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My Week – In Pictures

Starting a new workout routine...

Eleven completed thus far...all are different in one way or another...

Shopping...what else?!

The cost and savings of the carload above...

My stockpile (this is not my pantry) is growing...

Nearing maturity...

Sunflowers are gorgeous at night!

Interview outfit...

Aubie...old but loyal

Pele and Molly are best buds...

Molly knows she has a great life...

The Beauty of Nature

A little bit of heaven here on earth.  Oh what a foretaste of what’s to come.  All glory to God!

Fielding Questions

I’ve often said how much I love the Living Waters ministry.

Ray Comfort goes out on the street and asks strangers very poignant questions about life, death, and eternity.  It’s always interesting to see how people react.

The guys in this video do something that I’ve had done to me…try to distact Ray with questions.

As you watch, listen for the questions you’ve either asked or had asked of you.

Observe how Ray answers them.  I love it!  This, my friends, is the Gospel…plain and simple.

I Feel Like a Sunflower

I feel a little like my sunflowers, which have been thriving this summer.

I am especially exited today.  You see, I have an interview tomorrow afternoon!

It is for a reading teaching position at the high school my children attend.

The last couple of years have been a time of nourishment and growth…getting fed through the classes I attended…being fertilized by the words of encouragement offered up by friends and family.

Just as my flowers are growing heavenward, so is my heart…reaching to God for strength through the dry summer while looking forward to a season of maturity.

Like my flowers, it’s almost time for me to bloom.

Very soon, I hope to emerge into a beautiful ray of sunshine…

I can only hope that I bring the kind of smile to a student’s face that this flower will soon bring to mine.

Mercy!

That’s what my legs have been crying since yesterday.

Meghan, hostess of the Stitch-It Podcast, started a Couch to 5k thread on Ravelry.  I’ve been perusing it, more out of curiosity than anything else.

Someone there posted that Podrunner has music that follows this Couch to 5k training program, a nine-week training regimen.

Interest piqued, I googled.  You can find the site here.  The Podrunner has mixes for 5k, 8k, and 10k training programs.

You can also find the Podrunner podcast on iTunes.

Now, don’t be thinking that I’m planning on running a 5k.  AuburnChick is not that coordinated.  I can hardly walk across a room without tripping.

What I like about training for a 5k is the fact that I’m building endurance and stamina, and I’m challenging myself in the process.

I downloaded all nine-weeks worth of music and loaded them on my phone, which serves as my mp3 player.

After dropping Rooster off at Band Camp, I headed out.

The first few minutes were fine.  Heck, I can walk with the best of them.  The music, I’ll admit, is not my favorite.  It’s some sort of electric mix.  Whatever, I figured.  I can tolerate it for 29 minutes.

I listened to the introduction and then walked to the five-minute warm-up.

And then…

The sound…

The sound that indicates it is now time to run…

Oh

My

Goodness.

You run for one minute and walk for a longer period of time.  And that’s how you get through your three miles.

The first few running phases were okay.

It grew old.

Very quickly.

I cannot tell you how much I dreaded THE SOUND.

“Oh crap,” was the only thing I said.

Imagine me…walking for three minutes, hearing that sound, and uttering those words.

Over, and over, and over.

The rare exception was when I told myself, “C’mon Nathalie.  You can do it.  It’s only 60 seconds.”  The music got a bit on my nerves.  I suspect it was about the time I almost puked in the street.  But no, I didn’t stop.

By the time I got back to the garage, my legs were spent.

When I walked into the house, Chicky took one look at me and asked just how out-of-shape I was…if walking did that to me.

She didn’t know I’d actually run part of the way.

I cooled down, did a bit of upper body work with weights, and rewarded myself with a shower.

That was Day 1.

Today I allowed myself a rest from the Podrunner plan.  You’re supposed to train for three days and rest in-between.

I still wanted to get in some cardio, so I pulled my bike off of the rack in the garage.

Poor bike.  I’ve had it for ten years or so.  The Mr. and I spent a pretty penny on our bikes, and we had fun when we lived in South Florida.  There are sidewalks everywhere, making it a safe place to ride with the family.

Since moving up to no-man’s land, we have hardly used them.

I decided that riding my bike would be a lot easier than walking, and it would be a nice change of pace.

Yeah, right.

I got halfway down my street before the burn started.

My quads screamed for mercy.

Prior to climbing on the bike, I had formed a grand plan of riding around the neighborhood twice.  It’s roughly 2.8 miles one time around.  How great would it be to say I rode 5.6 miles?!

My legs laughed at me as I huffed and puffed and pedaled my way around each cul-de-sac.  I took the long way, not wanting to give in to defeat.

When at last I arrived home, I almost couldn’t get off of the bike.

That’s how sore I was.

A couple of glasses of water later, I finished off my workout by going through the five leg exercises here.  I had to focus on the how-to’s, so I put the computer on the floor for one of the exercises…

My poor body.  Muscles that were existing happily in hibernation land have been awakened, and boy are they grumpy.

I, for one, am thrilled.  Once I manage to cool off after each workout, I have a high that you can’t get from many things (chocolate included).  I feel good knowing that I’m doing something…anything…for my body.

Things like music can be tweaked.  I found a site that has Christian Indie tracks set to the same 5k program.  You can find it here.  The exercises can be tweaked, both to keep things interesting and to dump what doesn’t work for my body.

Tomorrow, I’ll be heading out for the second day of 5k running.  If you see a crazed lady adorned in running attire muttering to herself, that will probably be me.

Have mercy…don’t honk.  Just pray.  😀

Favorite Deals of the Week

So, the shopping/saving is continuing.  There were a few deals that put a huge smile on my face this week.

Publix had Aussie products 2 for $5.  This is Chicky’s brand of choice these days, so I had to take advantage of the sale.

I had two $2/2 coupons from this week’s Red Plum inserts.  Before the sales price, those babies were $3.29 each.  After the coupons, I spent $6.60…on four bottles!!!  Without the sale and coupons, I would have paid that for only two bottles!!

My next favorite buy was today.  Walgreens has Scotch bubble mailers for $.39.  The paper this week had a $.50 coupon.  I bought two papers, so I have two coupons.  I bought three mailers, used my coupons and only paid $.27 after tax.  The neat thing?  The price was the same regardless of the size of the mailer!  I bought the biggest ones I could find.  I use them all the time to mail the oddball baby blankets, which will be getting started again in a month or so.

While I was at Walgreens, I picked up a free Mars candy item, courtesy of the coupon I received yesterday!  Remember how I’ve been posting the link for Free Chocolate on Fridays?  Well, it’s the real deal, as evidenced by the picture below.

My next favorite buy was at Walmart.  They have Breyers yogurt (the kind with fruit on the bottom) for $.50 each.  You can download $1/2 Breyers coupons here.  Remember to hit your browser’s back button and print a second coupon.  Folks…you get four free yogurt cups!

I don’t like the smell of yogurt…makes my skin crawl.  But Chicky likes it, and Walmart had a wonderful assortment.  I bought her two Strawberry Shortcake, one Strawberry, and one Orange and Creme.

I’ve learned a couple of things this week.

1.  Winn Dixie does not take competitor coupons.  I found this out the hard way after putting ten boxes of Pop Tarts in my buggy (it was B1G1) with the plan to use some TargetWeb coupons I had found.  I went through the self-scan line too!  Poor girl had to come and take off every one of them when I refused to pay even the sale price.  I knew I had a mfg coupon at home and wanted to wait to get them.

2.  Walmart does not take competitor coupons either.  I tried to buy the Pop Tarts there, but I was smart this time.  I only put one or two boxes in my buggy and went through the self-checkout.  The attendant had to come and void my purchase.  Ugh.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished the last couple of weeks.  I still have some of the cash I got out almost two weeks ago.  Things are going according to plan…cutting down the budget…one small bit at a time.

I Have a Confession

I have a confession to make.

Since taking up knitting in May 2006, I’ve become a bit of a couch potato (and no, that’s not a picture of me).

Knitting and TV just seem like the perfect match.

So do Facebook, internet couponing, and Ravelry.  It’s enough to make a girl never want to get off her duff!

I suspect that the lack of exercise has contributed to the muffin top I recently discovered.

So have the Mt. Dews and chocolate bars…especially when eaten late, late, late at night.

First off…what are muffin tops, you may be wondering.

Well, I heard this term during an exercise segment on a morning show a couple of weeks ago.  You know the area right above your hips…right above your pants line?  Well, excessive fat that starts to hang over resembles a muffin top.  When the exercise guru described it, my eyes widened.  I never knew there was a name for it!

And no, that’s not a picture of me, thank you very much.  I keep my muffin top hidden.

Ugh.

Now, I really cannot complain too much about my body.  I have been blessed with great genes as far as bodies and fat go.

My irl friends would probably say that I don’t look overweight.  And truth be told, I don’t think I am.  I have no idea what I weigh because I don’t get on scales very often.  I have never wanted to get hung up on numbers.  My mom was a scale monster, and I grew up watching her diet when she truly didn’t need to.

But I know my body, and I know it’s not as healthy as it could be.  I also know that there is flab around my middle that didn’t used to be there.

It’s my own fault.

And I’ve decided to do something about it.

My friend, Rabbitrescuer, and I talked at length about this the other day.  She recently came to the conclusion that it’s time for her to get fit as well.

So, we made a pact.  As soon as she gets home from the Shriner’s Hospital, where her son recently underwent routine surgery to release some of his skin grafts (he was burned severely last summer), she’s giving up her Pepsi and embarking on an exercise routine.

She’s already begun by taking the stairs at the hospital and selecting healthy meals.

I am going to come up with an exercise routine.  When the kids were in elementary school, I worked out at a gym four or five days a week.  Boy was I in great shape then.  So, I’m familiar with all kinds of exercises.  And, what I don’t know, I’ll google.  YouTube has videos for everything, you know.

I think I’m going to like being accountable to someone else.  We’ll be there to support each other.  If we don’t feel like getting off the couch one day, we’ll be the voice of reason.

You know I’ll be blogging about this newest adventure.  If you want to join, please do.

I think what I’ll do is post a workout schedule for each week.  Feel free to follow along or modify it to your needs.

One thing that Rabbit has told me is that she can’t do traditional crunches, so I’m going to see what we can do.  I’m thinking reverse crunches that don’t involve lifting the upper body.  We might even use an exercise ball.

We’ll also be doing upper and body workouts.  I miss my days at the gym.  I used to have a schedule…legs, butt, and back one day, shoulders and biceps another.  Triceps were worked somewhere in there, and ab work was a must every day.

Cardio will be a big part of our workouts.  I’m a firm believer in warming up your body.  If nothing else, we want healthy hearts and low cholesterol.

This will probably be my biggest challenge as I cannot stand the thought of carving that time out of my day.

Once again, this is where being accountable to someone else plays in.

Ok…I’m off to shower.  I finished up my first “official” day of working out.  I smell bad, but I feel so good.  More to come later!

In His Steps

This past week, I finished reading In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon.

It’s a fairly old book but has a timeless theme.

If you’ve never read it before, I highly recommend that you do.

We all seen the WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets.  I think this phrase can be traced back to this book.

Simply put, the book is about a group of Christians who make a one-year pledge to ask themselves, “What would Jesus do?” in every situation in their lives.  The book traces how the community outside of the church is affected by this pledge, and how the movement spreads to another city.

The message of this book isn’t so simple though.  Parishioners go beyond the surface and experience a change that cuts to the core.  Most of them make changes in their lives that cost them dearly, and they often paid the price…financially and socially.

The message at church this morning was from 1 Peter 4:1-6:

Living for God

1Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. 4They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you. 5But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

My pastor spoke about how Christians often experience persecution because of changes they make in their lives.

Don’t you just love when you’re hit on several different fronts with the same message.  Whoever said that God doesn’t speak to us today sure doesn’t know my God (the ONLY God).

I see two common themes here – choice and suffering.

In both cases…the book and the sermon from this morning…people have to make choices.  Who do we serve?  How much of ourselves do we give?  Do we just pay lip service, as some from the book did, or do we serve God past the point of being comfortable?

I am guilty of giving just so much and no more.  If it’s out of my comfort zone, then I stop.  The rare case was the weekend I served as table hostess during my church’s women’s retreat.

I wonder how different my life would be if I asked the question of “What would Jesus do?” before I embarked on something.

Truth be told, I think I’m scared of what I would be asked to do.

How much of my time would I be asked to give?  Would I have to stop knitting socks for myself?

What about my money, which is being deposited in small increments right now?  How much will I be asked to give if I truly ask the question.

It can be difficult to ask the question, act on what God speaks to your heart, and then answer to society about it.

Remember how I walked out of the movie a few weeks ago?

I know that people might have thought it was extreme.  I mean, kids hear that kind of language at school all the time.  Sex is everywhere…in magazines, on TV…

And yet, if I want to walk in Jesus’ steps, I will have to make these kinds of choices…daily.  Any suffering I might endure is temporary, as my pastor pointed out today.  He told us to imagine eternity as a line stretched to the farthest reaches of the universe.  Then, image one small black dot along that line.  That dot is one life…our’s.  The suffering in our lives would be represented by a fraction of that dot.

It’s finite and one very itsy bitsy piece of the overall picture.

What a small price to pay for salvation that will last an eternity.

The message of this book will stay in my heart.  I know I won’t act in accordance to what I know Jesus would do in every situation.  I know that the best I will probably do is a minute fraction of what He would do.

But I know that every step that I follow will be one more in the right direction.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

First, a definition of the phrase, courtesy of YourDictionary.com:

This expression alludes to the medieval practice of a knight throwing down his gauntlet, or metal glove, as a challenge to combat. Its figurative use dates from the second half of the 1700s, as does the less frequently heard take up the gauntlet, for accepting a challenge.

Now, I’m not exactly challenging you to do battle.  Not in a negative sense, that is.

Think red…green…Christmas colors…

These are the five stockings I’ve finished thus far ever since reading about a special project on Dustina’s blog.

You might remember that last year, I knit up a bunch of mini stockings that were part of a larger effort for the troops.

Dustina worked on that project as well and decided to adopt it as her own grass-roots effort for local children who will not get much for Christmas.

I think that this will be a tough holiday season for a lot of people.

Maybe you’ve never made a pair of socks, and the thought scares you to death.

Let me encourage you by saying that this small stocking pattern is PERFECT for you!  By using worsted weight yarn, the project flies right off of your needles.  The instructions are very easy to understand.  She wrote them for two magic loop/two circulars and double-pointed needles.

I am using leftover yarn from last year’s stocking project.  This project requires very little, so if you only have one skein, you can probably crank out three or four easy.  Probably more.

Now…the challenge.

Would you be willing to knit ten of them?  If ten of my readers (do I have this many readers, by the way?) were to knit ten, then that’s 100 stockings!  I have a goal for myself, which I don’t want to share because I’ll feel badly if I don’t meet it.  It’s more than ten though.  So, added to my amount, we can put a dent in her goal of getting 1,000 made.

Please, visit her blog and read more about it.  She will accept fabric stockings as well, so if you’re handy with a sewing machine or needle and thread, this might be just your thing.

HD Rocks

The cable guy visited my house today to upgrade my service which, thanks to a great promotion, will cost me the same as what I am currently paying each month.

Last summer, I had returned my DVR and HD box to cut down costs. We’ve really missed recording our shows.  We also missed our soccer channels.

Well, they’re back, and everyone in the family is happy.

We’re currently watching AC Milan and Chelsea play a soccer match.

Pele thinks the new HD service rocks!

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