Holiday Season Wellness Goals

Confession:  I’ve been hitting the leftover Halloween candy pretty hard this week.

As we move into the holiday season, where the sweets become even more abundant and most of the vegetables are cooked in cream-of-something soup, I’ve decided to set a few goals to stay focused, healthy, and feeling well.  Now, I’m a firm believer that wellness is the sum of the good stuff we do for ourselves rather than the absence of the bad stuff.  Along the same lines, I also believe in not depriving yourself if you really want something!  The following popped up on my Facebook news feed a couple nights ago, and I laughed and felt disgusted at the same time:


Really,  That’s the saddest little dessert I’ve ever seen.  That’s a garnish for a dessert, in fact.  There’s no way, if someone were craving pineapple upside-down cake, that that would satisfy the craving.  I commented, “#notdessert”.  😀

But I digress.

 Therefore, my wellness goals for the holiday season are cumulative and non deprivation-based.  If you count yesterday (when I intended to write this post) and Christmas day, there are 50 days until Christmas!  


That means that I am aiming for an average of 6 servings of produce, 30 minutes of exercise, and just one dessert daily (my dessert goal is to not exceed 5o servings.)  The beauty of the cumulative goals is that they allow flexibility:  Run for an hour one day?  Take a rest day.  Enjoy a few desserts on Thanksgiving?  Forego a sweet somewhere else in the week.  A few days of poor eating here and there won’t wreck a person; these goals will help me make sure a few days don’t turn into the whole holiday season. 🙂

After day one, these are my stats:
-Fruits & Veggies: 6
-Exercise: 1 hour
-Desserts: 1

Be good to yourselves, friends!  And for the love of all things delicious, please don’t ever eat a pineapple garnish for dessert.

Do you have any wellness goals for the holiday season?
What would you add to my three categories?

Do Not Worry

The events of my life yesterday are such that I could not write them as fiction if I tried.  Here’s how my Wednesday unfolded:

I had a 10:15 AM appointment with a cardiologist.  The back story:  I finally heard back from my doctor on Monday evening about the heart palpitations I’ve been having; she was unsure what was going on with my heart and referred me to a cardiologist.  Also Monday, my Wednesday morning staff meeting was cancelled.  On Tuesday morning I called the cardiologist to make an appointment.  While checking for openings, the receptionist said, “Wow, this never happens. Is there any chance you can come in tomorrow (Wednesday) morning?  Our next available appointment is in about a month.”  Why, yes…yes I can!

So yesterday morning I  got ready for the day and left the house with enough time to stop for gas on the way to my appointment.  As I was driving out of my neighborhood I realized I’d accidentally left about 15 minutes before I intended. (Who does that?)  I felt a little annoyed with myself, knowing I’d just be waiting an extra long time in the waiting room.  I stopped at the gas station, filled up the tank, sat back in the car, turned the key in the ignition, and… nothing.  Well, nothing except a gritty clicking noise.  Dang it.

The gas station attendant did not have jumper cables or a car (he’d walked from home) but was so kind and started walking around asking other customers if they could help.  One woman had the cables and was willing to help start my car.  Over the course of the next few minutes, I discovered that the gas station attendant was the father-in-law of a friend from church, and the woman with the jumper cables sends her kids to the camp where I worked in college, and we have mutual friends here in town.  My car started, I thanked the folks who were willing to help me on a rainy morning, and I was headed toward the cardiologist with the exact amount of time I’d intended to give myself.

I started laughing and thanked God as I drove–there’s no way that series of events was anything short of divine intervention.  My schedule that morning had cleared, there was a random, rare opening with the cardiologist, I accidentally gave myself extra time, and when my car broke down, there were kind folks to whom I was already connected willing to help.  I was meant to be at that appointment.

When I pulled up at the doctor’s office, I turned off my car, then attempted to start it again–just to see what I was going to be dealing with post-appointment.  Nothing but that lovely dead-battery noise.  Excellent.  I texted my friend and coworker Evan, who lives around the corner (and was home because our staff meeting had been cancelled), and he said he could jump my car after the appointment.

When I was finally in the examination room, the nurse took my blood pressure.

“114/55… looks good.”

“I’m surprised it isn’t higher; my car died on the way here this morning, and I’m a little worked up!”

“Oh no!  Then you’re doing REALLY good!”


I spent the most time with the nurse practitioner, who was great and explained everything so well to me–basically I’m having a few extra heartbeats throughout the day, but because my heart rhythm looks normal, I’m at a healthy weight, active, and have no risk factors, I have nothing to worry about.  Stress, rather than a problem with my heart, is causing the palpitations.  Bottom line:  I just need to learn to relax.

No problem.  Now let me go jump start my car for the second time today.  😉  Evan graciously drove over to help (thanks, Evan!), and I headed for my regular car shop.

I left the car running and walked inside.

“Hey, as soon as I turn off my car, it’s going to die.  You guys do battery stuff, right?”

“We do.  You can pull it into the garage!”

I pulled it in and walked back inside the office to give the man my car key.

“What’s your plan–are you going to wait or is someone picking you up?”

“Umm… I didn’t really have a plan.  My plan was to jump start the car and immediately take it somewhere it could be fixed.  This is as far as the plan went.  How long do you think it will take?”

“Well, we are all about to go to lunch, so we can’t look at it right now.  I can call you when it’s ready though.”

Learn to relax.  Learn to relax.  Learn to relax.

I thanked him, then walked out the door and down the street to Barnes & Noble, where I bought a magazine and a sandwich and settled in for an indefinite amount of time.  Within an hour they called to tell me I needed a new battery, and they could have it done in twenty minutes.

The hilarious irony of the situation is not lost on me–that my car breaks down on both ends of an appointment where I’m told that I am so stressed that I’m giving myself heart palpitations.  And yet, in what is a notoriously stressful situation, God provided richly before I even knew to ask.  Everything worked out, no thanks to me worrying about how it might be resolved.

It brings to mind a passage from the book of Matthew (chapter 6), which I’ll share for anyone who’s interested or needs the same reminder today:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the the birds of the air;  they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?…So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or “What shall we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows that you need these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I will be meditating on this passage daily for a while (until my heart chills outs, and then probably a bit longer :)) as part of my plan to de-stress, which I’ll outline tomorrow.

In the meantime, do not worry, my friends!

Hiking: Humpback Rocks + Dobie Mountain

Hiking is good for my soul.  Apparently it’s good for my heart as well, because we hit the mountains Saturday, and I didn’t have a single heart palpitation all day.  Nature for the win!

Andrew and I went with our friends Evan and Kristina;  Evan is one of my coworkers, and we’d been talking about all going hiking together for a while.  It was great to finally make it happen!  Kristina’s sister and her boyfriend drove up from Virginia Tech and met us at Humpback Rocks.

This hike, which is one of our favorites because of the awesome views and close proximity to home, is always steeper than I remember.  There was very little conversation happening for the first 15 minutes or so :-D.  The ascent to the overlook is only one mile though, so before long we were looking at this:


 IMG_2672 IMG_2666 IMG_2673 IMG_2668

After we reached this overlook, we decided to continue hiking–the trail meets up with the Appalachian Trail pretty quickly.  Humpback Rocks shares a parking lot with another hike we’ve done recently–Dobie Mountain–and the two are connected by the AT.  Now, we had never done the combined hike and weren’t sure exactly how many miles of AT stretched between the two, but the group decided to give it a try.

This section of the AT (going north) was beautiful–mostly downhill, lots of pretty leaves, and lots of switchbacks.  So many switchbacks… none of which were visible on Google maps (yes, the AT is on there!), so when we’d been hiking for 15 minutes and I said, “We’re just about a mile away from the next overlook,” I was very wrong.  About an hour later, we were…one mile from the overlook.  My bad, guys. 🙂  Eventually we made it, and it was worth the extra miles:


IMG_2693 IMG_2690


The whole gang

By the time we made it out of the woods, I think we’d hiked about six miles.  Not too shabby!

Hiking just makes me feel alive, and as I previously mentioned, it seemed to quiet the frequent heart palpitations I’ve been having lately.  Plus, we had great company this weekend, which made the day even greater!

Where have you hiked lately?
What was the highlight of your weekend? 


Friends, Andrew and I are off to Jamaica!  We are staying at an all-inclusive, couples-only resort, and I could not be more excited.


A few days ago I Googled, “Staying healthy at an all-inclusive resort,” because let’s be honest: all you can eat and drink for an entire week can be dangerous.  I present you the following from our honeymoon at a similar resort in the Bahamas:

Exhibit A:


1. The pina colada because I’d only had one that day
2. The “welcome to dinner on the private island!” glass of champagne
3. The white wine because the waitress offered
4. The water because, well, I like to drink water with my meals.

Notice that Andrew has a similar lineup across the table.  We’re not proud.

Exhibit B:


All you can eat.  Chocolate pastries on the right, I’m looking at you.

When I Googled, “Staying healthy at an all-inclusive resort,” all the responses I found fell in two categories:

1. Be a crazy person and have a miserable vacation.
2. Do what you do naturally.

And because Andrew and I are most certainly not crazy people, here’s our stay-healthy game plan for the week (spoiler alert: it looks very similar to how we live normally) :

1. Stay active.  The resort offers kayaking, snorkeling (we bought our own gear on our honeymoon!), beach volleyball, windsurfing, swimming, and more.  We love outdoorsy stuff, and we are planning to live it up.

2. Listen to our bodies.  Eat when we’re hungry, stop when we’re full (Admittedly, we did not do a great job of this on the honeymoon…)  If it doesn’t taste good, don’t eat it just because it’s there.  Eat plenty of fruits and veggies because we feel our best when we do.

3. Enjoy.  It’s vacation, and we fully intend to enjoy those strawberry daiquiris, pina coladas, and chocolate pastries.  😀

While we’re gone, I have some awesome guest posts lined up from a couple of people who are very near and dear to my heart.  😀

Have a great week, and I’ll “see” you next Saturday!

Atonement Workouts (I’m not for ’em)

On Saturday night while Andrew and I were chowing down on chips and salsa, we eavesdropped overheard a conversation between two women at the table next to us.  One of the women appeared very fit–thin and toned–and was giving nutrition advice to her friend.  At first glance you’d think she had it all together, but after listening for a few minutes (unintentionally, of course;  Andrew and I couldn’t really talk because it would have required us to take breaths between bites ;-)), I thought, Whoa, this lady is way off base.

“Women need at least an hour of heavy cardio every single day.”

“I generally eat 1500 calories a day, but things carry over day to day;  I’ll make up for this indulgence [motioning to her small cocktail] tomorrow by only eating 1000 calories.”

In immediate response to that I said to Andrew, “That sucks.  I won’t.”

I witnessed a similar event a couple of months ago; I overheard a woman in the gym locker room say this to another woman after they’d just taken a group fitness class together:

“Well, I’m going to go do the Elliptical now because I decided to eat Girl Scout cookies last night!”

In addition to what sounded like a grueling class, this woman completed a full workout on an Elliptical machine in order to make up for something she’d eaten the day before.

I call this an “atonement workout” or “atonement eating,” in the case of the sad 1000 calories–in which a person thinks they must work off a food debt they’ve created or make right the horrendous wrong of, say, eating a few Girl Scout cookies–and I think this attitude is all wrong.

While there’s obviously a connection between our weight and the calories we eat and burn, this attitude misses the big picture… and can drive a person nuts.  Food is not something to be punished for, but is, along with physical activity, a means to care for our bodies.  I like to think of physical wellness not in terms of the “bad” things we “shouldn’t” have (“I can’t eat carbs/fat/cookies/chips…”) but rather the sum of the kind things we do for our bodies.  I feel well not because I didn’t eat dessert yesterday (I did,) but because I ate a lot of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein and took a walk–The sum of the good stuff rather than the absence of the bad stuff.  And I am not working out for longer today because I ate a delicious, homemade cupcake yesterday.

Health is about more than hitting a certain calorie goal each day.  And by the way, if I completed an hour of hard cardio daily and only ate 1500 calories, I’d be a very unpleasant person;  don’t even get me started on the 1000 calories (which, for the record, is below what is considered starvation.)

Be good to yourself!

What kind things will you do for your body today?

Workout Motivation: Strong Over Skinny

If I learned one thing from Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in The Silver Linings Playbook, it’s, well, to look for the silver lining in any situation.  (Andrew just read that over my shoulder and said, “No, it’s that if you are doing a lift while dancing, make sure you don’t get caught in the crotch.”  I’m sticking with the silver lining thing.)  One upside to my scary experience Friday is that it has provided excellent workout motivation.

While running on Monday I thought, What would I do if the guy drove up beside me in his car right now?  As I pondered the question, playing the scenario out in my head, I noticed I was running faster.  I felt the desire to push myself to be in the best shape possible–to be strong and able–so that if I ever end up in a similar or more dangerous situation, I have a fighting chance at defending myself.  I don’t want to run simply to burn calories, but rather to be fit and prepared for whatever challenges come my way.

Then I started thinking about workout motivation in general, separate from this specific experience.  I think what motivates us to exercise can change from month to month, even day to day.  Maybe we do it to lower our risk of a disease that runs in the family, or because we like how it makes us feel (go, endorphins!)  Maybe we want to be able to defend ourselves or run a marathon.  Maybe we just want to look good in a bikini.  There was a time in my life that I valued being skinny over a lot of other things.  But what’s the point of that?  What good is “skinny,” if you still can’t do the things you want to do?  We cannot reduce the value of our bodies to their size.

In recent years, I’ve learned to value strong over skinny.

Why I Workout:
To be healthy–There are many diseases and conditions that regular exercise can prevent (or at least greatly lower your risk of.)  If I can avoid certain heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, and other issues just by going for a walk each day, you better believe I’m going to do that.
To do what I loveI like to hike; I like to kayak.  I don’t ever want to miss out on an activity because I am not physically able to participate (for reasons that are my own fault.)  I don’t ever want to be nervous about having to park far away from where I’m going or not be able to explore a new city by foot.
To be strong–I want to be able to run (more) marathons.  I don’t want to say, “That’s too heavy;  I’ll wait until Andrew gets home.”  If the need ever arises, I want to be able to not just defend myself, but kick someone’s tail.

If I also end up thin while aiming to be strong, it’s no more than a happy byproduct.  Thin, in and of itself, holds very little value.

This was actually not the direction I intended to go on the blog when I started writing today, but I’m okay with that. 🙂

What is your non-skinny motivation for working out?

On Being Followed

In my post yesterday I mentioned a scary experience I had Friday night, and this morning I want to share the entire story.

I drove the to grocery store around 6:30 PM–Andrew was on his way back in town from a work function, and I needed to buy some snacks for when we had family over the next day.  Because it wasn’t my normal grocery store run, I repeatedly forgot items, backtracked, changed my mind, walked back to replace an item, etc.  I was all over the store.

On one of the first aisles I noticed a man, probably in his early 30’s, come to a dead stop and wait for me to walk around him.  My first thought was, “Well, that’s annoying.  Don’t block traffic, buddy,” but then he kept ending up very close to me, wherever I walked on the aisle.

I moved on, but no matter which aisle I walked down, this man would soon be there too.  If it had been a normal trip to the grocery store, I might not have thought anything of it, but as I said before, it was a very back-and-forth trip.  If we’d both been on the aisles for produce, meat, cereal eggs, etc., it wouldn’t have seemed odd, but how strange that this man would also be looking at mixed nuts, chip dip, pre-baked cookies–no, cookie dough–wine, chips, probably don’t need that bottle of wine…  Again, I was all over the place, and so was he.

I checked out, and as I walked to the door I turned around, and the man had also just checked out and was not far behind me.  He had one small bag after 30-45 minutes, which indicated to me that he did not come to the store to buy groceries.  The red flags were waving in my head.  My gut told me something was definitely not right.

It was still fairly light outside, and the parking lot was far from vacant.  I had parked to the right of the door, so I started walking left to see if the guy would follow me; no way in hell was I going to lead this guy to my car.  He followed.  I kept walking, and at one point when I looked over my shoulder, he was gone.  I figured he’d given up, so I made a right turn to head towards my car.  As I crossed a row of cars, however, I saw him standing by his car, just watching me.  I immediately turned around and walked back to the store.

I stood by the large front windows, hiding behind a wall, but peeking out for a few minutes.  I saw the man pull in front of the store very slowly, looking around.  Then he drove down the closest row, and backed into a parking spot from which he could see the front door.

At this point, I should have told a store manager.  I should have called the police and let them talk to him, and if it turned out he was a nice guy trying to ask me out in a very creepy way, I’d laugh, and he’d probably never make that mistake again.  But I didn’t.  I was ready to get home with my groceries, so I though I’d try to sneak back out in a crowd.  The moment I walked out the front door, he saw me and slowly pulled out of his parking spot.  At this point, I wasn’t scared;  I was mad.  He pulled up behind me as I walked, and finally I’d had enough.  I stopped, turned around, saw that his window was down, and said, “Are you just following me?” accompanied by a look that I hope said, Do not mess with me.  I think it caught him off guard, and he muttered, “Oh, uh, no,” before driving past me and very slowly leaving the parking lot.  I assume he was looking in his rear view mirror, still trying to see which car was mine, so I didn’t move until he was completely out of sight (at which point I ran, threw the bags in the car, and drove out of there as fast as possible, checking behind me frequently as I drove.)

I called my brother and Andrew to share the weirdness, and Andrew urged me to call the police.  I did, and they sent an officer to our house to do the report.  What’s funny is that even though my instincts were telling me something was very wrong, there was still part of my brain saying, “You’re overreacting.  This guy’s probably just trying to get your phone number.  Don’t waste the police department’s time with this.”  Thankfully, the officer that came to our house was so kind and said I absolutely did the right thing by calling.

Andrew and I talked about the situation at great length that night.  I think he was more scared than I was (“I don’t want you to get taken!”) which came out in the form of him criticizing some of the things I did (Um, like going back outside when I knew the guy was there waiting.  Admittedly, not my best move.)  Following those conversations, I did some research.

What to do if you think you are being followed:
Stay alert.  Be aware of your surroundings.  The first step is noticing the guy is creeping.
Trust your gut.  Instincts are real;  don’t reason yourself into a more dangerous situation by thinking, “I’m probably overreacting.”
Get to/stay in a public place.  An attacker does not want to get caught, so they probably will not try anything, say, in the grocery store.
Scream/draw attention to yourself.  Again, the person does not want to be seen or caught, so by making noise, you are putting his operation in jeopardy. (Andrew was upset that I confronted the guy, but I maintain that it served this purpose, among others.  When I spoke up, other people in the parking lot around us heard and looked right at him.)
Don’t go home (or in my case, to your car.)  You don’t want to lead them to your house–especially if you’ll be home alone.  Go to a public place, or better yet, a police station.
Don’t stop moving.  You can call the police and run at the same time!

Stay safe, everyone!

Has anyone ever had a similar experience?  Other tips for what to do in this situation?

Running: When Turtles Snap

Friday morning I almost lost a finger to a giant turtle’s angry jaw.  I set off on my long run–a full 60 minutes at a delightfully slow pace–and as I approached a semi-major intersection outside our neighborhood, I saw a man standing in the street, just off the sidewalk, taking pictures of a turtle that had made its way into the road.  The turtle was massive–its shell was literally the size of a toilet bowl lid.


“I know!  I don’t want it to be run over, but I’m not touching that thing.”

“Hmm.  How much do you think it weighs?”

“15 or 20 pounds?  But look at those claws!”

Yes, I saw the giant claws.  Yes, I know that snapping turtles snap.  I’ll be honest; the image I had (…had…) in my head of snapping turtles biting was that of a cute little turtle holding onto someone’s finger–maybe a bit painful, but more annoying than anything else.  (I just Google image searched different variations of, “snapping turtle bite cartoon,” and none of the results are even close to the mental image I had.  Snapping turtles look like monsters.)

I did not want him to be hit by a car, and I didn’t know if he could get out of the road fast enough.  What if I picked him up from behind?  He couldn’t reach my hand with his mouth, and those legs would just slowly flail, as turtle legs do, right?


Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I approached from behind, put my hands on the shell, began to lift, and <SNAP!>  In one impossible motion, before I had him far off the ground, he jumped–yes, jumped–spun himself 180 degrees, and lunged at me with his beak.  I let go, stepped back immediately, and said to the turtle, “Well, good luck, buddy!” and I resumed running.

That night, as Andrew and I approached the same intersection on our way out to meet friends, I began telling him the story.  I told him about seeing the giant turtle and how the man said he would not touch it.  At this point Andrew interjected,

“Uh, yeah, you do NOT mess with snapping turtles!”

“…Wait, why?”

“Because they will bite your fingers off!”


“Yes, off!  They are nasty animals!”

“Hmm.  I didn’t realize that.”

A quick Google search confirmed that, yes, snapping turtles will bite your fingers right off.  They have sharp teeth that cut rather than crush, and their jaw strength is comparable to that of humans.  Who knew?  (Andrew, and probably all of you.)

Then I started thinking, “What the heck would I have done if it had bitten off my finger??” I do not handle blood well (<–This is the understatement of the year.  More on that another time.)  I do know from a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy (absolute medical truth, right?) that fingers can be reattached.  But what if it was in the turtle’s mouth?  I obviously couldn’t risk losing a second finger to retrieve it.  Oh, it could have been so bad.  I am incredibly thankful that I’m not paying for my ignorance right now!



“We need to enroll you in a class about which wild animals are safe to pick up if found on the side of the road.  Not snapping turtles.  Not lions.  Not tigers.  Not bears.  Let’s just say, none of them.” -Andrew

Am I the only one who didn’t know snapping turtles could bite fingers off?  

30 Days (Almost) Dairy-Free

Last Sunday I completed my 30-Day dairy-free challenge.  I realize I am a few days late with this, but I wanted to give my full report!  At the halfway point two weeks ago, I wrote this post, and many of my thoughts and feelings are the same now as they were then.

After 30 days of (almost…) no dairy, many of my GI issues have been resolved.  I no longer get stomach aches during the day that require me to curl up on the nearest couch!  That is huge.  Also, I’ve heard stories about people’s skin magically clearing when they give up dairy, and while this wasn’t my primary motivation for doing so, I was hoping it might happen.  It didn’t.  My acne can still compete with that of my 12-year-old self.

Even so, there is no question that I feel better when I am not eating dairy than I feel when I am eating it.

The One Time I Cheated:

Okay, the one time since the last time I said there was one time I cheated.  I cheated twice in 30 days.  The first was for some wedding cake on our anniversary.  The second was last week during my crazy, stressful week.  I had not packed lunch, and by the time I finally peeled myself away from my desk to go buy something, I was starving.  And stressed.  I went to Martin’s–a grocery store with a fairly extensive cafe–and after circling the salad bar a few times, I decided greens were not going to cut it that day.  Pizza.  Pizza was all that I wanted.  I ordered a slice of plain cheese and enjoyed every single bite. The next day I did get a pretty bad stomach ache (like, an unbutton my pants while sitting at my desk kind of stomach ache.)  Perhaps it was the cheese, but maybe it was just stress.

Am I Cutting Dairy Out of My Life Forever?

Heck no.  In fact, I’ve already enjoyed some pizza this week. 😀  Now that I have “detoxed” from dairy, I am hoping I can eat it less frequently and perhaps in smaller doses than I did prior to this and have it not bother my stomach.  My plan is to not purchase/eat dairy regularly, but allow myself to enjoy it when I really want it (and carry some lactaid pills with me at all times.)  Whereas cheese, yogurt, and ice cream used to be daily staples for me, I am now not going to keep them in the house or eat them regularly.  I am equally content with soy yogurt, and my taste buds have adjusted to soy milk in my coffee.  However, if I want a piece of pizza, I’m going to have a piece of pizza.  If I am eating at someone’s house, I will have whatever dairy they are serving.  And ice cream?  There will always be room in my life for ice cream.  My hope is that my stomach can handle dairy in smaller and less frequent doses.

I will conclude with this:  Last summer I went to Detroit on a mission trip with the youth group.  One afternoon we went to an awesome ice cream shop named “Mootown Creamery” (Get it?  Mootown instead of Motown? :-D)  This sign was mounted on the wall, and it basically sums up my feelings on the matter:


There is nothing wrong with me a little ice cream won’t fix.

Any dairy-free folks out there?  How do you deal with life without pizza and ice cream?

Stress Relievers + The Day Nothing Went Quite Right

You know how everyone loves Friday because it’s the beginning of the weekend, you can forget about work, kick back, and relax?  Well, this week when I saw posts on Facebook saying, “I’m so glad it’s Friday!”  all I could think was, “Why?!  How is it already Friday?!  I have so much to do before the weekend!”

Yesterday.  Yesterday was one of those days in which nothing went quite according to plan.  I have two fairly large work events on Sunday, one of which is a year-end banquet to celebrate the past year in the youth ministry and honor our graduating seniors.  The celebration includes a slide show, and while this is always a highlight of the night, it is a tremendous undertaking for the person putting it together (me.)  Roughly 200 slides plus music, timed as well as possible.  By the time I’ve completed it and run through it a few times with the music, I never want to see it again.

Yesterday afternoon, after finishing and rehearsing the slide show (<–not as seamless as it sounds;  more on that in a moment,) I received a text message from my good friend and coworker, Forrest.  A little background: Forrest was the youth director before me and is now our Director of Serve Ministries.  When we made the switch last summer, I created a new gmail account for the youth group, but Forrest occasionally receives emails to the old account (which is rarely checked anymore because everyone has the new address.)  So yesterday, Forrest sent me a text that said, “Uh you better check the other email address. [Someone] sent 15 pictures of [her child] last week for the slide show.  Just happened to check it for someone’s email address.”

I felt the blood rushing to my head.  Sweat beads were starting to form on my face.  The knot in my stomach became tighter.

I opened the old email account and saw one unopened email at the very top:



Wrong.  So wrong.  Forrest, you got me good!  😀

Prior to this, the projector in our fellowship hall refused to work properly during the test run of the slide show.  When I restarted my laptop (this fixes many technology issues at work,) all my documents disappeared.  Of course, at this point I had not backed up the slide show.  Delightful. 😉

Everything was resolved by the end of the day–my documents folder reappeared, my friend and coworker, Evan, helped me figure out the projector issue, and I didn’t have to alter the slide show.  However, the events of the week have inspired a post (okay, a few posts) about stress:

Negative Effects of Stress

Upset stomach


Elevated blood pressure

Trouble sleeping

Skin breakouts

More susceptible to colds

There are plenty more–and more serious conditions if stress is chronic.  No, thanks!  So how can we deal with stress so it does the least damage to our health?  Here are just a few options:

Stress Relievers





Take deep breaths

Listen to music

Talk to a friend


Take a bath

Drink lavender/chamomile tea

So, take a deep breath, go for a walk, and don’t let the stress get to you.  As Forrest told me yesterday, “The sun comes up Monday!!!”