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Friday, April 11, 2014

health tip

I read this on something my insurance company mailed me. I like it. I'm recording it. Simple. I should be putting it on sparkpeople but I don't even know where to find my blog on that page. I'm thinking of signing up on a different fitness site, starting over. Have any suggestions for someone more interested in improving their health and building strength and endurance than weight loss? Anyhow, the tip:

List the eating and exercise habits you'd like to change, and select one to work on. Don't try to change a second bad habit until the first one has become a good habit.

Namaste.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

mysterious, growing bumps

this is one of those times when i would have called beth. im just saying.  i miss my sis. it still doesnt seem real.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My insides are numb. A friend died today. My first friend to die. More on that later.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The First Paul

There's something interesting about this book but I don't know that it's appropriate for Beloved Community. I strongly believe it shouldn't be our first book. It's almost a biography of Paul. Part of the intrigue is the varied perspectives from which the writers view him: Protestant Paul, Catholic Paul, Conservative Paul, Radical Paul, etc. I appreciate them looking at him from varied lenses to try to uncover his essence. I respect the statement that certain branches of Christianity are more about Paul than Jesus, though we never say that nor fully realize it. Interesting, but I felt the growth of my head, not my spirit, as I read.

Concerning working to bring the group to fruition, I've learned that we must purchase $50 in food to meet in Panera's group room, as suggested. No. The downtown library will be closed most of this month for renovations. Their north location closes before the group is even scheduled to begin. oh my, oh my, oh my; what's next? Looks like we're bout down to a bar or restaurant public area for our 1st meeting. Or the winery. I never called the other places initially listed when I blogged meeting location ideas, like the community center in my area. I guess I should make a few more calls. But I'm seriously thinking Miss Ollie's at this point; I just hate for alcohol to be a barrier/deal breaker for anyone.  Maybe Panera but in the open area? Or Charlie Bulldog's; it's local and uses local produce. That's a good example. That seems better. I also created and printed some advertisement cards. I put them on cars parked outside (1 side) the University of Memphis.

Namaste.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

the jesus i never knew

I am disappointed in this book. I only read 3 chapters but they were hard to push through. The language was simple, conversational, which I like. The content was blah. The one positive I can say is his chapter on miracles reminded me of Anne Lamott's writings on small miracles. I like to be reminded of such things. Perhaps it is a small miracle that I woke up, naturally, by 8am this morning. New Love is coming and I haven't prepared. It was uncertain if she would come here for the day or if I would go to Memphis. I don't feel like driving to Memphis; I'm tired. I will be sadden by allowing India Arie to come and go but I'm tired. Fatigue accepted. Gabapentin ease up or be gone soon. Anyhow, a small miracle. Another book off the list. I need to call Panera and the library to select a location, then I can post a date. I have one "member" on meetup. I'm creating cards to leave in coffee shops & such to help spread the word. 5 would be a wonderful number, don't you think? Blessed be.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

2013 goal tracking

New text in purple.

(1) This year, I will unpack. Completely, fully, with organization. I  at my last house and there are things I missed. Some have already been freed in my new location. My landlord sucks, which can inspire back peddling, but I hope to make peace with one another and be able to stay here for at least 3 years.
Discontinued. I can't wait for my opportunity to leave this house. I have no positive words to say about my landlord. I think I'll begin to pack.


(2) Use, use, use my Mexican food cookbook. Make at least 10 new recipes :).
October: Ex didn't like Mexican food, minus tacos. That was a huge barrier to accomplishing this goal. 3 months after her move, I've been thinking about this. I suppose there's time as long as I eat a lot of Mexican food. Another barrier has been my health. In association with migraines, I haven't been able to eat much. In association with a new girlfriend, I think, this has improved. I did finally try Mexican this week. Some discomfort but tolerable. 

 (3) Pay off my student loan. I owe 1405.88. After interest, that might be $1465.88. A range is fairer to me than an absolute elimination. Thus, I'll say that by December 2013, I will owe no more than $310. That means I would have eliminated about 75% of that debt. I explored this topic at 43things
My payoff amount is now $599-- that's a big difference from $1086 in February. This debt will be gone by December 2013. Apparently, I'll exceed the goal I wrote concerning this at the beginning of the year.
October: Mission accomplished :) :). I cannot express how happy I am about this. I paid off my balance this week.

(4) Own less stuff. I'm not really sure how this looks but moving (again) showed me that I have a bunch of stuff. Most ppl don't have this much; why do I? Often, packing helps me see what things to shed. This time, it did not. Before the move, I mentally established the modest goal of getting rid of 60 things in 2013 onward-- 5 things per month on average. That's a minimum. I need less. I need to get rid of more. 365 items seems like an intimidatingly large commitment but maybe not. Somewhere between 100 & 365 for 2013?
October: I'm not good at focusing on this goal. I'm even worse at tracking it. I hope to have a yard sale in March or April. 43things logs me at 73 items "gone"

I'm only at 32 on http://www.43things.com/person/rainbowphoenix compared to 23 in Feb.  Still not great at tracking what I've gotten rid of. Feeling a bit more motivated about this as I realize the amount that I own is a major reason I was resistant to moving. Having a landlord that flat foot refuses to make repairs inspires me more than having a bunch of stuff stifles me.

  (5) Get my health in better shape. There's fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia. Then there's fitness. These past 6 months have been much worse than many 6 month periods. I'm trying a new medication (Savella), been referred to aquatherapies, and am reapproaching yoga (stopping is probably one of my worse mistakes thus far). I once said that I refuse to allow fibromyalgia to steal my life. It's been gaining more ground than I prefer so this year I am changing that.'
October 2013: Not sure what to say here. Fibromyalgia symptoms are probably better than in January. Health is fragile. I had a migraine daily for 6 weeks. Then the headache faded and came intermittedly but the nausea and sensitivity to food smells stayed. Now it all comes and goes. I saw a neurologist and did a MRI; they don't know what's going on with me. Follow up in about 3 weeks. He wants me to avoid all caffeine, pain pills, headache/migraine medications, and herbal treatments of any kind. I haven't had pain/headache pills since my last appointment with him. I have caffeine 2-3 days per week but less than was my norm on those days. I use my herbals as I need them. I have to survive this mess somehow and although he trusts the FDA more than herbal companies, my faith is the opposite. Still no yoga but still thinking about it. I exercise some when with girlfriend but need to get back on a schedule on my own. I want to try Monday line dancing and Tuesday yoga at the Y. The newest med the neurologist has me trying has me in bed by 8pm and without energy by 6pm. It's such a barrier to my life at large. I've been on it less than 2 weeks at this point and am really trying to move forward with it and let my body adjust. It just happens to hinder the rest of my life trying to be medically compliant.

June 2013: Still not doing great with this goal. Actually just got put on 2 new daily meds. Went to yoga this past Wednesday and tried water aerobics on Thursday. I want to continue with both but the tattoo will delay my water activities. Got my bicycles repaired; need to spend more time riding them.

Feb 2013: Insurance won't pay for aquatherapies.
I take Savella as prescribed but doubt that it does much good. The timing is bad because allergen elimination decreases my pain. I have no way of knowing to what extent Savella helps.
Yoga hit a snag due to me having surgery on my hand; then I forgot to go to class.  I also acknowledge the need to increase home practice but struggle for a location. It is challenging to find the TV in the living room not in use, the space is insufficient in my bedroom, and the art room has a bunch of clean laundry and boxes in it right now that prevent that space for being used for anything. Hallway yoga? Maybe I'll do a few minutes of that. Also, I start photoshop classes this week, which will prevent me from attending the supportive yoga classes I was trying to commit to attending. 
Overall, I feel no healthier than when I started the year. I'm trying to make a health/fitness change per week. I give myself a C.


(6) Learn to eat in a way respectful to my body, particularly as it relates to delayed food sensitives
October: The inability to eat at large has hindered my efforts to respect what I know about my body. Just before getting sick, I decided not to bring gluten-containing sandwich bread, gluten-containing regular crackers, or gluten containing pasta (excemption to Ramen)  into my house. I've upheld that. I haven't eatten away much of what was already here so I don't have a gluten-free cracker, pasta pantry yet. I did eat up the regular bread prior to my sick binge. I tried eating a new gluten free bread but got sick and am therefore afraid to try that brand again. But it's in my freezer. This goal isn't far from my thoughts; I guess a little progress has been made. Very little.
Working on starting over. Beginning at fast food instead of a specific food group.

(7) Do not increase the number of medications I take. Decrease my total of pills by at least one at year's end. This goal sounds mild but note that my doctor has me on 3 additional pills per day compared to what I was taking a month ago and has another on standby  Really, I think I'm trying to get off a blood pressure med, not be put back on cholesterol med, and not have Prilosec become a daily norm. More than get off of meds, I want to not increase despite being on the verge of that.
October:  I'm now on gabapentin to control my migraines. It has me exhausted. Not sure what kind of effect it has on the migraines yet. Not moving in the right direction, I guess.
2 daily meds & 1 prn added last week of May. grrr. I'm kind of glad about one of them though because it's for something I've noticed as being high norm but never had a doctor express concern over before.

(8) Be a photographer/craftster for the year. Learn photoshop, Build my website (http://photosbyamy.weebly.com/). Build a kickstarter account to raise funds for a good and functional camera. Participate in 6 art fairs. Participate in photo club. Build some skills. Lets see what happens. I can put out another $700 with no or little return or I can see products move (though probably not enough to earn everything I put out in year 1 of seriousness).
October: June's update was the last of the crafty business for the year. Maybe with my next move?
 June 2013: I completed 2 photoshop classes. Classes ended maybe 2 weeks ago. Haven't touched art since; I needed a break. It's all work. Not going to pursue all listed above. I need to pack, not unpack; I need to move.

Feb 2013: I signed back in to my website and reviewed how it operates. I signed up for a photoshop class. It starts this week.

(9) Be a better steward of my money. Actually balance my checking account regularly-- track weekly/biweekly. Balance quarterly. It's enough for me.
October: Not on track.

 June: I changed my budgeting/tracking system to something less complicated. I decided on the change a few months ago then didn't address financial matters :o. Today, I looked back at it and began to balance.

Feb: The balancing has begun for the year. I have not updated for this week. Thus, I am behind.

(10) Lose some weight. My mom's pain increases when she gains weight. Dr. Steven Murphree once stated I would hurt less if I weighed less. Without mom's testimony it sounds silly but why not give it a try? I'll set a modest 12lb goal by my 31st (6-30-13). Shockingly (to me), I just opened my journal and learned that I've gained 25 lbs since Jan. 2010. For those of you that actually see me, do you see that 25lbs gained? Wow! SMH.
October: I was minus 10 the last I checked, a week ago. I suspect it's due to that period of only being able to eat noodles and bread/sandwiches. Let's see how long it holds.
 June 2013: I'm back at Jan's weight. That especially bites since my goal deadline is about 3 weeks away.

Feb: I've lost about 10lbs this year due to the elimination diet. I say "due to" but I've never lost weight on this diet before (which surprises even me). I resume regular eating in about 2 weeks so Feb/March will be the real tellers of how my weight loss goal is going. 

(11) Recycled from Jan 2012: "Put forth more effort to find a spiritual home. 24 attempts minimal." Okay, 20. Slight change from last year.
October: I haven't been counting but City Fellowship is 'bout the only place I've been this year. I did start a community group of my own, except we haven't met. I'm hoping for a Nov12th or 19th first meeting.
 Feb 2013: I've gone to City Fellowship at least 5 times this year, I went to the church at the Health Food store once too many times :). Still needing to get to New St. Luke and might check out the UMC and non-denominational churches I visited last year. 

Last week, I went to City Fellowship. Today, I planned to go to New St. Luke Missionary Baptist but my hair was still wait when I woke up. If I can get it dry in 30 minutes, I'll go back to City Fellowship. 

(15) Keep A1C at or below 6.5. It's a constant goal of mine though my new doc wants it at a 6.0. I guess I can aim for 6.3  October: pretty sure I was below goal at last appointment but can't remember my actual number.
 May's # didn't nail it. Thankfully, I'm still not at a place to be called "bad"

(16) Get my first tattoo. I wrote that for 2011 but here it is 2 years later. It's time to get some of these reoccurring items off the list.
Done, June 2013

I've actually sought out 5 artists this year for my yoga design. Tattoo artists seem to be flakes from my experience but I finally got an appointment scheduled for today. 15 minutes before we were to start, I got a text that something came up but I'll get a discount once we connect. We'll see. Mostly I'm being quoted something like $500 so I'm not sure that I'll proceed if it doesn't work out with the discount artist.

(18) Do some training in reading others. A microexpression online training? Read Bodytalk? Something.
October: nada
 June: no new updates. Feb: I purchased Bodytalk and Body Language. I haven't read much of either but at least I have some tools to get crackin'.

(20) Evaluate these goals and my progress regularly, no less than once a quarter.  
October: Review done. Lots of goals not yet accomplished. Ummm. Gun glasses aren't on here but I'm sure that was a goal for this year. Needing to refocus and select some things to accomplish in the next 2 months.
 Here is another  conscious review....  I am glad to report that every item on this list is in my regular stream of consciousness. I may not be progressing in them all but I'm trying to work out a plan and get to action at least.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Finding Our Way Again: the Return of the Ancient Practices

Finding Our Way Again by Brian Mclaren is the book I browsed last week for consideration  as a Beloved Community Group read. The first chapter, "Searching for an Everyday Sacredness" had me saying "yes, yes, yes!" He recounts interviewing Dr. Peter Senge and having him share his belief that people are gravitating towards Buddhism because it presents itself as a way of life, whereas Christianity presents itself as a system of belief. Dr. Senge says that people need a way of life. I crave a way of life. Spirituality. A spiritual way of life. Each chapter in this book ends with "spiritual exercises," a list of questions to help readers reflect on and/or apply the material read in the preceding chapter. Of the chapters I've read, I'd put some of the printed questions on the floor in the group setting and leave others for people to ponder in their own time.

The book is divided into 3 parts: way, practices, and ancient. I tried to read a chapter from each in my review/scan. In "Practicing the Way of Jesus," he touches on what so many of those to which I flock understand. Literally, it is written, "whenever I hear the name Jesus, I cringe." Like the "I hate church" billboard, it's a statement that makes me want to read more.
                    Image
The divide between the different "branches" of Christians is interesting. I'm not talking denominations. I can kick it with Episcopals, Methodists, & Disciples alike. It's those darn conservative, Bible thumping, "I've got all the answers" variety that leave the taste of vomit in my mouth. And mine in theirs, to be fair.

A line from the book that I like: "I am convinced that Jesus didn't come to start a new religion; he came to proclaim a new kingdom." Kingdom. Lifestyle. Not this malarkey of my side, your side, my way, your way, my people, your people. The Kingdom. One Love. A new kingdom. Not the way of old, convenience, tradition, & just because. Maybe I should start telling people I'm down with the new kingdom instead of telling them I'm a Christian; I wonder what kind of crazy they'd think I am. lol.
                                                                                  
Under practices, I opted to read the chapter on contemplative practices. Some that appealed to me are:
  • Spiritual Reading & Study (long been hard for me to practice with regularity but oh how I believe in it & its importance)
  • Practicing God's Presence: Learning to be aware of God as constant companion, staying in constant contact with God, living with one's spiritual windows and doors open to God (I call this a good day)                          
  • Contemplative Prayer: Practicing a kind of prayer that culminates in silent attentiveness to God, a prayer that is about listening and receiving rather than speaking & expressing (admittely, I don't usually want to hear what God is ready to say.)
  • Holy Days & Seasons: Observing special days and seasons that interupt the normalcy and regularity of daily life with intensity. These special days or seasons stimulate the remembering of special events or meanings and provide members of a faith community with a special encouragement to engage in specified practices. 
  • Meditation & Memorization: Holding a truth in the mind through nonanxious concentration so that it can be savored and rooted deeply and accessible to memory in the stress and struggle of daily life
The final chapter I read was also profoundly meaningful for me. "Katharsis (Via Purgativa)"  Pride (a preoccupation with oneself and one's power), Lust (pleasure in general, as well as sexual pleasure), & Greed (money & possessions) obstruct light from entering the soul. I started thinking about how much of my life can fall under pride, lust, or greed-- buying a house, finding "that" relationship, building sufficient savings, being successful, et cetera. Not "bad" stuff but prideful, lustful, greedy stuff. When you strip away things of pride, lust, and greed what's left? Seeking and squinting, I saw things that were beautiful. Relationship (non-sexual, obviously, like family), spirituality. It's amazing how beautiful life and the world is when you strip it away of pride, greed, and lust, as in trying to be bigger, "better," faster, more. Clarity. God. Goddess. Peace.

The glimmers of light, joy, & peace I got when skimming the book are the reasons I will present it as a possibility when the time comes. The notable drawback was obvious in chapter 1 when the author references writing like 3 other books to actually talk about the ancient practices. At that point, I was afraid he wasn't actually going to talk about the practices in the sense of "how to". It is true he doesn't go in depth but I got glimmers of more life and that's a start. Namaste & Blessed be.