Category Archives: Lessons

Not Just a Rainbow

Florida rainbow...sadly, not the rainbow referred to in this post.

As I was driving in the car a few weeks ago, I saw a rainbow. Not just any old run of the mill rainbow, but a full on entire rainbow. From one side of the sky to the other. Brilliant colors, each clearly distinguishable in a ROY G. BIV kinda way. It was pretty fantastic!

I don’t know about you, but I always get excited about seeing a rainbow! I love the majesty of God’s creation! And my kids will tell you that whenever I see  a rainbow, or a red-tailed hawk, or a brilliant sunset, or a big fat full moon glowing up in the night sky, or whatever, I will exclaim, “Look!! Look!! A rainbow (or whatever thing it may be)!! Y’all come out here and look at this! It’s beautiful! Isn’t it beautiful??”

(In fact, the other day, Emma was making fun of me because I was exclaiming over a cute little baby anole lizard. Whatevs. I know I’m a goob. I simply can’t help myself.)

But for the first time in all my rainbow-loving years, on that particular day, as I was admiring that fantastic rainbow, this occurred to me: I realized that you can only see rainbows from far away.

Silly me. Of course, you can only see rainbows from far away—everyone knows that.

But bear with me here, okay? Because sometimes I need the obvious things repeated. I’m special that way. <wink> And, in this case, I believe it was one of those quiet little things that God shows us, just because He loves us and is saying to us, “Trust Me.”

So, you see the rainbow from afar and it is glorious! As you begin to approach the rainbow, you can’t see it as well. And when you are right under a rainbow, you can’t see it at all.

It’s all about perspective.

It made me think about how when you are looking at your circumstances from a distance, things appear one way. When you have walked a little further into those circumstances, they may look different. Then, when you are looking at a situation entirely after the fact—only then can you see the beauty or the value of it.

I think we can all recall such situations.

I remember when I was the mother of a 3 year old and a three month old and we were about to move across the country from North Carolina, where all our family was, to Texas, where we knew no one.

From a distance, it was hard for me to see that any good could come out of that. But it was happening—that much was clear. I always try to see a silver lining, though, and was grateful for my husband’s new job.

In the midst of the “wilderness”, as I call our Texas experience (no offense, Texas peeps!!), there were many difficult struggles—the horrendous, oppressive and relentless heat; the loneliness; the mothering of toddlers, one of whom we were just learning had autism. There was so much I didn’t understand. But there were also blessings—a wonderful church home; great neighbors; sisters in Christ who lifted me up and mentored me; closeness to my husband; a deeper dependence on the Lord than I had ever experienced up to that point in my life.

But on the other side of that two year time in Texas, I could see clearly that the reason God had placed us there, in that seemingly God forsaken place, during that season of time, (besides the obvious driving me to my knees!) was to see to it that Jacob was in a preschool class with a precious teacher whose son was very much like Jacob and who could gently say to us, in love, “hey, did you ever notice…”—even though it was hard for her to say, and hard for us to hear. It was so clear that God placed in our path people who could help us deal with our son’s challenges, direct us toward a diagnosis and help start us on our way.

Clearly, that was the beauty. The rainbow. And it is so easy to see now. In the moment, though? Not so much.

In the midst of our personal storms, we aren’t often able to see the value or the beauty of that storm in our lives. Life can be messy, and sometimes, things will get worse before they get better. Sometimes we are so overcome with our fear, anxiety, or stress, that we can only see the storm raging around us, much like Peter as he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the stormy seas. And then Peter suddenly found himself taking a swim! (Matthew 14:24-33 NLT) The beauty, the gift, is only most clear after that storm is over—when you look at it with some perspective and some distance. And when you let God say to you, “See? I had you covered all along! You only needed to trust Me.”

Friends, in the midst of those most trying and desperate of storms, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and off of our emotions and the circumstances, or else we will surely drown. Because when we are focused on those other things, we will not be able to see His hand reaching out to us to pull us out of the raging waters. Trust that the storm will end and trust that there will be beauty at the end of it. Trust in the promise of the ultimate beauty of eternity.

The rainbow has come to mean different things to different people. To me, the rainbow is not just a rainbow—some pretty thing to look at—or some symbol adopted by a group of people—it is a reminder to trust in the Lord and know that He keeps His promises. (Genesis 9:8-17 NLT) It reminds me that He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV) That we can have peace in the midst of the storms. (Isaiah 26:3 NLT) And that He will carry us through the storms of our lives and give us beautiful reminders of His great love for us.

Look for the beauty, even when there doesn’t appear to be any. Look for the rainbows and trust in the Lord’s plans and purposes. And look for His hand. You can trust that it is there.

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Getting Fit Fridays {vol. 7}–Food is what? or Hello, McFly!

chasing the ice cream truckYou know how you already know stuff (or think you do), but then you need a BAM! In your FACE! reminder to really drive it home? Yeah, well that is what happened to me this week.

Think Biff in Back to the Future…Knocking on George McFly’s head…I felt like that. “Hellooo? Hellooo? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly! Think!”

Last Sunday afternoon, I went and met up with my Biggest Loser Ladies for our workout. We were doing a run/walk for half an hour and then hard core circuit training for an hour. All hosted by our very own Jillian Michaels (AKA Rene). We love her. We don’t love her. No really, we love her.

About an hour and twenty minutes into the workout, I started feeling lightheaded, clammy (I was sweaty already, but this was different), and my hands started to tingle. Then, I thought I was going to puke all over the kettle ball I was flinging around. Yeah, it was kinda scary. I have never felt that way before (let’s clarify: during a workout). I had to sit down, sip some water, and try to let it pass. Then try to get up and walk it off. Then sit back down. Took me about 15 minutes to start feeling better. So weird.

One lady asked me, what did you have for lunch? I told her. Lo-carb wrap with turkey and cheese. And an orange. Then she suggested that I had eaten some good protein, but maybe not enough carbs to give me energy for  the workout. This woman, who was talking to me, is diabetic and so she really has to think about what she is eating and how her body will use the food she eats. It is imperative that she eat the proper foods to keep her blood sugar in check.

Wait, what? *insert rewind noise here*

Hold up just a minute. Food is fuel? 

What a novel concept. (Hello, McFly!!)

“Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.” ~ Hippocrates

I learned a long time ago that food is NOT my friend. Thank you, Weight Watchers. And I recognize that I have used food as an emotional crutch or to just eat recreationally. (You are not a farm animal, so stop grazing like one! Thanks again, WW.) So, while I recognize that I need to eat mindfully and healthfully, which is great, I had not really been thinking about food as FUEL for my body to use and function properly, as FUEL for my body to use when I am working out or doing laundry or just hanging out with the fam.

Wow. This was a newsflash. Or a “DUH” moment. Whichever.

And truly, feeling the way I did the other day was enough to really make me start thinking more about the foods that I eat—not just to lose weight, but to get the most bang for my buck for my body! I do NOT want to feel like I am about to go bad. Ever. Again.

Yeah, so DULY NOTED!

I have paid more attention to food as fuel this week. Really taking note of what foods are carbs and proteins, etc. I am trying to eat foods that are not just low in calories, but also that I know will sustain me through whatever I need to do that day. And I have felt very good—aside from general soreness from workouts. I have had good workouts this week…well, besides that one. Thanks to the support of the BL Ladies.

Tire and HammerI continue to notice improvements in my balance and how I feel overall. I noticed this week that my pants fit me better. I am seeing some changes in some of the girls I workout with and they are so inspirational. I feel like a broken record, but I could not do this alone!

I have also discovered a really fun dance fitness class called WerQ (think Jazzercise, only, well, jazzier). Lots of fun, lots of cardio, lots of calories burned, lots of great music, oh, and lots of sweat. Check and see if you have this in your area. It is a blast!

Today is the first of the month and that means WEIGH IN time! Since my first weigh-in back in January, I am down 8.6 lbs. I have lost a total of about 4-5 inches (waist/hips/arms/thigh combined). And maybe those numbers aren’t huge, but I can tell that things are changing. And as I continue to work (or WerQ), things can only get better. I call that a SCORE!

What do you eat before a workout? After a workout? How have you SCORED this week?

Getting Fit Fridays appears weekly here at Red Van Ramblings to chronicle my fitness journey and more importantly, to increase my accountability. Do you need to get back on the wagon? Do you need some help and encouragement? Join with me, if you’d like. We can do it—together.

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Filed under Getting Fit Fridays, Health and wellness, Lessons

Windy Wordy Wednesday

Jacob got a big kick out of the local weatherman this morning when he stated that we should all be aware of possible tornadic conditions in our area today.

“Tornadic? Is that really a word?” My word-fascinated son wanted to know. And he then went on to repeat it about three or four times in a row. I told him it sounded legit to me. He chuckled.

SIDEBAR: He has always been fascinated by words and the sound of them. How they rolled off his tongue. I remember once when he was about 4 or 5 years old, I said the word “hippopotamus” and he began to laugh hysterically and repeat the word over and over. I asked him what was so funny and he told me that hippopotamus was a funny word. I couldn’t disagree, really. He had a point.

But back to the weatherman: he was not just kidding around this morning. And we are not really used to such tornadic conditions down here in South Cackalacky—at least not this time of year. Now, we can get down with a hurricane, but tornados? Not so much.

The wind has really been whipping around out there today. Gusts of 40+ mile per hour winds. We proceeded to secure the trampoline this afternoon. I didn’t want a repeat of our last trampoline incident which occurred in Iowa back in April 2007.

In case you are not aware, Iowa City, our former home for 4 years, lies smack in the middle of what is called Tornado Alley. One April evening, I left my dear family at home while I ran up to our local Mom and Pop grocery store to pick up a few things. As I was shopping around inside, I began to hear rumblings from other customers (as well as rumblings of storming on the roof) about a tornado in the area. The next thing I knew, my groceries and I, and about 15 other people and their groceries, had been corralled up in the big walk-in chiller in the back of the store. (I grabbed a People magazine on the way back. I had no idea how long I would be there. I mean, a girl needs to be prepared!) I called my family to make sure they had gone to the neighbor’s basement, since we did not have one. They had. So all there was left to do was wait.  And make a friend! Winking smile 

And wait we did. I can’t really recall how long we waited but I think it was in the neighborhood of an hour. Meanwhile, a tornado had touched down in the parking lot of the grocery store.

When the grocery store staff decided it was safe for us to leave, I checked out and made my way home. As I pulled up in the driveway, I noticed that one of our trees in the front yard was down and uprooted. Fortunately, it had chosen to fall away from the house. I unloaded my groceries, called the family and they came home.

Some time later that evening I walked to the back of the house and looked out the sliding glass doors. As I went to walk away, I did a double-take. (Think cartoonish and you will be right.)

“Where is the TRAMPOLINE!!” I said out loud to no one.

It was dark by now and I could not see where the trampoline was—except to know that it was not where I had left it when I went to the store. You could imagine my surprise.

So I enlisted the help of the Hub and the kids and we wandered out in the back yard. There were some other neighbors out and about as well who also helped look. Crazy to think we had to look for a trampoline, right? One would think this would not be a difficult item to find.

Well, we found it.

Mangled and enmeshed in the backyard chain link fence of a neighbor several houses away.

I am not exaggerating. Sadly, we took no pictures, but trust me when I say that we had to extract it piece-meal from the fence of these folks. Thank God they had a fence. Otherwise our trampoline would have landed smack dab in the middle of their living room! Can you say “lawsuit??” YIKES.

Let’s just say that we have learned to err on the side of caution when it comes to tying down the tramp, mmkay? Thankfully, the kids indulged me and were very helpful, as the the Hub was not home yet. Though after it was all said and done, Emma did say, “Do you feel better now, Mom?”

Yes. Yes I do. Thankyaverramuch!

“There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that I have complete control.” ~Leo F. Buscaglia

*original photo credit: turtlegirl101

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