Quilting on Retreat

So this is what happened with my quilting.  I was really very thrilled with this part of the retreat.  I only brought one quilting book with me, just for inspiration–Masters Art Quilts.  It’s a beautiful book, and I spent just a little time looking through it for inspiration.  I decided Right away the direction I would go in for this quilt, and then just chose some fabrics from this big stack of fabrics and started cutting out strips.  No marking or accuracy involved.  And then started hand-sewing the pieces together.  Even though it seems a bit labor-intensive, it was very freeing to only work with the simplest of sewing tools–needle, thread, scissors, and thimble.  I was so happy with the results.  I only did the simple background piecing on retreat.  I added the flowers since coming home.  I’m still in the midst of working on this, and don’t know for sure how the final product will end up, but I wanted to share this much with you.  I don’t always have a deep meaning to every quilt I make, but as I went along, I decided that the brown piece on the side was representative of my Rock, God, in my life, the source of any creativity I might have.  The flowers seem to be my creativity, flowing from this source, the Rock.

My Mini-Retreat

The idea for this started almost a year ago when ‘browsing’ on Travelocity, and I noticed this place to stay at Lake Tahoe, that seemed very nice, had good reviews, and was INEXPENSIVE  (Three Peaks Resort and Beach Club.)  So I thought to myself, that would be a nice place to go for a little spiritual retreat.  Plus, I noticed they allowed pets.  And I thought, August would be a nice time to go, because by then I am really getting tired of the heat around here.  I keep mentioning Lake Tahoe in recent posts, and I presume everyone knows about it.  But if anyone doesn’t know, it is a beautiful lake in the high sierras.  Wikipedia says it is the largest alpine lake in North America!

So, time went on, and I didn’t really plan for it, but after my week of Inertia, I decided this would be a good thing for me.  And it really was.  Originally, in my mind, it was only to be a spiritual retreat–take my Bible, my journal, and a good book, and spend time talking to and listening to God.  But I have been doing okay in this department lately, and since my creativity is linked to my life with God (He made me creative) I decided I would also bring a stack of quilting fabric that I had been wanting to work with, and only my hand-sewing kit.  I was feeling kinda ‘blocked’ in my quilting lately, and thought maybe this would get me moving in the right direction.  Plus, I decided that ‘fitness’ was not to be the main goal, but could still be included.  It seems only natural when you are in such a beautiful place to spend some time outdoors enjoying His creation.

So, I planned to skip church Sunday morning in order to get a good start on the day.  I was only going to stay one night, but if I left Sunday morning, and came home Monday night, it would be more like two whole days to me.  But since I really don’t like skipping church, I decided to listen to Francis Chan on my computer before I left.  He is such an inspirational speaker, it was a great start to the day.  On my drive up Hwy. 88 (which is a gorgeous drive to Tahoe, if any of you don’t know about it) I listened to my favorite Christian pop group Phillips, Craig, and Dean.  I just love these guys.  It was a great time of enjoying God’s creation and praising him ‘At the Top of My Lungs’ (P,C, & D’s current CD.)

We (me and Oliver the practically perfect black Standard Poodle) arrived at the hotel and checked in.  It really was a very nice place, very clean and comfortable.  And I asked if I could check out one of their ‘suites’ in case I wanted to stay there the next time.  It was VERY luxurious, and I think in the off seasons, it was pretty reasonable.  It is a little close to ‘the big city’ (Stateline) for my taste, but on the other hand, there WAS a Starbuck’s within walking distance, and it was only two blocks from the Lake!

Anyways, I decided I would write myself a schedule, so that I wouldn’t get stuck in one place, and/or fritter away the time.  I was really glad I did that.  So first spent some time reading and journaling.  I brought the book ‘The Rest of God’ by Mark Buchanan kind of as an afterthought, but it turned out to be the PERFECT book for this trip.  I really love the way he writes AND the thoughts that he expresses.  The Bible I brought was The Message, which I also love because it is written in present day language, and just brings things to life for me.

Well, I can see this post is getting a bit long, so I think I will end, and will write probably two more posts about this mini-retreat!

I am Full

So, do you ever feel like this, my bloggy friends?  You have had such a good couple of days, on so many levels, that you don’t know where to start, so you just keep reading other peoples blogs, or doing other things?

I am full in so many ways:  mentally, spiritually, creatively, physically…and now I have to get ready for work, and work the next two days, and, oh yeah, America’s Got Talent is coming on tonight after missing it for 3 weeks during those silly little games, what were they called, oh yeah, the Olympics.  I guess you can see the high level of entertainment that I enjoy in the evenings…anyways, I think I will really try to make it a priority to blog about my adventure the past 2 days on Saturday.  Stay tuned.

Making a List

And checking it twice…oh, how corny!  But anyways, that is what I did yesterday to try to combat the Inertia that had set in last week.  Not that I think making a list is the simple solution to inertia.  My BFF, who is kind and honest with me, says I am too hard on myself, and I just need to give myself permission to have days where I accomplish nothing.  And I remember a few years ago when I was even busier, I would mark out days on my planner called ‘LUXURY DAYS’ where I could do whatever I wanted or nothing at all.  I think the problem is a little more complex than that.  There is an ebb and flow in life that seems natural to me.  Some people call it hormonal.  My brother swears by ‘biorhythms’ and says stuff like ‘I bet you were crossing that day.’

But whatever it is/was, seems to be gone now.  I like my list, I like looking at the possibilities of what you can do in 6 days, and realizing you maybe can’t do as many things as you had in your mind (Pastaqueen wrote a great post about this yesterday.)  So I had a great day yesterday, and I am really looking forward to today.  AND I am planning to go to Lake Tahoe for a little overnight retreat this weekend.

The one thing that inertia didn’t do to me was make me overeat, so I am happy about that.  Roni wrote a great post about this on her blog.

And that is the last time you will hear the word inertia on this blog!

Hey, just want to say CONGRATULATIONS to my bloggy friend Jill for the great weight loss success she is having (and she is the world’s funniest blogger, too.)  Check her out!

Telling the Truth to Myself

Hmmm…well, I haven’t posted in over a week, and I don’t have a whole lot to say today.  I was going to write a post called ‘Inertia’ because that is how I was describing myself (Is inertia a feeling?) but if you think about it, by definition I wouldn’t be able to write a post called Inertia whilst I was in the midst of inertia.  So there you have it.  That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Speaking of ‘sticking to it’ my weight (posted Tuesday instead of Wednesday because I always gain on work days and I worked Tue. and Wed.) is still exactly 163.2.  Is there some sort of Olympic award for maintaining weight so scrupulously???  I seem to have ‘stuck the landing,’ even if the landing is 5 pounds shy of my stated goal…

So this morning, I was making some of my ‘famous’ scones, raspberry vanilla this time, and working on perfecting my recipe, and as I spread the melted low-fat butter on the top (so the sugar sprinkles will stick better)  I said to myself, (because there is no one else here and the dogs don’t care as long as SOMETHING drops on the floor for them to eat,)  ‘You are not acting like a person who is trying to lose weight.  You are acting like a person who is trying to eat as much as possible and still maintain weight.  Just like when you were in college and practically did calculus to figure out exactly what you had to get on exams and still pass your nursing courses with a B average.’

So I guess if I am honest with myself, by that definition, I am succeeding at exactly what I am trying to do.  This all relates very well to an article that Lori recommended.  The article was mostly about lies we tell ourselves.  This is all so interesting to me because so much of the weight loss thing is a ‘mind game.’  It’s not really a game at all…’mind hard work’ is a better way to describe it.  But anyways, I have since the start spent a great deal of time researching and thinking about maintaining the weight loss because I NEVER WANT TO GAIN THAT WEIGHT BACK.

Every day I plan out what I am going to eat, I write it down, track the points, keep track of exercise.  I have a lot of the behaviors that are necessary to lose weight, and to maintain weight loss.  I know what to do to pare it down and lose again.  I guess I don’t want to do it enough.   One thing I have thought about is “Is it my mind or my BODY that doesn’t want to do it enough?”  But until whichever part of me that needs to changes, I am trying to be gentle and kind to myself, and be content with the weight loss I have achieved, and especially be aware of how much better my body works.

Well, I’m off to enjoy one of the raspberry-vanilla scones, and to plan out the next week.  I have 6 days in a row off work, and I don’t want to be stuck in inertia anymore!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thank you!  That’s what I couldn’t stop saying to God on my way home in the car.

Yesterday was such a good day.  I met my sister in Stockton (big town halfway between her house and mine.)  Uh oh.  (Remember, me + big town = too many food choices.)  Well, we planned to meet at BJ’s, one of my favorite restaurants, and I planned to have lunch AND a ‘pizookie’ (which is a fresh-baked CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE served fresh out of the oven and topped with delicious FULL FAT vanilla ice cream.)  Anyways we had lunch.  I made relatively good choices.  Then we planned to shop for a while and then go back and  have the dessert before we parted ways.

We had such a good time.  We don’t see each other or talk to each other nearly as much as we used to.  My sister is the most wonderful person in the whole wide world (BTW, the previous statement has NOTHING to do with the fact that my sister now knows that I have a blog, and that there is a tiny chance she just might read this.)  But really, no one ‘gets’ me like my sister does, and we just talked and talked.  Anyways, neither of us wanted to spend that much money, so we went to a thrift store that has a LOT of designer clothes.  I got some really nice clothes that fit so well and looked really good on me, and I felt a little less fat than I have been feeling the past few days.  While I was helping my sister change out clothes in the dressing room I just glanced around and I really couldn’t believe my eyes.  There was a brand new Vera Bradley purse!  But not just any Vera Bradley purse.  It was one I had seen a friend carrying about 5 years ago that I just loved, with chickens and eggs on it.  So it is one that is not in production anymore, and yet it was brand new, with all the tags still attached!


Yes, I like all things chicken.

Yes, I like all things chicken.

So we headed back for our dessert, and my sister says, “Hey, there’s a yogurt place.”  So I said, well do you want that instead? And she said, yah, it sounds cooler.  This place was called Yogelina (my sister said Angelina Jolie owned it.)  Have you ever heard of it?  The stuff actually tasted like yogurt, you know, had that little tang to it, so I think maybe it was a little healthier than some of the frozen yogurt out there.  Anyways, we really enjoyed it.  [Holy cow, I just researched the nutritionals on this stuff–can you believe the serving we had only had 98 calories?!?  Oh, yeah, I FEEL GOOD!]

On the way home, I kept thinking about it.  I was really looking forward to, and determined to get that Pizookie.  But I felt SO GOOD that we had enjoyed that yogurt instead.  I think it was the first time I really really felt that way that people describe–being thin feels better than _______ tastes.  Not that I’m thin, but I think you know what I mean.

So, one of the reasons I didn’t want to spend as much money is because I am trying to live a little more simply so that I can have a little money to give, especially to help feed hungry children.  (Does anyone else see the irony in a food-obsessed person wanting to help alleviate hunger in this world?)  But I had been in a little bit of a quandry as to where to give, and when I got home there was a letter from World Vision saying that a donation could be multiplied 6 times because of government grants!  It was a real answer to prayer.

AND I got home before it was dark.  So I grabbed Oliver the Practically Perfect Black Standard Poodle and went for a really fast 1 1/2 mile walk.  It felt so good to WANT to do that!  THANK YOU, LORD!

It’s 9:06 am

And I told myself that I had to stop reading blogs by 9:00!  But then I realized I needed to write something or other.  I got a little of a late start today, but it sure felt good to get 8 whole hours of sleep.  At this time of year I always stay up a little too late, and the chickens wake me up a little too early.

After my last post about ‘feeling good,’ I was tempted to write one the next day titled ‘I Feel Bad.’  I went to work and ate not one but 2 homemade blackberry muffins.  I hoped they were low fat, but I didn’t ask–on purpose.  Then went to an inservice, and the ‘reward’ for attending was (drum roll please) a chocolate chip cookie.  And I ate it.  And the thing is, when I eat this extra stuff at work, I still eat ALL of the planned food I have brought with me for the day.  Oh wait, I’m not done.  On the way home, I kept thinking about how my friend says that store bought cookies are NEVER as good as the ones you make yourself, and so when I got home, I dug out the last homemade chocolate chip cookie I had left in my freezer to make sure she was right (she was.)  Oh yah, all this thought (I have a LONG drive home) was intermingled with thoughts of going on a severely restrictive diet and exercise program the very next day…(aaaaaarrrrrgh.  that is the sound of a very weak cougar, Jill)

But since then, I have had two good days.  Saturday, planned out my food, and had to wait til I was hungry before I ate my next meal/snack.  Sometimes I make rules like this to practice what I am not so good at, and to show myself that I have some control over my food.  Sunday, the same thing.  And I went for good walks both days (gearing up for Tigerlily’s Challenge.)

Can anyone tell me why the link just continues on and on?  I wasn’t done with that paragraph, but it wouldn’t stop underlining every thing I wrote, so I just gave up.

Anyways, did the 100 push up challenge Saturday–total of 71 push ups.  Which reminds me, you should read Dietgirl’s entry on this–very funny.

That’s all for now.  It’s 9:31, and I have lots to do today.  BTW, I think I figured out the answer to my own question with that second link I did.  Now, if I can just remember the NEXT time I want to do a link.

I Feel Good!

Just a short post about little victories. After my previous serious post about making changes, and how important it was to my health, my bloggy friend Jill and I were kidding around about ice cream this morning.  But of course, the power of suggestion…and I was going to the doctor’s today, and really, I deserve some ice cream after the stress of driving an hour and a half, and going to the doctor’s, right?  And really, I knew right where the Coldstone Creamery was.  So, before I left, I had about convinced myself that it was the right thing to do–treat myself to some ice cream.  But I did take my alternative Cliff bar and some lite popcorn with me.    And I ate a delicious and filling lunch of cottage cheese and cantaloupe, and a big tomatoe before I left.  And by the time I got there, I had decided that I really wanted my Cliff bar and a Starbuck’s coffee on the way home, and not 15 points worth of ice cream.  I’ll tell you, thinking about my aunt (see previous post) is very sobering.  Like I told my friend on the way home, as long as it is within my control I don’t ever want anyone to tell me I can’t have a drink of water (that’s what my aunt’s doctor told her because of her kidney and heart failure.) 

The visit with my doctor was really just an interview.  I got assigned to a new doctor, and like I told her I didn’t want the first time I met her to be when I was naked.  She went over my labs with me.  Everything was normal.  My good cholesterol was much higher than pre-weight loss, and she said, are you exercising?  YES, I said.  Then I noticed my Triglycerides were way down, and I asked her why that would be, and she looked to see if I was taking fish oil pills, and I said no, but I eat way differently now.  Well, that’s it, she said.  So all in all, a great day.  I am 53 years old, and officially don’t have to take any prescription pills-YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY!!!  (Can you tell I am not a fan of pills?)