Friday, March 14, 2014

Healthy Go: I’ve Got Movement!


Well, I do.

For those who missed the information, about a week or two ago, I worked out my legs and paid for it in tears. No permanent injury was done. What I think happened was that my weak leg has compromised my balance, which already wasn’t that great to begin with, so my legs went into a kind of shock when I did lunges for the first time in many, many years. I was in pain for many days after. I’m still working on regaining stamina, strength, and balance.

I also learned just how weak my lower back and buttock muscles have gotten! I had recently read something about how important those muscles are (of course they are) but one doesn’t realize it until one doesn’t have those muscles to rely on for a bit.

One picks it back up and carries on with what one can do.

Today, I did some mid-section work, things I could do on the ground. I did 3 sets of 12 reps each, leg raises, side chops (whatever it’s called, but on the ground) +10#, and side leg raises.

Not much, but my heart rate got up. I did try to do a plank but could only manage about 10 seconds; it’s gonna take a little more to get back on the toes well.

The cats watched me to make sure I didn’t hurt myself more.












I’ve been eating about 50/50 healthy and unhealthy, so I ought to get back to cleaning the diet part again. I’ve been wanting cinnamon rolls, oh man, but I’ve resisted so far. What I really need to do is drink more water!












I’ve made my first attempt in cooking asparagus. It turned out okay. It’s shredded parmesan on top which I didn’t melt enough; I remembered late that Mom wanted me to use up the parmesan because she had gotten the wrong one for her recipe. And then I had a frozen chicken dilemma, so I switched to salmon at the last minute, which meant that I ate the asparagus and (honey ginger) salmon separately. Such is my life.

I’m no Chef Ramsay, but I feed myself. *Wink*

Yup. So that’s where I am.

Dad jokingly referred to me as “Chubby” to Mom. It’s okay, what do I do about it? I exercised. :D (He didn’t mean it literally, okay?!)




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Re-Churching: Tension

Hi,

I think life, or maybe my life in particular, is a life of Tension. My thing about comfort in discomfort is under this idea of tension, for example. Comfort disturbs me a little; I am more comfortable in discomfort, for the most part.

While I go through this… maturing of spirit, of my relationship with Jesus, I’m having to… give up… things of this world. Growing in faith has been wonderful each time it happens, too wonderful for me to express.

Yet on the other side are all the things I used to do, all the things I used to be. On the other side are all the people who won’t understand what is happening with me and won’t be okay with this change in me.

It’s scary. I’m not… entirely comfortable with this particular discomfort. I haven’t been through this before, having to give up something.... I don’t know what’s coming, or what/ who will be left behind of their own choices. I have no control over any of it.

Matthew 16: 24- 25 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

The interesting thing is that as one denies one’s self, to become more Christ-like, one becomes more one’s self than before. “Denying” myself doesn’t mean that I am “emptied” of who I am. I am still me, but I am finding that I am a better me than I was before. I am more myself around others, I think. Denying myself, I put Christ at the core of my life, so that His ways start becoming my ways as I follow Him.

I still get to be Jennifer.

And more so, because whatever I have learned, whatever I have gone through, positive and negative, God is able to use in order to reach or encourage others. My limited human vocabulary and understanding says “God is able” in this context to mean that I open myself up to being used for His purposes. This is what I have recognized in other Christians in my life as well. I may have to flesh this out a little more and right another post (puts it on the tribble Write List).

The thing I wanted to say was… I think I may have lost something I came to really want. I think I may have lost it forever, or at least for this life on earth. I feel… helpless about it. I should have said this. I should have done that. I should have taken that opportunity to… what? To do what? Nothing seems to work. Nothing I do has an impact, nothing is getting me closer. I have nothing left for this.

Have you ever felt that way? Do you know what I’m talking about?

Still, I shall trust in the Lord and I have hope.

Romans 5: 3-5
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Psalms 31: 24
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.



I lived a lot of my life not wanting much, I mean truly, deeply wanting. It’s like the first part of my life, I didn’t know what it was to want and I didn’t know what I ought to want. When my needs are met, anything else is just extra blessing and I wanted for… not much, apparently.

The next part of life, I didn’t want because I didn’t care about me. What I had known to be true for my life got rocked negatively and I wandered. Thank God, I didn’t spiral out of control as much as I could have; people who know me in person probably think I was just… normal, maybe just a lot more serious and less humored.

It’s taken me quite a while to regain myself. I’m regaining myself through my faith, as I deny myself. Strange, right?

I don’t know. I don’t know a lot of things! Maybe God’s saying “no,” or maybe he’s saying “not now.”

I simply say like Job, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” [Job 42: 1-6] http://bible.com/114/job.42.1-6.nkjv I await the day that the Lord restores the losses. [Job 42: 10] http://bible.com/114/job.42.10.nkjv I don’t and can’t say in what manners, in what ways, or when. I just know that He ultimately will, and I am glad.

Still, I do mourn the losses. It may be some time for me….

At the same time, I shall carry on.
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Aren't you glad I still get to be me?
Being a Christian, in my opinion, isn’t about deluding myself for a sense of comfort or a crutch. It’s brought me a lot of tension over the years, especially in times when I moved closer to God. It’s easy and it’s difficult. It’s joyful while sorrowful. It’s been solitary in community (for me). It is comfort in the discomfort, because it tells me something is happening. I’ve found strength in weakness, growth through darkness.

I might be crazy. I just might be. It’s okay if you think that.

Not all Christian journeys are like mine. My testimony is fairly tame and slow-going; these Re-Churching posts are a part of it. I’m going to share what I can in the way that I can.

So thank you for visiting, and may you be blessed.




Monday, March 10, 2014

Re-Churching Updates for March 2014


It has been a ridiculous year so far - but then again, I am The Embodiment of Ridiculosity. It’s been good, bad, surprising, frustrating, uncontrollable, and absolutely ridiculous. I have been beaten up by life - physically, spiritually, mentally, relationally (or… emotionally?), and whatever else I am forgetting.

And I am okay.

I’m feeling strong. It’s not me though; it is God sustaining me, as He has promised. I have an amazingly supportive family. I have a few great friends who enjoy my presence and give back even more. I have a roof over my head and food to eat. I have cats to annoy.

What more could I ask for?

Well….
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Lent

I am not doing Lent this year.

Last year was my first attempt at Lent. I gave up Facebook. I know that sounds lame, yet I think I needed to let it go at that time. I think I needed Lent last year. I was hurting. I couldn’t think well. The pain wasn’t from Facebook itself; Facebook was a part of the memories that were hurting. I needed to lay those memories down.

I thought about Lent this year. It’s not that I am “good” with God, so I decided not to do Lent; it just happened that … I missed starting. It’s going to be okay. Lent can be useful in one’s Christian journey but it is not a necessity to be a “good Christian.”

I am still intrigued by Lent. I found this an interesting video by Biola University, “An Introduction to Lent” [Video].

If you’re going through Lent, I am praying for you. I hope that it enriches your relationship with God.
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Re-Churching

I missed a Sunday due to illness. I went the following Sunday and took Communion. I enjoy Communion.

It’s still a little uncomfortable for me at times, but it is still okay. I’m moving through the discomfort, which is strange because it tends to be where I am comfortable, and this discomfort now is comfortable to me. I know, I said that I am ridiculous. I just don’t place a high value or even think in terms of comfort and ease so much. I can talk about comfort but I don’t tend to make decisions based on comfort. This is probably better for another post though.

Anyways, I’m having to navigate… what I’m to do for now. I’m not going to be serving any certain ministries for now, unless I’m moved to one, but I myself am not seeking it at this time. This isn’t to say that I’m unwilling to serve, but that I won’t be serving in a specific capacity.

I admit also that I am… wary of… finding a… peer group again. Or even just one friend. I didn’t really want to do it last time but I did it… and I don’t…. This is a recurring issue with me, about making “friends.” Sigh. It’s a little bit others and a lot bit me. I just have to fully trust that God will provide or at least sustain me until Rachel and I are together at church or… I don’t even know. My great friends have always been surprises, wonderful surprises, so. Sigh.

I will have missed another Sunday of church by the time this is posted though. I remain determined to keep going back.
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Working Out with the Weightlifting Ministry

The other Monday, I worked out with the guys and gals in the Weightlifting Ministry, stewarded by my friend Genesis. The guys call Genesis “Gen” and it confuses my ears - I don’t think I will get used to that, having been the only “Jenn” for awhile and now it’s contending with a male. I just have to remember that no one ever talks to me and problem solved. I have to say that from the time I met Genesis to watching him serve in church now, it is wonderful to witness.

I did what Krystle did for the most part, only without weight for most of it. High knees, calf raises, lunges, squats, leg curls (20#), and leg extensions (15#), 10 reps each for 4 sets each.

I was hurting the rest of the week. The exercises were fine and I should have been able to do them well enough, but my balance has been compromised for a long time now. Few years ago, I had what my doctor could only guess was nerve damage to one leg. I have been babying that leg in any single-leg exercise that required a lot of balance. I think the lunges shocked my legs; I couldn’t get my balance in the lunges.

Tuesday was the roughest day with the legs recovering. I cried because it hurt so much and I had a few moments of frustration. A couple other things with my body didn’t help the situation. The weather has been cold which didn’t help either. It was the most un-ideal conditions I could think of for the situation I was in.

However, I think the shock has actually been a blessing. It kept me from moments of temptation. My legs are recovering well and seem to be getting stronger than before. My upper body got a workout, with trying to move myself around. This too has humbled me. I spent a lot of time talking with God. So it has been rough and yet it has been good.

I’m walking okay. I am still working on regaining strength, stamina and balance but my legs are both fine.

A month ago, I wouldn’t have been able to workout there. Certain relationships had remained strained, for me. Nothing has really changed from a month ago to working out on Monday, between me and the strained relationships, except my relationship with God. Constantly focusing on Him, remembering how broken I am, and a refreshed faith has helped me move towards… better. There may come a time to directly aim to heal those relationships, but for now it’s okay that it is where it is.

One last thing about the leg fatigue. I think there is something interesting in that I had recently experienced a boost in healing in my spiritual condition, and then about two weeks after, experience this physical condition which echoed the spiritual experience in certain ways. It may take a little more time to reflect on this for me to explain this in more detail.
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I know, I didn’t do a great PR job for the Weightlifting Ministry, but I am The Ridiculosity. So, the real PR is that this is a great group of guys and ladies who have been themselves working out for a while now. They care about training well (my experience is NOT the rule) and they care about people, about establishing relationships (general term).

You will have to sign your life away, but the church recently did a gym renovation, including a weight room expansion. The renovations and expansion look good. So, that’s something. (I kid about signing your life away, mostly).

So if you’re local, looking for a basic and free place to workout, looking to make new friends, looking to connect with a church, any and all of these things, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the ministry. Or, if you already know me or know the place, just go check it out for yourself.

All are welcome!
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Readings and Devotionals

So far, I have kept up with the daily Bible reading. The reading plan is a 6 month one, and I am into I Chronicles and Acts. It is going well.

I started the year with the devotional book Jesus Calling. I have since come across some concerns about the book and writer, some concerns which have illuminated some concerns of my own that I was having while reading the book. I may write about that later.

In mid-February, I decided to switch the devotional book to an oldie but a goodie, Experiencing God Day-By-Day by Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. I have gone through it unsuccessfully in previous attempts, but so far this time, so good. It is a good one - I just wasn’t so disciplined before.

I missed one day of devotionals so far, but I went back to read it. I have missed the past few days of journaling it though, due to the pains in the legs ridiculosity episode! If it wasn’t in my reach, I gave up. I’m getting back to it.

I am also re-reading R.T. Kendall’s Total Forgiveness. It is a part of The Plan. After this, I plan on re-reading, and thoroughly this time, Ken Sande’s The Peacemaker. Then later, John Bevere’s The Bait of Satan, and maybe Ed Galisewski’s A Simpler Faith, though the last one is not so necessary to The Plan but is a good refresher book to read. I think these are the books I need to be reading at this time of Re-Churching.

I do have to keep moving with The Plan, but if you have a book or sermon or YouTube video suggestion having to do with forgiveness, reconciliation, healed relationships that were once broken, let me know in the comments below.
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So, things are moving along. I’m uncomfortable, but that is usually a good sign. Obedience is still difficult for me but it gets easier each time and trusting God knows what I need and will provide is the best comfort I could receive.


And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.



If you’ve been hurt by the church or a Christian, if you’ve been hurt or offended by me, whether you are a believer or not, I am sorry. It happens but it doesn’t make it right and I apologize. We Christians are meant to be broken healers and point others to Jesus, and I forget about that sometimes or I just don’t know how to do it well.

And you know I’ve been where you are, because I’ve been hurt by Christians and this whole Re-Churching thing has been a journey of me trying to find my way through that conflict and hurt. I know this isn’t how the Christian life is supposed to be, that I am not in the fullness of Joy that I am to experience, yet that is what I search for, one of the things, as I seek to follow Jesus.

None of this that I am going through in Re-Churching is easy. The easy part comes after trusting God and stepping out in that trust, for Jesus has said:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
And then one keeps following Jesus. Step after step. I began to see areas in my life where God was present and I hadn’t realized then. Or I would see God’s sovereignty and the protection and freedom that comes from understanding that He is sovereign. How many of us are not tired, feeling burdened? His burden is light.

I think I’m rambling now. What I would hope is that sharing my experiences will encourage you or perhaps make you curious about this Christian God Whom I trust and follow so much, how imperfectly yet faithfully and still maturing. I’m in process.

Jesus welcomes all.

May you be blessed.





Saturday, March 8, 2014

Love Languages, Intense

Huggy Love Bear


One may take the Love Languages test here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/


I was reminded recently that I have been meaning to write up about my love languages. I read the book years ago, and then a friend read the book and we casually discussed it here: [Who I Am: Is Your Heart On Your Sleeve?]


On further consideration, and taking the online test, these were my results, and I think they are more correct:


12 Quality Time
7 Physical Touch
5 Acts of Service
3 Words of Affirmation
3 Receiving Gifts


Writing as a single, I connect these through several types of relationships: family, friends, etc. Whatever works.


Quality Time

From the site: Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. A central aspect of quality time is togetherness.


Quality Time takes precedence over the other four; the other four may be enhanced after quality time has occurred. I enjoy one-on-one time together, or having up to about 4 of us friends together.


Sometimes I wonder if some of the markers simply come out of what I consider to be out of respect for the other. Generally, I won’t pay any attention to my phone when I am with someone else (unless I was expecting a call but I will usually say so beforehand), I won’t play solo games on my phone, I won’t listen to the iPod by myself, etc. If I am with someone, I am with someone. Having those things done to me feels disrespectful of my time and presence. Too much of that, I will not want to spend any time with that person, because what would be the point?


This isn’t to say that I am so amazing that someone should want my time and attention, but that if one does want it, then I expect them to respect it. After all, I am respecting their time and attention.


Having someone pay attention to me tends to catch my notice; I otherwise tend to think that I go unnoticed. I remember sitting at a bench with friends on campus years ago when one of them repeated something I had said a week earlier. I remember sitting in a group, each of us answering certain questions; when my turn came up, someone across the circle from me had his eyes on me the whole time, taking in my words - it was like we were the only two persons in the room. I know that he had paid attention because later on, he asked me a question pointing directly to something I had said. In moments like these, I feel valued.


I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that I need the other person’s undivided attention each time; I think it sometimes depends on the setting. Back to the phone thing, impulsively answering your phone every time it rings or you get a text doesn’t bother me so much if our hangout was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing or if I have had enough QT with you recently; I will take being in the same room together as QT. Out to dinner or at a sporting event together and you’re on your phone, I will be annoyed.


Also, I am more comfortable doing activities together rather than just talking, in which case the attention doesn’t necessarily need to be on me but on the fact that we’re doing something together instead. Playing video games together is QT to me even though you’re not paying attention directly to me. As the site says, “A husband and wife playing tennis together, if it is genuine quality time, will focus not on the game, but on the fact that they are spending time together.” [Previous link]. If we’re both working on our own things but we’re in the room together, that could count, in my opinion, but hopefully it won’t be the main expression of QT.


However, if we’re rock-climbing, and your attention is all on what you can do and how fast, not seeing anything I’m doing, or you keep looking at that hot chick over there, the quality of the time will be in the red.


Basically, I feel valued when I can tell that the other person wants to spend time with me.



Physical Touch

From the site: Sexual intercourse is only one of the dialects of this love language. Holding hands, kissing, embracing, back rubs, or an arm around the shoulder are all ways of expressing love by physical touch.


Before understanding anything deeper about the 5LLs, I would never have said PT was one of my more important ones. I don’t like being touched in general, but in context, I do enjoy it very much. Being touched is scary; being touched by a special person is wonderful.


One thing I have noticed about hanging out with my friend Rachel is that she likes to be close to me, especially if it’s just the two of us. She will walk right next to me so that we bump along the way. She will wrap her arms around mine. A frequent joke between us involves how unhairy my legs are, and she has to touch my leg every time it comes up. And I enjoy it. Well, the leg-touching thing is weird but it’s our weird joke.


Most anyone else doing this to me will be going away with a black eye or something broken.


I’ve only had two short dating relationships. I did enjoy the kissing, but something I missed about Chris was that when we were walking together, he would take my hand and put it on his arm, like he was proud to have me on his arm kind of thing. I was surprised that I liked being on his arm.


When I was dating Riki, I hadn’t had my driver’s license for long, and I didn’t like driving (still don’t). We got caught in a heavy downpour while I was driving us home; it made me a bit anxious to be driving in it. He put a reassuring hand on my knee which did calm me a bit… as I gripped the steering wheel with both hands for our lives!


Again, this is all in context. I don’t enjoy the hug-before-we-part thing or kiss-on-the-cheek thing at all unless it’s with one of my special persons. I will stand there like a comfortably cold fish while everyone else does their thing and will be an uncomfortably cold fish when someone does this to me.


Physical Touch is another reminder to me that hey, you’re with me.



Acts of Service
From the site: Doing something for your spouse that you know they would like for you to do. Cooking a meal, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, … etc. For them, actions truly speak louder than words.


Actions do speak louder than words for me, but in the realm of love, it doesn’t factor in so much. I suppose I see most things as something I can do for myself, so for someone else to know what I would like them to do will be understandably difficult. It could be a guessing game for awhile. And, I may or may not recognize it as someone showing me their care.


I recognize AS easily in my parents though. I think it’s probably my dad’s way of showing and sometimes accepting love; he does a lot for us without us asking. It’s not so frequent with my mom, but she does help me with things from time to time, things that will surprise me. I don’t think it’s her main love language, but she does use it and I do see it. I was stressed out, coming up on finals, trying to build a model for my project once and I remember Mom staying up late with me working on it, and then she drove me to school the next day because she knew I hadn’t slept at all.


I can miss the connection though. One of the things Chris [former boyfriend] brought up was how I wouldn’t do the dishes and he would always take out the trash. I never knew that he would want me to do the dishes or that he was taking out the trash for my sake; for one, we weren’t living together, so I didn’t make the connection (such a bad girlfriend). I usually washed the dishes I had used, which I was raised to do, unless someone stopped me or insisted that they would do it. We hadn’t talked about it. If I had known, I would’ve taken out the trash or done the dishes without having to be asked each time. (I have a thing about dishes - they’re never clean enough to me, so it’s not the first thing I would think of doing for others because I will be at the sink all night if they left me to it).


I did recognize other things that Chris would do, like cooking or taking me to/ picking me up from the airport when I had gone on a trip. He didn’t need to take me to the airport, for my sake, but it seemed he wanted to do the “good boyfriend” deeds, and I let him.


I look to a person’s actions to determine their character, but I don’t always make the connection that they’re doing something out of love for me, because oftentimes, I will do an act out of respect rather than out of love.



Words of Affirmation/ Receiving Gifts
I think it’s rather fitting that these received the same low score for me. As said before, I look to actions over words; people say a lot of pretty things that end up not meaning anything at all. I’ve experienced people’s betrayal of their own words enough times to not put a high value on what people say, and I try to have my actions match my words or demonstrate my words for me as well.  


I really enjoy giving gifts as an expression of “I thought of you,” but receiving gifts myself is… awkward. I’ll be thinking, “What do they want from me? How do they want me to respond? Should I be all excited even if I don’t like the gift? What do I say? If I like the gift a lot, how do I show it?” and so on… to where I end up not reacting either way. I feel pressure when I receive a gift.


I just don’t know what to do with words and gifts in general.


A moment when a gift meant incredible love to me was when I received my Huggy Love Bear. My friend Jules stopped by the house one day after work and dropped it off. It was unexpected. It reminds me of a quote I heard from the movie Finding Forrester: “The key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.” One of my favorite gifts of all time and I’m not sure I can explain why. Being from Jules is definitely a major factor (she’s one of my great friends), but lovey stuff tends to be odd to me and I tend to like gifts of a more practical nature.


Here is a previous post about a few times when receiving gifts did and did not go well with me: [Who I Am: A Rose By Another Name]


One time when Words of Affirmation hit me deeply happened during Bro’s Eagle Ceremony. Mrs. Ann was talking about the support of Bro’s family all these years, and I thought it would be all about Mom and Dad, surely. I think I was even outside while listening to the ceremony. Then my ears perked up; Mrs. Ann mentioned me. She thanked me for all those nights of good behavior, quietly entertaining myself while Mom and Dad were attending to Bro.


Wow. I mean, I didn’t think anyone would notice something like that, let alone mention it in front of a room full of people. It seemed like a little thing, you know? What else would I have done? Yet someone noticed and someone appreciated it.
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Summary: Quality Time is my main Love Language. Physical Touch and Acts of Service are second tier and best used in the context of QT - if I do not want QT with you, DO NOT TOUCH ME (I suppose you could still do acts for me though, hahaha). Words of Affirmation and Receiving Gifts are last, as I don’t know how to process affection from them.


Even though QT is my main “Love” Language, that doesn’t mean that one might woo me through QT. From what I gather, people have tried. I think this might relate more to an MBTI of an INTP, which I am most likely to be. Guess what? Yes, it’s on the tribble list of possible future posts! It’s like the Thought Pile!


  • What is your love language(s)?