Friday, January 25, 2008

AN UPDATE ON MY "GETTING HEALTHY GOALS" FOR 2008!...Attitude, Weight Loss, Exercise, and Drinking Water!


WOW! What a week! Super busy, super stressful with some very tough consulting situations, and super packed with blessings and kindness! You know you are truly alive when all of that is on your plate! :)

I have been mindful, intentional, and purposeful about my attitude and self-talk in 2008. Bert and I are rereading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren! It is a great reminder about God's grace and support and what happens when we are intentional about how we look at what happens to us in life!

We watched the movie Facing The Giants and I was brought to tears by the reminder "Do Not Fear! I am with you ALWAYS!" That sounds like an attitude adjustment to me. So...prayerfully and intentionally I am watching how I frame tough situations and my self talk!

All of this is progress for me!

On top of that I am continuing to go to Weight Watchers EVERY WEEK!!...and I am continuing to lose weight! Slowly but surely is my motto! I lost another .8 lbs. this week and I am closing in on my goal of 35 lbs by Valentines Day! What a heart gift to myself and those I love!

In the "exercise corner" I am continuing to walk at SCC first thing in the morning and "Do the stairs" four times during the day! That's a brisk, heart-moving walk up the stairs! I am less breathless than before!

On the "water front" I am hydrating my brain and drinking eight (yes, eight) large containers daily of H20 and crystal light! If there is a world-wide water shortage I may be in part to blame!

This is tough work for me...VERY tough work! My schedule at work has been slammed as I try to catch up from Christmas. Yet with God's power, God's encouragement, and the encouragement of my family and friends...I press on!

There is a black spiritual we sing at church that brings me to tears every time we sing it...
The chorus is..."I am pressing my way...I won't look back...I won't turn around...I will let God rule...I will be His servant..I am pressing my way!"

Well, can I just say a loud "Amen!" to that! I am pressing my way to get healthy!! :)

God Bless! Love and Hugs to all who read this! Linda

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

FACING MY FEAR- Today's Lesson In Faith!


Yesterday was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Simply put, he is one of my heroes. Talk about stepping up to the plate for what is right. Talk about not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

I often wonder how, when he was faced with what must have seemed like insurmountable odds, that he chose to take the high road, the hard road to do what was right at great personal jeopardy. How did Martin face such hatred. Did he wake up in the middle of the night full of fear? Did he call out to God asking..."Lord, why is this so hard?" "Why me God?" "What would you have me do Lord?" I imagine he did. I know that I do.

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King is:

Faith is taking the first step
Even when you don't see the whole staircase.

And I imagine that even with Dr. King's faith came a certain amount of fear. It's part of the human condition.

Last night I felt called to watch a movie I haven't seen before. I was cleaning the basement and stumbled upon it. It's called "Facing the Giants." It's about a Christian high school football team and their coach. Long story short, almost every part of the coach's life falls apart. His faith is tested. But instead of turning toward the fear, He turns toward God. Like Job in the Old Testament, the coach crys out to his Lord. The coach feels so afraid. Life is not turning out as he had hoped and planned. He is racked with fear and self-doubt.

An old friend and former coach comes to see him and tells him this. In the Bible, 365 times, God says these profound words,

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you." 365 times...one reminder for every day of the year!

As I heard these words I started to weep. Mind you that's not the quiet easy-to-be-around kind of cry. That's the, as Oprah Winfrey says, "the big, ugly cry" where you can't see and your nose runs. It's the kind of cry that opens up your heart and soul. I felt as if that reminder was there just for me. "Do not be afraid" "Do not be afraid!"

What am I so afraid of? Well there's a long list. Now most of these are well disguised under my very professional exterior :), yet those fears, large and small, can erode my peace of mind and serenity. What if I don't lose weight this week? What if this very hard consultation can't help the people who need help? What should I do to help student X. Y, or Z? How can I make more time for God? What if a family member really doesn't like me? The list of small, soul-eroding doubts can sap my energy.

Yet the message was plain and the message was simple. The message came in neon lights and big block letters!

"Do not be afraid for I am with you."

My God is a God who does not sound the trumpet to retreat when things get tough or doubts surface. My God is a God who stands by me in any illness, in any storm, in any time of hurt, and in times of triumph!

So today I will listen to God and I will listen to Dr. King. I will go on faith, even when I don't see the whole staircase! I will believe that even in the hardest moments this week, and some big ones are coming, I will look to my Lord for the strength I need!

I will remember that there is HOPE for every day....Do not be afraid for I am with you.And you know what?...I believe Him!

God Bless! Love and Hugs to all who read this! Linda

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NOTES TO MYSELF....Learnings From This Week!


Some weeks flow smoothly and balance delicately, almost like seeing a juggler at the circus magically balance multiple plates on sticks. When one starts to slow down the juggler gently spins it and all the plates stay in motion.

Other weeks look like plates spinning out of control and crashing here and there while the juggler trys to hold up the few remaining plates.

Much of my week felt like the spinning, crashing, all- over-the-place kind of week.

When Grandma Elaine had her stroke and was so ill I went to Seattle, and I am so glad I did. No regrets there and I would make that same choice again. However, I had MANY appointments scheduled for that time and put people on hold until January. I am in the "catch up mode" and it isn't pretty at times.

I know God's desire for my life is to have it balanced in every area...work, play, spiritual, exercise, family, friends...an endless list. If new things are added to the already full list it can be pretty breathtaking in how to balance it all!

NOTE TO MYSELF: Remember to say "no". While I would love to see everyone and do everything, at times it won't all fit in.

I weighed in this week and lost close to another pound, yet health and exercise hardly made my list of prioroties.

NOTE TO MYSELF: This is a trend that cannot continue! My priorities for getting healthy cannot take a back seat to work!

As the weekend approached, I almost felt giddy. I could hardly wait to breathe and have a moment to smile and not take life so seriously. So on Friday I brought up a singing balloon and cookies for Jessi's class to celebrate their classroom blog, and brought coffee to Jess and Tiffany! What fun! What a relief!
Just seeing their faces made me feel better.

Friday night Bert and I went to see The Kite Runner, an amazing movie. We had some great couples time and my soul felt refreshed.

Saturday morning Amy and Ryan invited us to their home to have lunch and watch the Seahawks game. Just being around those wonderful family members restored my soul. I had fun watching Kayla and Jacob play the Wii, playing with precious Jenna, and commenting on the troubled Seahawks with Bert and Ryan!

NOTE TO MYSELF: Being around those people who love me just as I am, forgive my mistakes, and like me
without reservation heals my heart! Spend more time with these people and less time with those who are critical!
There are some folks who are "joy suckers" and almost suck joy out of the air. Bless their hearts, but when I am tired and need refueling myself, I need to not spend time with them.

Today is Sunday. We will head to church and then pick up Emma for a play date! I can hardly wait! When I talked to her on the phone she was "so escited" to come to our house and play "castle". That's a game I made up for her where she is the princess and a naughty fellow trys to "smooch-a-roo" her. The King (Daddy) always says, "You may NOT smooch-a-roo my daughter"...at which point Emma breaks into waves of laughter! Her love, energy, and fun sparkle will be a positive bookend to this busy week!

I am grateful for every day! I love my life, but it is my responsibility to restore balance to my schedule,

NOTE TO MYSELF: Playing with my grandchildren is the best medicine for my heart!

As this next week approaches I am going to be more intentional and mindful about attending to my spirit, having time with God, having time with those I love, and keeping life in balance!

Love and Hugs to all who read this!
God bless! Love Linda

Sunday, January 06, 2008

LIVING LIFE WITH A CAPITAL L...Lessons From Bert Salisbury!



I teach an Intercultural Communication class where the theme of the course is "Seeing Yourself And Others Through New Eyes." The notion is that many of us, including me, live in a rut! We have pre-determined ways of doing things and ways of thinking about things and other people. We see ourselves and others, in a limited way and often play out our days taking few real risks.

What kind of risks you might ask? Risks to eat new foods, go to a movie you usually wouldn't see, try a new sport you think you can't do, get to really know someone before casting a judgement on who they are...the list goes on and on.

Recently one of my students asked me a very thought-provoking question. She said, "When you were my age (30), and thought about being in your sixties, did you come close to imagining what it would really be like?" Can I just add here that I absolutely LOVE how smart and insightful my students are, especially when they are in an environment that encourages independent thinking.

She went on to ask if other people who were sixty or older sometimes looked at me and thought I was just nuts for how I lived my life. "Well, Virginia" ...quoting a famous letter about Santa Claus..."probably so." But let's not stereotype all people in their sixties.

I then asked her "How do you experience most people my age?" She replied, "I experience them as predictable and cautious. My Mom and Grandma are really afraid to be visible, with their opinions, lives, or hurts. They just live with a lower case l."

I've thought about what she said all weekend. Perhaps I should write a book about "Learning To Live Life with a Capital L." And I do mean "learning" as I am learning too.

It's easy for life to get very predictable at any age. The "rut', or all too familiar pattern of life, is taking the comfortable road and not going outside your comfort zone. The "rut" is not taking risks...and by risks I mean learning about new parts of life, not by reading about them on the computer, but by really experiencing what that new way of life has to offer. Short answer...stop being SO AFRAID of change. Or perhaps just...work on my fear!

My role model for being adventursome and living Life with a capital L is my beloved husband Bert. Bert is 73, but not a typical 73 year old (if there is such a thing). Bert is amazing...a wealth of knowlege about windsurfing (he named the sport and helped to develop it), world history, nutrition and health, exercise (he has a gym on our top floor and can do 43 full pushups..I've seen him do them), mental health and addiction issues, family dynamics and systems, the candidates for the current election, gardening (he is a master gardener), Native-American artifacts and history, the Lewis and Clark Trail, rocks, worms...the list is endless. Bert reads every night and he often reads outloud to improve his "reading out loud skills" for his poetry class. You see Bert didn't read until he was 19 because of dyslexia.

Beside all of this, and living his life courageously, Bert is an amazing husband, Papa,
Boppa and Grandpa. As a husband he has loved me completely for 25 years, adored me, done conflict with me, and kept every wedding vow he made. As a Papa to Jessi and Amy he has been SO unselfish and loving. He never made the girls compete with him for my attention. He
knew the kind of Mom I was and that meant that often the girls came first.

He won my heart when he let Jessi and Amy vote on whether he could come into our family. They have always been his daughters, even though not biologically. He once told me, after meeting the girls, "It was lucky I met you first because I feel in love with them the moment I met them." He build tree houses for them, brought dry clothes for them at school, stood up for them, and watched their boyfriend like a protective hawk! He taught them how to drive his old truck and wouldn't let me come because he knew I would scare them to death every time I pumped an invisible brake on my side!

And as a Boppa or Grandpa..well there are no words. He loves those grandbabies, no matter their age, with every cell in his body. Have you ever seen Boppa with Jacob? It's like watching true love in action! He has danced with Emma and done marching bands with her through our living room, talked Indian artifacts with Zac, had long talks with Kayla about counseling and why he does that (she asked!), and made countless drawings of aliens with Jacob!

Bert's life has not always been easy or predictable. He has overcome huge challenges like growing up in an alcoholic family, chrones disease, and surviving cancer! Yet Bert could be easily overlooked and misunderstood because he is older and sometimes quiet and humble in gatherings with many people. He is not one to "toot his own horn".

I cannot tell you how many people miss out on who he is because they don't take the time to get to know him. They are in a "rut" about how they see Bert and relate to him. They
forget to ask about and listen to his "story".

Bert teaches me every day about getting out of my "rut" and taking new risks. If we go to a restaurant, Bert will try the item on the menu that he has never eaten before. He'll order squid even though others may say " Squid, Yuk!"...even though they have never tried it. Bert is an amazing psychotherapist who still has a full-time practice. He will tell you, "You know, I am so blessed. I am getting better at this every day. I learn so much from my clients. I am there to serve them." What is also unique is that 1/3 of Bert's practice is "pro-bono" which means that he gives free counseling to those who cannot afford it or don't have insurance. On the other side of the fence, he also works with CEOs who run gigantic corporations.

Bert, on Mondays, is in a poetry class. He has done this for four years now. His poetry touches my heart as he writes about Jacob, Emma, Jenna, Kayla, Zac, Jessi, Amy...me :), his experiences as a paratrooper, his hopes and dreams, his growth at 73!

It was Bert whose interest got us to Bethel AME, a small, primarily African-American church on the south hill. He had heard about Lonnie Mitchell...he wanted to stretch his faith so he went. I, however, was very reluctant to go. I had lots of questions and concerns...fears really. How did the women dress? What was the service like? How was this similar or different from the churches I was "comfortable" with?

Well, I'm here to tell you, it is VERY different. People know you, greet you, hug you...no matter the color of your skin. The music is totally unbelievable! It is a Gospel choir! It's a party for Jesus every week. The service is two hours long.

Now before you say..."oh, how awful. I could never go to a church for two hours! How boring!"...(ie out of your comfort zone)...have you ever been to THIS church for two hours? I would liken it to going to a ZAGS game for two hours...not boring!

Had I not stretched myself and gone outside my comfort zone, I would have missed out on an AMAZING, Life-Changing experience! And that is Life with a capital L!

So here's to taking risks at 60...almost 61! :) Here's to trying new things, reading new books, going outside my views! Here's to really seeing myself and others through NEW eyes! Here's to being more like my beloved Bert in 2008!

God Bless! Love and Hugs to all who read this! Love, Linda

Friday, January 04, 2008

NEW NUMBERS...NEW BEGINNINGS...NEW BLESSINGS!

2008 is underway and has gotten off to a great start! Yesterday I had new numbers of students at SCC and new weight loss numbers at Weight Watchers!

I met with my new students for the first time and while the student numbers are down at SCC my classes are over-full! :) I have 93 students in three classes. It was a true joy seeing the faces of over 40 former students sprinkled in amongst the 93 faces. It felt like coming home to see their smiles and get their hugs!

As I told Bert last night, I think I will call up Dr. Livingston our Chancellor at the Community Colleges and just thank him for the blessing of teaching at SCC! I LOVE this place and the wide variety of students we serve. For example, one amazing new student had lots of facial piercings and many unique earrings (one was an small antler coming from his ear) and an amazing hat that looked like it came from a Grateful Dead concert. I loved his uniqueness and was so pleased when after class he came up and with so much excitement and love expressed his deep desire to learn interpersonal communication skills. He said he was so excited for what he was going to learn and so excited to have me as a teacher because of all he had heard from students about me. I was OVERJOYED at his amazing attitude! I mean there is not one boring moment in this job! I am SO blessed!

After working with students all morning I took my lunch hour and went to my Weight Watcher meeting. It was the first one for 2008. Coming back after a long holiday break most people were concerned about where they would be. It was a fairly small group, which was surprising, since I thought most folks would want to know the news, either good or bad. While my vacation time didn't go perfectly with weight loss, I was down another .4 pounds and the only one in the group who had a weight loss. While this isn't huge by any standards, I was very pleased after a holiday time of eating out, eating at a hotel, and fixing "regular" food for Bert on vacation, that I kept to my goal of some weight loss during the break. The key was portion control. I often split meals like the one I had at Clinkerdaggers with Sharon. This is such hard work and I am working on my self talk constantly!

The key is to weight loss success in 2008 for me is to be very self aware of what I did over the break and what I need to do now. Progress in this area of my life is a constant battle of self awareness and self correction!

In short... I need to continue to go to Weight Watcher meetings (I have to hold myself accountable even on the "not so good" weeks), track my food points (which didn't go too well during vacation since I was often eating food I didn't have point totals for), drink water, and up my exercise level. Simply said...I need to consistently DO the Weight Watcher program each day and each week! No excuses, just DO IT!!!

I loved my break from the regular routine over Christmas and New Years! It was wonderful to
see family and friends in a more relaxed environment! And that said, I am also thrilled to be back in the saddle again...doing the teaching and consulting I love, seeking to serve my students and clients everyday, and working hard to get healthy!

God Bless! Love and hugs to all who read this! Love Linda :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

NEW YEAR BLESSINGS!! Setting New Goals....


I love new beginnings and fresh starts! There is something very appealing about starting a new year... almost like an empty book about to be written in! What will the year hold? What blessings will God send our way? What challenges (disguised gifts:)) will we encounter? What personal and professional changes do I need to make to be a happier, healthier, and more loving person?

Here are several New Years Traditions I observe:

1) Over the years Bert and I have had a tradition of exchanging 3 by 5 cards. On them we write down 10 things we would love for our partmer to work on in the coming year! Once the "loving suggestion" is on the card, it isn't broughht up again or nagged about. Bert often carries the card in his wallet as do I. I probably re-read once a week what is on his heart for me. This really reminds me of areas of growth that I can make that will bring a positive impact to my marriage!

2) I often have "What would you like more of from me? What would you like less of from me" discussions with important people in my life. This gives me an "updated postcard" on areas of growth I need to make.

3) I also take legal sized paper and spell out goals for every area of my life. I save these from year-to-year so I can see the progress I am making. I keep these in my downstairs office as a constant reminder of where I want to be and where I think God wants me to be. There is a sheet for my spiritual growth and improving my relationship with God, my relationship with Bert, my relationship with family ( a section for each family member), relationships with friends, my financial health, my communication skills, unresolved hurts and conflicts, relationships with neighbors, my personal health, my teaching work, my consulting work...the list goes on and on. This really helps me to keep track of the areas of my life that really matter to me. It helps me to live intentionally and as Rick Warren says, "have a purpose-driven life"!

Yesterday was the first day in 2008. I took the time to re-read the sheets from 2007. I feel grateful and humbled by all of the blessings God brought in 2007! I am also aware that I have much to learn and am not a "done deal", as my Mom used to say! I anticipate with positive expectation what God will do this next year!

I am working on new goals for 2008. Here are a few of them:

I am taking a fitness class at the college and a pilates class for early risers from 6-7am two mornings a week. My health and wellness is a continued priority. I plan to continue to go to Weight Watchers, and I have short and long-term weight loss goals set up. I want God to be on the front burner of my life so (again) I want to make more time to read his word and learn about my walk in faith. Going to Women of Faith Conferences and a Cannon Beach spiritual retreat are already on my 2008 calendar! I also want more balance in my life with work and play! More and more I realize what being an overachiever in the work arena does to my soul. I want to worry less and pray more! I want to have more forgiveness and fewer grudges. I want to speak about people with compassion and kindness, not criticism and judgements.

I started blogging in 2007 and I am amazed at the blessings that have come from taking that risk!... Lots of great learnings about myself and others. Lots of connecting and supporting that might have been missed without keeping in touch. I have laughed and cried at the stories that have unfolded. I have prayed unceasingly for the health of people who comment on my blog! I have LOVED seeing the pictures of my sweet grandbabies as I look at a post made by Jessi or Amy! This too has been a blessing! I have shared my story and my journey in life.

And my prayer for you is that 2008 will be a time of real growth for each of you! May you know that you are deeply loved. May you not take those you love for granted! May you live each day as if it was your last!

Thank you for the blessing you are in my life!

God Bless! Loves and hugs to all who read this! love Linda

A Reminder of What Matters...

                   "We are all just walking                       each other home."                                             ...