Neighborhood Pavement

This past week I’ve been walking each day from one to two miles, depending on my endurance and how much my ankles hate me. I’ve been outside, and it has been strangely cool for what is normally a sweltering, sticky July in hotbox east Texas. The skies have been overcast, but not too gray, and I’ve bravely stretched out socks – I can never find women’s running socks for my size 11 boats – and tied on my Pumas, locked the house door behind me, and tackled the neighborhood pavement.

I have even rocked an awesome pseudo-fanny pack.

It has felt so good to be outside and to accomplish. Then I get home. Today, I just couldn’t do it. Today, I have sat in my dark house all day. As I write this, the only light I see is through my front door, the half circle window at the top, where I can see the first bits of blue sky in days; just enough through the green tree top that lets me know it is sunny outside. I can’t decide what is worse, staying inside indefinitely or going outside only to come back to this dark place again.

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Neighbors: I’m Nervous, Unsure, and Diffident

I am nervous about tomorrow, my D-Day of determining whether I have the real guts necessary to meet my neighbors. Well, it is beyond nervous and beyond just meeting them. I’m so anxious that my medicine isn’t working for my anxiety disorder…my heart quickens and my breath shortens into fast, nasal inhalations so that oxygen continues to pump through me, but I’m feeling like tomorrow’s uncertainess is swirling around me and I’m not really in my body, but more like I’m looking at myself go through this painful experience.

And tomorrow is more than dropping off tiny, Christmas gifts at the door, regardless if they are home or not. Tomorrow is about action and engagement: fellowshiping and building relationships. Why am I so scared? The worst thing that could happen is that no one comes and I’m left with twelve dozen eggs sitting there. No, the worst thing that could happen is that I start a conversation and then end up making a fool of myself by whatever comes out of my mouth. The worst thing that could happen is that I don’t build any relationships and I’m left with nothing.

I believe in a real, viable Devil who sends out thoughts of uncapability, that scare us into thinking that we can’t do what God tells us He needs us to do. The Devil has infiltrated my plan already; my husband will be in Dallas tomorrow and there is enough of a chance that we might not make it back home in time (although he assures me he’ll be back with no problem), the weather is supposed to be coooold – 57 degree high, but that is cooold for this time of year in Texas, and now the anxiety attacks.

Please pray for our work tomorrow and what can be accomplished through a simple egg hunt. I hope to update you all with happy and relieved thoughts afterwards!

My Update Hits a Road Block

I’ve been feeling the need to give an update on my neighbor project, my Spanish usage, and anything else that involves this blog.  However, I’m hitting a road block.  There are plenty of ideas driving in cars, but the writing police are saying, “Hold up, you can’t drive through, you can’t go this way.” 

I’m reading a very interesting book that my father recommended to me, because he said, “It sounds like you.”  It is A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller, a book, in which he writes about writing.  I’m at the point in which he is attempting to explain to his publishers the concept of the book.  He states, “all of us are living stories, and those stories teach other people to live stories.  And what our stories are about matters, not just for us but for the world” (125). 

It makes me wonder what my story, my blog, is teaching others.  Has it really made a difference in any one of your lives, or am I just writing to hear my fingers type on the keyboard as if I’m trying to play a highly staccato song?

I have hit this road block and there is a lot of honking in my head.  I see flashing lights, warning me to stay back.  I can picture police officers in long trench coats, telling me and my ideas to turn around because there is danger up ahead.

I’m not sure where my story goes from here.

Desk Chair Jockey: Adding Fitness to Fight Fatigue at Work

Exercise has always been my Achilles’ heel.  I chalk it up to the fact that in High School the only reason I ever exercised was because my basketball coach was screaming, “push yourself, run faster, time’s almost up!”  Now that ten years and three babies have elapsed, I have to find intrinsic motivation to get the workout done.  I no longer stand all day taking money from people as my job, so I also have the disadvantage of a job that keeps me on my butt most of the day long.  While researching ways to fight fatigue, as I sit on my rear, I came across some advice and hints on making the most of the desk job day, in which I could stretch and burn some calories as well.

In an article on Mayo Clinic’s website, I found that one of the single greatest things to fight fatigue besides getting extra sleep at night is to stay hydrated.  Drinking water is a healthy way to perk your alertness and has the additional benefit of keeping you focused, helping you do your job better.  While caffeine is my usual go-to (at least three cups in the morning), water helps you better battle your day instead of leaving you dragging after your squirrel-on-drugs moment of instant effectiveness.  In fact, as I write this, I have already taken my own instruction and drank several Styrofoam gulps of water to improve my advice.

The website www.mayoclinic.com also offers some great examples of stretching that can be done at your desk or in your workspace.  My favorites are the “not-so-obvious-because-I-work-at-a-school-and-don’t-need-people-to-look-at-me-like-I’m-a-fool” stretches.  The first is the shoulder stretch.  This stretch also works well as a cool down after a strenuous exercise.

A) Lifting your arm at the elbow, pull your arm across your chest and hold for fifteen to thirty seconds.

B) Tension should be felt through the back of your shoulder.

C) Upon completion, switch to your other arm and repeat the stretch.  Do as many as you feel adequately gets  you  relaxed.

The second stretch is called a “chin tuck.”  This type of stretch is simple enough to incorporate during the day; however, I don’t recommend doing them while your boss is around because he or she might suspect that you are sleeping.

A) Facing straight ahead, lower your chin to the chest and hold for fifteen to thirty seconds.

B) Relax and bring your head back to the starting position.  Repeat, again, as often as you feel warrants it.

If you think you’ll just never make it to the gym, or are like me and enjoy your afternoon snack too much, there are even ways to burn calories at your desk.

A)  Standing, amazingly, is one of these ways.  Take opportunities to stand and walk, like delivering a message by   hand instead of through text or e-mail, and you will burn as you go.

B)  If you’d like something more productive, exchanging your desk chair for a fitness ball will promote core strengthening, as well as a little bounce in your day!

C) You could also keep fitness equipment nearby.  Using small hand weights to do bicep curls as you work on a project can help you strengthen and shred.

D)  Taking up meetings on the go is another way to incorporate brisk walking – and the faster the pace, the more calories you cut.

If you are less inhibited by the type of exercise you do in public, then the Abdominal Crunch Desk Exercise is for you.  In his article “5 Desk Exercises for Your Busy Office” on www.workawesome.com, Joshua Riddle describes a core strengthening and better posture promoting exercise that is as fun as it is effective.  The more people you can get involved, the more laughter you encourage in your workplace, which we know leads to a happier mood as well.  I would guess that the two o’clock slump is the best time to try this exercise.

A)           Sit on the edge of a seat.

B)            Lean back from your waist, keeping your back straight.

C)            Hold the seat of the chair with both hands.

D)           Lift both legs up, keeping your knees bent while tightening your abdominal muscles.

E)            Straighten your legs, holding your heels a few inches off the floor.

F)            Repeat steps D and E until you’ve done ten repetitions.

For more ideas and articles related to improving your health during your tied-to-the-desk days, check out the above links.  Happy Exercising!