Easing back into a routine after the holidays

Yesterday, I started easing back into my exercise routine that was first interrupted by my trip to Louisiana in early November, and later sabotaged by Thanksgiving, cold weather, and Christmas.

For the early part of the fall I tried to spend some time every day in the Wellness Center. There is an exercise room with all kinds of exercise equipment, including treadmills, weight machines, and ellipticals. I try to hit the machine room on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I particularly like the seated stepper that works both arms and legs. Before I left in November, I was able to do a mile and a half in about a half an hour. I find, now, that I’m back to doing a mile in that length of time, but I’ll gradually work back up. It’s a good aerobic workout, which is what I need in my current state of couch potato-ness.

On Tuesday and Thursday, I take Tai Chi. I took Tai Chi many, many, many, many, many years ago, but I’ve found that a lot of it comes back to me. I really like it because it helps with centering myself, and staying aware of my body and what needs to be worked on (everything!). I was in the beginner class through the fall, and I’m going to try to move up to the more advance class. I’ll probably still go to the beginners class for the exercise, and observe and gradually work into the more advanced class. It’s great for balance, joint suppleness, and keeping stretched out in this cold, damp weather.

On Tuesday afternoons, we play bridge here in the Garden Apartments. When we move over to the duplexes we’ll probably continue to come back here for our weekly game. There’s also a game on Mondays and Thursdays at the Senior Center in town. We haven’t started attending that yet, but we may later. They run a bus over there, so we could go even it the weather is bad and we don’t want to drive.

On Wednesday evenings, I go to Centering Prayer group at Bethany Presbyterian Church. I’ve been really lax about keeping up with my praying in color and other spiritual disciplines that I had begun to develop in Dallas. I hope to get back to coloring when I finally get a desk that I can work at. My desk right now is only a holder for my monitors with a pull-out keyboard drawer, so I really don’t have any room to draw, color, or write.

Of course, we go to church on Sunday mornings, and I led a course on Sunday evenings on the Beatitudes this fall. I’m going to try to get up early enough to start going to Sunday School before church because they’ve asked me to teach a series from this year’s PW Horizon’s on “Letters to God’s Household” (First and Second Peter, First, Second, and Third John, and Jude.) That will happen after Easter until the end of school.

There are always trips to various places around the area, and “talks” by people from the colleges and universities on topics of interest. Once a month the Tacoma Historical Society presents a program on some tidbit of information about the local area. In a couple of weeks they will take a bus to an afternoon matinee of the movie “Hyde Park on Hudson”. There’s also a “Lunch Bunch” that takes the bus to an interesting restaurant in the area once a month or so. Tomorrow, we’re going to Gateway Cottage – it’s supposed to be a really nice “Tea Room” that serves lunches.

We had the guy from the movers in this morning to give us an estimate on how much it will cost to move us across the campus. It’ll be pricey, but at least we won’t have to schlep it ourselves.

Life moves on!

Expecting the Word – Advent One – Sunday

My Advent series this year will follow the Words Matter Advent study from the National Council of Churches. Download the whole booklet if you’d like, and follow along with the writings for each day. I’d love to discuss them with you. Also, here is a link to the Advent readings from the Inclusive Bible. I prefer the more inclusive language here, than the NRSV texts used in the study booklet (be sure to read the note on page 6).

Isaiah 64:1-9.

In this time of turmoil in our country, when the news brings fresh horrors and dashed hopes every day, I find myself wondering whether there is any hope. The pictures from the police brutality against the Occupiers, the rumors of conspiracy between governmental bodies to deny the protestors of their basic freedoms to peaceably assemble, and to speak what is on their hearts and minds, the images of starvation and famine in lands near and far, the reports of greed and disregard for others during the Black Friday feeding frenzy – all of these things make me say, “How long must we endure?”

And then this scripture pops up in the lectionary, begging me to remember that it was ever thus. During the time of exile, the Israelites lived in the same kind of “confusion, disappointment, and dissention” that we find ourselves in today. As the writer in our study reminds us, clay – the very stuff of our creation – is decomposed rock. The mountains must break apart for God, the potter, to craft something beautiful, and hopeful from them. If we are “unclean and soiled” we can, have been, and will be made clean and whole by God.

It’s tough for those of us in the midst of the tearing down of mountains – the burning of the brushwood – to remember that God is involved in all the messiness of our lives, shaping us into new creations in accordance with the plan for the redemption of the world.

I’m working on being more intentional and deliberate about “Praying in Color” as a spiritual discipline during this Advent season. I hope to find new messages and images of God’s self in my life.

10 Things to do Before 2012

Call this a check-in on my New Year’s Resolutions (that I didn’t even make formally).

1.  Sell my house in Dallas.

2.  Move to Franke Tobey Jones in Tacoma, WA.

3.  Lead a Bible study with Presbyterian Women on Facebook.

4.  Lose 20 more pounds (really lose about 100, but let’s have reasonable goals.)

5.  Write in this blog every day.

6.  Pay off most of my credit card debt.

7.  Visit my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren in south Louisiana.

8.  Take a long train trip.

9.  Go to a conference at MoRanch.

10. Be more regular in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, and Bible study.

In My Prayers Recently

A childhood friend that I’ve just recently reconnected with on Facebook. She is having some chest discomfort and tests are undefinitive.

Eriq has had surgery for liver cancer and is now undergoing chemo. His wife, Anna, is also in need of prayers.

Sonnie’s brother has checked himself in to a state hospital for clinical depression. Please pray for both of them.

Susan is in the hospital and prayers were requested in church, yesterday.

Jeff is in Memphis with the Red Cross running a shelter for flood victims.

And finally, Deb is still having problems with her medications. Please pray that the doctors will find the right combination to help her.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

Weekly Prayers

Here are the folks I’m praying for this week – the third week of Lent.

I don’t know this girl’s name, I’ll call her the bridesmaid.  She discovered she had Stage 4 breast cancer shortly after participating in a friend’s wedding.  She’s only in her mid-20s.

And this is for all those souls who are struggling with no health insurance, trying to decide whether to go to the doctor, or get worse.

And finally, my daily personal prayers for the third week of Lent.  I found most of them were prayers of thanksgiving – for illness avoided, for birthdays, for friendship, for children…

Lord, in your mercy…


My Prayers This Week

At our Lenten Prayer Group on Wednesday we prayed for our Overseas Workers that are either members of our congregation, or directly supported by our congregation.

Deborah had a tough time this week with her ECT treatments, so her page was added to.

Eriq needs additional prayers as his surgery for liver cancer has been scheduled for later in the month.

And I have a Lenten Calendar where I pray for one person each day.  I have Fridays scheduled for family, and, if someone has need of prayers on a particular day, I schedule them.

And I’ve kept Japan in my prayers for the whole week this week.