alone won’t give you the full comprehension of this book. You need to think it through and meditate on what’s it really saying. The journal helps with that a great deal. My second suggestion is to work slowly. I personally feel it is too much work and information to absorb quickly. In fact, I think one chapter in the book with the corresponding journal chapter done every three or four weeks is ideal.

For those participating in the Flourish women’s ministry, you will get a chance to partake in a study with this book in 2007. I am planning on using it in a once-a-month format for those interested in it. It will mesh nicely with my goals for 2007. Yes, I know, it’s just barely 2006 but I think planning ahead is what makes this succeed. So, I’m already hard at work at 2007. ☺

I wanted to continue on with my favorite quotes from Captivating. I am going to do Chapter Two today, and continue on with Chapter three later today.

“The desire of a woman’s heart and the realities of a woman’s life seem an ocean apart. Oh, we long for romance and an irreplaceable role in a great story; we long for beauty. But that’s not the life we have.” p. 21

“Eve is created because things were not right without her.” p. 26

“Most women define themselves in terms of their relationships, and the quality they deem those relationships to have.” p. 27

“From cover to cover, from beginning to end, the cry of God’s heart is, ‘Why won’t you choose me?’ It is amazing to me how humble, how vulnerable God is on this point.” p. 29 (quoted from Wild at Heart by John Eldredge)

“That longing in the heart of a woman to share life together as a great adventure – that comes straight from the heart of God, who also longs for this. He does not want to be an option in our lives.” p. 33

“There is radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.” p. 42
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