Sunday, January 31, 2010

February NaBloPoMo


In honor of participating in National Blog Posting Month in February, I've redesigned my banner! An earlier post, How to Make a Blog Header in Picasa, shows what January's banner looked like and provides a link to the instructions from Blissfully Domestic if you want to change yours.

I hope you'll join me for the month as I work to keep all the plates of life in the air and post once a day for 28 days.

 If you are also participating, please let me know when you leave a comment and I'll visit your blog and leave a comment too.

Here's to February!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Create Your Own Running Program Part 2


On the Move
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
Awhile ago I posted on how to create your own running program. I've been following mine for 4 weeks now and have noticed that there are three definite advantages:

1. I don't feel like I have to impress anyone like a coach or a friend (so I'm less inclined to overdo it.)
2. I understand why I need to run a certain pace, say threshold pace, for a certain distance on a given week (so I'm less inclined to rebel.)
3. I can actually work out less or less hard because the training plan is efficient, each activity with a specific purpose (so I don't have to run hard all the time).

For a long time designing my own running program felt too hard to wrap my mind around but now that I've done it I feel much more empowered and committed to my training as a result.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Unexpected Solutions #2


Cala and Gerber
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

It has rained solidly the last week so my light source for indoor photography has been really dim. However, we replaced the 3200K kitchen fluorescents with 5500K and it now looks like daylight in the kitchen! If I hold the vase up to the light I can actually get 1/50th at f2.5 and the color is beautiful. Cost: ~$9 for 3 tubes.

Unexpected Solutions #1

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Sun Will Come Out


The Sun Will Come Out
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

It has done pretty much nothing but rain for the last week. It does let up but literally, only for 5 minutes at a time. Not long enough to dash out the door and back.

In this photo I wanted to convey the opacity of the days and the blurred vision that lack of light yields. Also, the sense of looking up, for guidance, for light, for hope.

Reminds me of Psalm 30:5:

His anger lasts only a moment
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

You Gotta Have Faith

George Michael sings a dramatic and spirited song called "You Gotta Have Faith". I listened to it over and over again when it came out in the mid-eighties not too long before I became a Christian.

These days, when I'm struggling to make a decision as a Christian, the refrain from that song is back in my head.  Why do I, or maybe you too, struggle with indecision? Why is this so hard?  Well, between 1am and 3am, while I couldn't sleep, I made a list:

1. I don't have the facts and info I would like to have.
2. I don't trust the facts that I do have.
3. I don't trust my ability to make the right decision (even if I have all the facts). In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll sell myself short.
4. I wonder if there's something better out there just around the corner.
5. I think the decision will last forever (only rarely is this true.)

But, as a Christian, I'm supposed to be thinking differently about this. Here's what God tells me in His word:

1. I have plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)
2. That he knows how to give good to his kids. "If you then who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:11
3. That if you think He's a hard master, he will be.  If you hide the talent he has given you in fear of him, it will be taken from you. But if you work to multiply it you will be put in charge of more things. (Matthew 25:14-28)

All this tells me is that you gotta have faith.  That I have to trust him to bless me in it.  But what if I make the wrong decision. That too isn't too much for God.  Just look at the crappy decisions some of the people in the Old Testament made or even the circumstances they found themselves in and what God did with that:

1. Joseph - sold as a slave by his brothers (pretty bad circumstances) but God eventually raised him to Pharoah's right hand man in order to save the Israelites. Pretty big role.
2. Moses - made a very bad decision to kill a guy and had to leave the country but God eventually raised him up to lead His people out of Egypt.
3. Gideon - a real chicken (hey, we hang out together) who decided not to fight but God raised him up to free His people as a warrior through battle.
4. Abraham had his first son with maidservant Hagar rather than with his wife Sarah.  But this decision to accomplish by might what God had promised didn't change God's commitment to give Abraham a son of His promise by Sarah.

Why is it that even when we make bad decisions, good can still happen out of it? Why is it that even when we are in bad circumstances, good can still happen out of it?

 "And we know that in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purpose."

You gotta have faith.

And not only that, but sometimes, you gotta have faith over and over again.  I have to pick up my shield of faith that He is able, that he love me, and put on my belt of truth, that He is able and that He loves me, and use the sword of the Spirit to fight those doubts with He is able and He loves me.  And I have to do it over and over and over again. When I have doubts, claim the truth.  When I have doubts a second later, claim the truth. It is a battle, but with God, you can win.

We gotta have faith.

Remember Joshua. He was a man who saw opportunity where everyone else saw destruction. God made him strong in battle and rewarded his faith.

We gotta have faith.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kreative Blogger Award


Thank you Geraldine for giving me this award!  The rules for accepting this award are:


1. Thank the person giving you this award.
2. Copy the award to your blog
3. Place a link to their blog
4. Name 7 things people don’t know about you.
5. Nominate 7 Bloggers.
6. Place a link to those Bloggers.
7. Leave a comment letting those Bloggers know about the award.
Here are 7 bloggers whose writings regularly enrich my life which also count as 7 things people don't  know about me:


Hanging Out With Turkeys

There's a saying that you can't fly like an eagle if you hang out with turkeys.  So do we dump the turkeys in our lives? If we keep them, what happens to us?  What is a turkey aka loser?

Let's say that even though it takes just one sin to separate us from God and all have sinned (so we're all turkeys) that the biggest loser is he who sins the most.  Yet he or she who sins the most is forgiven the most and comes out the most grateful to Christ.

"Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:47

Perhaps the the biggest sinners, once they repent, are really the winners because they are the most grateful.

Christ said he didn't come for the wise (in their own eyes) but for the weak who knew we were sick.  Maybe we're all losers, just some of us know it and some of us don't. When we are weak He is strong.

The Bible is full of stories of people who were weak but were strong because God was with them:  "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

If the "losers" in my life are just those who acknowledge their brokenness, their weakness and their need for Christ just to get through the day, then aren't these the very "turkeys" I should be hanging out with? Turkeys turned into eagles by God's grace and power.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

White Kitty


White Kitty
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
My grandmother used to buy me stuffed white toy cats at Stuckey's and Nickerson Farms on her road trips down to visit us. I even had one with a bell in its tail when I went off to college.

I don't remember now where I found this one but all these years later I still have a white stuffed toy kitty.

And 10 years ago, I finally got a real white kitty who keeps me great company. When she was little and I was at home more, she would drape herself across my shoulders and over my neck and nap while I worked on the computer. Now, when I work on the computer, she's usually near on her Cosmic Catnip Scratching Mat.

Here's to white kitties, both stuffed and real:)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

May Light Pass Through Me


May Light Pass Through Me
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
The diffuse light was perfect this foggy morning to penetrate the dark jewel blue glass of this vase from my Grandmother. Normally, it appears opaque and somewhat flat, but under the right light, the curls and curves and flutes show because the light passes through them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Create Your Own Running Program


Runner's World is a frustrating magazine to read because they give you bits and pieces of so many things without putting them altogether into a context. Advanced Marathon and Jack Daniel's Running Formula give you the context but personalization is beyond the scope. So, in a fit of empowerment, having read the books already, I sat down with an excel spreadsheet and designed my own training plan based on the principles in the book and using some of the juicy tidbits from RW.

In my model, I used five constraints:
  1. Increase mileage per week no more than 10% per week
  2. No more than 10% of total mileage in tempo run
  3. Long run miles no more than 25% of total miles
  4. No more than 2 hard days a week
  5. Each hard day followed by an easy day
Using a recent 5k race result, I calculated paces for each of the types of training I need to do:
  • Easy run or long run to build capillaries - 11:09
  • Marathon Pace - 10:00
  • Tempo Run to increase Lactate Threshold - 9:20
  • Speed Form or Reps to improve speed and form at speed - 7:49
  • Yasso 800s or Intervals or Maximum Oxygen - 4:19

Starting with 10 miles a week, growing it at 10% per week, I calculate that, in a perfect world, where I never get sick or miss a workout, I could be ready for a 10K by March 8th so I picked one for March 29th.  Takes a lot of the guesswork and uncertainty out of things.  This handy dandy little tool, more than telling me when to do more, is great at telling me when to do less or slower. For example, at 10 miles a week, I only have to do 1 mile at tempo. I've been using the running program I created for 2 weeks now and love it.

Resources for you in case you want to design your own:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Persistence


Persistence
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
I'm amazed that this rose is growing AND blooming. It's by a busy sidewalk and nothing is growing around it. It's also directly in the shortcut path between the sidewalk and the parking lot.

Bloom where you're planted.
Amazing things can blossom even and especially in the desert.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Project 365, Day 100!


Legs
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

I'm only 5 days behind!!!!

Project 365 is a commitment to take or make one photograph a day for a year.  You would think Jan 1 would be the ideal starting time but I started with the Blissfully Domestic 365 crew back in October. Participating has certainly sharpened my powers of observation and definitely pushed me to take photos of things I never would have considered before increasing the variety of my subject matter.

Daily discipline of anything leaves a mark.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deciding the Slow Way


I'm approaching some curves in life and am thinking it best to slow down and make careful decisions.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ephemeral Jewels


Dew Drop Web
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
While I was out running on a foggy winter morning, there were so many spider webs full of dew drops. With the slight breeze, this one, tucked under the "Yield" sign on a post, billowed out like a sail.

The regular orderly nature of spider webs intrigues me, though I'm not fond of their poly-eyeballed inhabitants at all.

Love these jewels - so ephemeral.

I never see spiders in wet webs, only dry ones. Perhaps it is too slick.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Unexpected Solutions


Powerline Runner
Originally uploaded by thyme2003
When I run, I see so many interesting things but, until today, hadn't figured out how to capture them for you. Ideally, I'd like to have my Canon 5D with me but it's big and heavy and definitely not running friendly. I just don't think of using any other camera.

Today, I took my LG Lotus cell phone, which, like most cell phones, has a camera in it....not a great one but still. I had so much fun running and stopping to take a photo, then running some more, then stopping when something caught my eye. It was fabulous.

Given this energizing experience, eventually, I'll look into a spiffy light weight little camera to take with me....but for now, this one is good to show you what's out there on the trail.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Coco Chanel


Coco Chanel
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

I didn't really understand the significance of the quilted stitching on this eyeglasses case until I read The Gospel According to Chanel. Apparently, Chanel's jackets were quilted together, an innovation in jacket construction.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Past

Referring to Chanel's refusal to live in the past, author Karen Karbo writes in The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, "as you get older the past starts piling up like dirty laundry in a fraternity house. The future shrinks, the past grows, and to refuse to develop a relationship with it is to cut off increasingly larger chunks of who we were and what our life has meant."

It's very interesting to think about giving "the past" credence as a role. When you're young you don't think about it. You're fresh and new wherever you go. Once you are past that stage, "the past" whatever the form, from resume to addresses, may well become almost a second person with whom you must reach an agreement and on whose behalf you must negotiate a way forward.

Remembering it is one thing. Sorting through the richness of it is another. Pick items of relevance to the person in front of you. What would they like to know about? What would assure them?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Morning Coffee and Amazing Women

As I sip my cup of morning coffee - something my husband said last night in passing is close to summarizing what I got out of two books: The Widow of Clicquot and The Gospel According to Coco Chanel.

"Do what you can with what you have."

Perhaps it's redundant but it feels more complete to say

"Do what you can with what you have where you are."

Both authors make this point also. Karbo for Coco - Chanel rode the horses of her lover as his mistress. Jodphurs became part of her fashion vocabulary. She did what she could with what she had (access to horses, stables, riding clothes) where you are. For the Widow, when her husband died early in life and in the development of the wine business, she decided to continue the business and manage it herself.

Both of these French women, one from the 1700s to 1800s and the other in the 1900s, went on to become amazingly successful financially and in their impact on culture by doing what they could with what they had where they were.

I'm going to try this out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In Transition? Check Your Pockets for Fish

Keith Ferrazzi has a great post on steps to take when you're in transition. He quoted this from an unknown source:

"If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish."

I love this! What a great reminder to keep our eye and focus on finding  what's right with the world. What fish are in your pockets today?

Have a great one!
Jennifer

Monday, January 4, 2010

How to Make a Blog Header in Picasa


I made it partway through How to make a blog header in Picasa compliments of Blissfully Domestic and the above is my 3rd attempt. I've wanted to gussy up my header for some time and I realize it's a challenge to pick something that really works both for you and the color scheme.

If you try it out feel free to share.

Update: Blog header pictures log

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Nuts About Running Shoes


Nuts About Running
Originally uploaded by thyme2003

What do you get when you combine a love of shoes, photography and running? This photo! Actually, I was cleaning out my closet and realized that I had way too many running shoes.

The Asics Gel Kayano's (13 & 16, the 2 blue and whilte models) are a soft ride which my forefoot needs and good for a mild pronator . The 16 differs from the 13 in that it has a Guidance Track to guide your foot back in an efficient manner and it has an extra 3mm in the heel for women (who wear high heels and need to ease up on the Achilles tendon). The 13s are about used up so in another 100 miles I should be able to retire them.

The 3 pairs of trail shoes (New Balance 872, La Sportiva Fireblade and Asics Gel 2120) are not yet my favorites. The NB and La Sportiva removed too much of the cushioning with the NB being the most punishing on a dry trail. The Asics are reasonably comfortable but don't have the ruggedized tread that the others do.

But now that I'm running again, I have hopes that I can wear some of these out!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

My God Sized Dreams for 2010

A New Year is a new start, a time for things to be possible again. I've written before about 10 Things I'd Like to Build in 2010 but a recent post at (In)Courage called "What's Your God Sized Dream" by Holley Gerth that made me think about that in a new way. The things I listed in my old post I think I can do...with a try-harder focus-more attitude. But there are some things that I still want that I know that only God can make happen.

1. I really really want my photographs to grace the fronts of greeting cards to build relationships between people. Ideally, I'd like Hallmark to license the images. I'd like them to be successful, to minister to people and to sell.
2. I'd like to own and run  my own successful and respected business.
3. I'd really like to live in a beautiful light filled paid for home where we were comfortable entertaining and do so very often to bless people and to love them.
4. Crazy but I'd love to be able to run miles and miles under the blue sky with a healthy uninjured body.
5. I'd like to contribute at such a respected level at work that they promote me.
6. I'd like to write a book, actually many books.

All of this right now seems a lot far fetched from the every day life that I lead. But Gerth reminds me that "All things are possible with God" Mark 10:7

What are your God sized dreams for 2010?

Hugs,
Jennifer


Le Menu #1 2010

Well, after a few hours of cleaning out the refrigerator from post holiday food gone bad, nosing through a foot high stack of cookbooks for recipes, constructing a shopping list and getting the items on the list home, we've got:
Le Menu
  • Truck Stop Deluxe Steak (Mustard’s, p 87) This has both a double marinade - one in salt and one in a concoction for a total of 6 hours - AND a sauce. Made this one for dinner tonight and it's pretty good. Makes me want to taste the original dish at Mustard's restaurant in Napa Valley.
  • Mustard’s Mashed Potatoes (Mustard’s, p 178) Needs more salt.
  • Caesar Salad (Salads: Food Writer’s Faves, p 22) This is the 3rd time making this one and I think I've finally got it right. The homemade garlic croutons are essential to the overall flavor as is making sure you don't squeeze too much lemon juice on and that you don't forget to add the parmesan.
  • Kefta Kebab (Arabesque, p 99)
  • Warm Lentil Salad (Simple to Spectacular, p 161)
  • Haricots Verts a la Maitre d’Hotel (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1, p 444) 
  • Steak with butter and Ginger Sauce (Simple to Spectacular, p 275)
  • Haricots Verts a l’Anglaise (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1, p 444) 
  • Rum Baba Cups (thanks to a Christmas gift of baba cups, recipe to be found)

Happy cooking!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Short and sweet! Here's to 2009 behind and 2010 ahead!