Observing Lent… “but I’m not Catholic”…

Sometimes Facebook is a bad influence.  Sometimes it’s a good one.  That’s a whole ‘nother story though.

Sometime between when I got on Facebook and now, I noticed friends who celebrated Lent.  I noticed friends who posted all sort of posts about Lent… what it meant, what they were giving up, scripture.   While I’m not Catholic, it’s been interesting to follow along and read various thoughts on the matter.

Generally speaking, yes, Lent is a Catholic observance.  Others have taken the opportunity to follow the tradition as well over the past several years as well though.  On occasion, I’ve taken the chance to give up something that I felt I needed to.  For me, it was more a “self will” test.  However, the tradition holds that whatever you’re giving up you are to replace with something that will bring you closer to God… i.e. that’s the “mission” of Lent.

I don’t think you’re a horrible Christian if you do or don’t do this.  Honestly, this isn’t something I think “makes” you a Christian but that’s also a ‘nother story.  I can support something that you’re doing to better yourself in some way or that brings you closer to God.  In that manner, sure, I can support Lent.  Again, not following it doesn’t make you a horrible person either.

Anthony and I have are also contemplating doing something other than this.  Giving.  We’re looking at donating to food pantries currently.  There are a lot of ways to dedicate this time and our resources to God.

In thinking on this (am I giving up something for Lent?), I decided that I should give up french fries and hash browns (all variations on that theme).  Why?  Well, they’re not all that beneficial nutrition wise anyways and really just add carbs to whatever the meal is anyways.  Mostly I think I’m choosing this as an exercise in being more aware of what I do.  While this is specifically with what I eat, I can think of plenty of times where I need to be more aware of what I’m doing.  This also expands into needing to be aware of what I’m doing health-wise.  (I also need to get back to exercising, but that’s another story.)

I’ve also been making a valiant effort at reading my Bible from Monday through Friday, which has been a 50-50 success.  I suppose this is my “replacing it with”?  YouVersion has a website and apps where you can find several reading plans or devotionals to follow.  YouVersion has several specifically for Lent that you could start today.  You can also just… well, read the Bible!  (I’ve taken to using the app on my phone during Bible class and services.)  I’m sure there are tons of other options, too.  (I may share a bunch in another blog soon!)

Windows 8 tips and tricks…

Okay, so I know several people have recently acquired Windows 8 through various means and are completely (or mostly) lost.  This is the part where I PRAISE our IT department here at Chattahoochee Tech for prepping us for both Windows 8 and Office 2013 well before it’s implemented!!  (It’s still “to come”, in case you were wondering.)

I bought a new laptop back in the Spring to use for school, what with the entire Master’s program I’m in being online and all.  I felt totally at home and have been loving it and how it has mimicked my Windows phone… which I also love!!!  🙂

So here are a few things you’ll want to know…

1.  Use your Windows Live or Hotmail account to log in and set the computer up.  You can link other email addresses to the Windows email tile later if that’s not your primary email account.  Whatever you use to set the computer up is going to be your account that allows or does not allow changes to be made to the system.  ***PARENTS NOTE THAT!!!!***

2.  Do NOT flip out at the new Start screen.  Yes, it’s tiles.  Yes, you will live and probably actually love it if you set this up right.  Look around at what’s already there, you should see some familiar tiles already there for you.  Specifically note the BOTTOM LEFT one… DESKTOP.  This takes you directly to your “old fashioned” desktop like you used to have.  I use this is I’m going straight to my flash drive to open a document and start working.

3.  Take your pointer and move it up to the upper left hand side.  You’ll see a charm bar appear… yes, the “thing” that pops up is called the charm bar.  On the left side, the charm bar shows what apps you have open.  On the right side, it gives you Settings and other options.

4.  If you open an app or window, you’ll want to close it.  Place the point in the middle of the top of the screen and a hand will appear.  Click and drag the hand down to close the app/ window.

5.  If you want to add apps/ tiles to your start, click on the Store tile in the start menu.  HINT: the Windows button on your keyboard takes you back there.  The Store is just like shopping on your phone for apps… there are free and pay apps.  HINT:  If you see a little number on the tile in Start, that means you have that many apps that need updating.  Just click and then look in the upper right for where to click through to be able to Install the new versions/ updates.  (That’ll be in the bottom once you do click through.)

6.  If you have an app but it’s not on your Start screen, just start typing it while you’re on your Start screen and options will appear.

7.  If I remember right, in order to pin a website to your Start screen, I think you just right click and it should be an option?

8.  Right clicking on a tile gives you options at the bottom for changing it.  I think it “floats” the tile, too?  This is how you can customize your Start screen, too.  Right click and change the size of a tile or drag it to a new spot or unpin it.

9.  To Shut Down/ Log Off/ Sign On as a different user, pull up the right charm bar and then click on the Settings button.  You’ll see the options down at the bottom.

I’ll add some more tips and tricks once I get back home to my laptop, too.  This should be a good start though!

just call me Sally Talley…

One of the biggest issues, really the “only”, I face with being a butterfly (a girl with TS, Turner’s Syndrome) is infertility.  Essentially, I’ve known since junior high/ high school that I wasn’t going to be able to have kids.  I don’t think it really sank in a whole lot in until much later exactly what that meant and that it meant it for me.

I grew up with the idea that I’d go to college, graduate at 22, be married at 24, and have kids by 30.  You know, like my parents and every other girl probably thought, too.

But that was before I was diagnosed.  And before I thought much about dating.  And before I thought much about marriage.

It was hard for me to say anything to anybody about having TS, much less discuss the fact that it meant I couldn’t have children of my own.  I don’t look any different than anybody else.  I mean, I’m short, but there are plenty of short people in the world anyways.  So I never tried to explain why I was short.  To be honest, it would have been difficult to explain and I was never very sure I knew myself all the whys.

I never really dated in high school or college, for a number of reasons.  But when I did start dating once I was older, I did make sure that I was honest with the guys I was talking to or in a relationship when it came to talking about children.  It was awkward and kind of hard, but I knew that if they couldn’t accept that about me, they were NOT the one for me anyways.

I started dating Anthony in October 2006 and we got married in January 2010.  He has been so good to me and so very understanding.  He was a fantastic nurse to me after my recent hysterectomy!

Why did I have a hysterectomy?  The short answer is that my HRT (hormone replacement therapy) had essentially caused my endometrial lining to thicken.  While nothing was current wrong from what she could tell, this made it easier for bad things to happen (cancer, cysts, polyps).  She gave me two options.  One was to have a DNC where they would essentially clean everything out and biopsy it just to check it out.  This did leave the possibility that it could thicken again later on since I would still be on an HRT.  So my other option was to have a hysterectomy.  Mine would be a complete one since my ovaries had never developed anyways.  This option just made sense, rather than wasting time and money just to end up with this one anyways.  Also, this was something I had always had in the back of my mind somewhere as an option that I would have to take at some point.

Not being able to have children with Anthony has hit me hard a time or two, but not since my surgery.  I suspect it will hit me again at some point.  And while that does hurt, I do know that adoption is an option in the future.  (Maybe even a better one?)  But I do focus on the blessings right now of not having children, of being able to “pick up and go” or “go and do”, of not having to either take them with us or arrange for their care in the meantime.  Life IS good just the two of us!

Oh!  Why Sally Talley?  I’m spoiling the plot a bit, but she’s a character I can relate to from the play Talley’s Folly.  Sally struggles with her own fertility and reluctance to admit that it’s what “plagues” her at times.  She does break down and admit it to Matt, her love interest and beau in this two-person show.  She’s just another reason I fell in love with theatre.

“that song”

So, Tim Smelser is one of those preachers who seems to have a knack for speaking on a topic that just really resonates with you.  Last night was no different.

(It’s not online yet… remind me and I’ll keep checking to post a link to listen.)

The general gist to start off with was songs that just really mean something to us.  He told how remembered one song meant a lot to his parents who were missionaries over seas.  It was one they sang after their Thanksgiving dinner where a number of American missionaries had gathered.  (Sorry, I don’t remember the details now.  I didn’t write it down!)

It automatically made me think of Amazing Grace.  This song will always hold a very special place in my heart.  We always sang the first and last verse of it and said a prayer before we started every show at the Dinner Theatre.  A few of us “theatre kids” sang it last November at Stephen Elrod’s funeral for this very reason.  I’ve now lost three other of my good theatre friends, only adding to how special this song is to me.

But Tim called our attention to the end of a verse that we probably kind of gloss over usually.

When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. – Mark 14:26

So there was at least one song that Jesus sang as His last.  One that his disciples probably never heard or sang again without remembering him.  That “one last song” probably meant a lot to Him, too.  So what was it?  Do we know?

Well, if you look at the traditions of Passover and the Psalms they sang, the last songs He/ they sang were probably Psalms 113 to 118.  (Click that link to read.) I’d especially encourage you to read Psalm 118.  It’s really kind of cool to think that that could have been the last song He heard and sang.  It ends with “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.”  It’s nice to know that He had some words of comfort and reminders of His Father’s love there at the end.

So, I’ll leave you to read and ponder that… and end with the words to Amazing Grace…

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost, but now I’m found.  Was blind, but now I see.  When we’ve been there, ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun.

“Hi, my name is Helen…”

And I’m a Type 2 diabetic.

Just like Paula Deen, evidently…

I was diagnosed about 6 or 8 years ago now.  I’m on medications and doing decently well, not as stellarly since I haven’t watched my diet and exercise as well.  But I’m no where near death or illness from what my doctor says… or doesn’t say!

My health problems (including diabetes and others) can probably be traced to a combination of genetics and lack of better habits.  The crux of the problem stems from the fact that I am 4’8″, which is specifically from my Turner’s Syndrome (TS).  (See my blog post “the girl who lived” under TS.)  Being so short makes is hard to lose weight and hard to maintain weight loss.  It also makes it easy to gain weight and to develop other problems that can come from that.

The diet I was instructed to follow, by an actual dietitian, is actually pretty easy and I caught on fairly fast.  (Now just to get back to sticking with it and throwing in some exercise?!!)  Her instructions to me were to only eat between 30 and 45 grams of carbs per meal and 15 and 20 per snack.  She even gave me a list of how some fruits and veggies count.  I even have a list from her of ones that DO NOT count!!  (They’re just so low, there’s no point trying to count them!)

The first key I picked up on is that it’s all about what you put together.  If you eat fries, don’t eat a bun or drink regular coke.  Well, don’t drink regular coke period.  I dropped all regular sodas like a hot cake after I heard how many carbs are in there!!  (I am NOT wasting my time/ carbs on that!)  I drink either diet sodas or water.  Sometimes I find tea sweetened with an artificial sweetener and I can go for that.

Let me give you a quick fill in on what the typical American consumes in one meal without even realizing.  (This is fast food, but I bet you do almost the same!)  The average person will go to a fast food restaurant and order a hamburger meal.  That bun is 33g of carbs.  The fries are 29g, and that’s a small order.  And don’t forget the drink at 66g  for only 20oz of regular Coke.  That’s 128g of carbs for one single meal.  Congrats… you just TRIPLED what you should have in one meal.

I highly recommend CalorieKing.com.  It’s SOO helpful if you’re trying to watch what you eat.  FYI, it also has information for restaurants, so be sure to check that out.  Another thing I’ve noticed, is that if you know you’re going to eat out,  many restaurants now have their nutrition information posted online.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment or question… I don’t mind at all and will try to find the answer for you!!

A Tale of Tattoos and More…

((Notice first::  click on the links for more info from other websites… IMDB.com and Amazon.com.))

 

A year or so ago, I really decided to get back into reading.  I have a lot of down time at work, so reading a book is easy enough to put down when I need to.  I started out with the Harry Potter and the Twilight series (more on those later).  Those two I got finished, so now I’m on the the Hunger Games and the Millennium series.  Both of these series have movie versions of the first books that have either come out or are about to come out.  I’ve read the first of both and am working on the second of the Hunger Games (Catching Fire).  But I actually have now seen The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in the theater now!

WARNING::  I’ll give you this warning BEFORE moving on to potential spoiler items.  THIS MOVIE IS GRAPHIC AND VIOLENT.  It’s rated R for a reason.  Now, if you want an idea of why and don’t mind of a bit of spoiler, continue reading.

 

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER 

In other words, don’t read any further if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book and don’t want me to spoil it by telling you something.

 

If you’ve read the book, you know what to expect (whether you realize it or not).  This movie does have both of Salander’s rapes by Advokat Bjurman and her revenge on him.  It’s a bit scarier to see these scenes playing out, but it wouldn’t be so bothersome to movie-goers if more of Salander’s past were revealed.  You still understand her anger at Bjurman without the back story on her.  There is also some nudity with the sex scenes between Salander and Blomkvist (pronounced “bloom-k-vist”).  The movie had been so graphic already, it didn’t seem as “gratuitous” as it could have otherwise.  I was very pleased to see a “familiar face” besides Daniel Craig, Goran Visnjic plays Salander’s boss, Armansky, who is one of the very few who actually seems to understand and find a way to work with and get along with the young girl.

The good news and bad news is that the ending is not the same as the book.  It’s much more simplified, so if changes from the book bother you, be aware!  Now, before you have too much of a fit, I really can approve of the change because of the way it makes the ending so much easier to follow and understand.  Finding Harriett is much simpler, as well as different.  First, Anita is not who is in London, it’s Harriet and Anita and her husband are dead already.  There’s no mention of Australia or any of that complexity.  (This also means they don’t go into the details about who’ll be running Vanger Industries and on Millennium’s board since Martin’s dead.)  Also, Salander only develops one single identity to pull off the bank moves rather than the two from the book that she uses.  (She does pay Blomkvist back after borrowing money from him though.)  I think if you’ve read the books and see the movie, you’ll agree that this ending makes it much easier for someone who hasn’t read the book to follow along.

Lunchbox Review… chicken nuggets!!

I eat lunch out pretty much every day.  I know, not the best health-wise.  I don’t have much of an option.

1.  I MUST leave work for one hour for lunch.  No eating at desk!

2.  We don’t really have anywhere for me to “go away” to eat that’s on campus and not outside.

3.  I’m not going home, because I always regret it and never want to leave the house again.

4.  It’s just simpler on me.

There are several places close enough for me to eat and be back on time.  A lot of my decision on where to eat at lunch is based on whether or not I have another errand.

Today I needed to go pick up my prescriptions, which is another story, but nixed my usual place when I have that errand, which is another story as well.  I decided to try out Chik-fil-A’s (CFA) new GRILLED chicken nuggets!

Am I wrong, or has anyone ever offered such a thing?  I don’t recall and am thoroughly disappointed now that we, as a society, have been deprived of such a thing!

I ordered the 8-count meal.  The $5.18, or about, was not a bad price and is about what you expect to pay at CFA.  I picked at the fries as I drove to get gas and finished up the meal back on campus.  The fries were good, as always.  But MAN… the nuggets were REALLY VERY good!  I was impressed at the flavor they had.  The juiciness was also just right, as well as the size of the bites.

I heard about them from a friend who’s daughter has Celiac disease and can’t eat gluten.  (The new kids meal with the grilled nuggets is actually gluten free!)  I liked the idea because it means no breading and no carbs.  It really just made for a perfect lunch for me today!