Friday, December 25, 2009

Update Your Reader!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holidays on Ice

Merry Christmas Eve, my friends.

Just wanted to stop in quickly to say hello, and tell you that all those posts I promised are well on there way.

A quick synopsis of my lovely day:

I went on a good 35 minute interval workout in the parents (and kels') neighborhood today (only got slightly lost) - followed by an hour of balance work, gift wrapping, and a delicious sushi lunch with the siblings. (well, sister and I had sushi- my brother voted for a pepperoni pizza lunchable.) Followed up by a little rock band and now watching "Holidays on Ice" on the Hallmark channel- hosted by REO Speedwagon. Doesn't get much better than that. With a glass of wine and a fire in the fireplace, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Especially if you factor in that we are getting A LOT of snow at the moment. Apparently I brought it with me from New York. (and to think I was hoping for 75 degrees and sunny all weekend!)

We are just about to sit down to a very yummy turkey dinner with all the fixings (and my 2nd glass of red, of course!) and although my "christmas eve to do list" is getting fuller by the minute- you can rest assured that spending time updating THS is high on the priority list :)

So, in order to not be a complete tease-blogger, I will give you a little "something" to hold you over- a sneak peek of a little bit of what is to come:

I know you are just sitting on the edge of your seat, right? Don't fret my friends- as the Govenator would say, "I'll be back!" ;)
(perhaps wine has already started the tipsy blogging? Drogging to come? aren't you lucky!!)
What are you up to this wonderful Christmas eve??

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

4:23 AM

Dear Albany International Airport Starbucks,

Please tell me that you open at 4:30 AM. I need a container of 'perfect oatmeal' and an awake tea latte. Stat. And if you do open at 5 AM, please excuse my haziness while I approach.

Faithful Patron

Dear Blackberry,

Thank you for getting your act together this morning on our drive to the airport. I was REALLY starting to freak out about your lack of internet connection last night and this morning. I can't imagine a day of 8 hours of travel without twitter. I'm guessing you just needed a nap or something. I hope you are well rested, because I have a feeling you may be composing some blogs throughout the day- isn't that exciting?

xoxo - H

Dear Division Manager at my office,

Thanks for teaching me about the park and fly hidden past Airport Rd. I am looking forward to my car being snow-free and heated for me when I arrive at Midnight-Thirty Monday morning. Best. Idea. Ever.

Your favorite office cookie all star

Dear alleged sleep "issue"-

I'm getting really sick of all the waking up in the middle of (and beginning of and end of) the night.
Contrary to your supposed belief, when I went to bed at 7:00 last night, I was hoping to sleep until 2:40 AM. Was waking up at 7:30, 7:47, 8:19, 10:47, 12:03, and finally, 1:12 really necessary? You may have thought you won as I did get out of bed at 1:17 to start my day over an hour earlier than the already ridiculously early scheduled time- but don't get too excited. I will conquer you and all the falseness that you think you are soon.

Be afraid. Be v. afraid,

Dear man that just asked the barista when they open,

Thank you. I now have 17 minutes until heaven.

And you look nice in a sweater.

I'm just saying,
Girl smiling at you in corner

Dear ubertwitter,

Thank you for the function "everyone near you.". My goal is now find someone else in airport tweeting before 5:00 AM.

Forever fan,

Dear family -
I get to see you super soon! HOORAY!!!
xoxoxoxoxox- heath

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Even better- my celebrity woman crush, Mary Louise Parker on Chelsea Lately. Hip Hip Hooray!!!
Admission: waking up before 2AM is made a lot better when Keeping Up with the Kardashians is on. (Guilty as charged)
Without bb internet you can look forward to a billion posts by text today. Aren't you lucky. (I miss twitter)
My blackberry internet has been down since 5:30 PM tuesday. This should make for a v. interesting day of travel.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top Ten Tuesday: What's Next

This is a short post.
Today I was writing a long post.
It just kept getting longer and longer.
It continued on for many paragraphs and pages.
I just could not tie it all together and finish the post.
So I decided I would finish it tomorrow, from Denton, Texas.
Saved it as a draft, took a step back, and remembered that it’s Tuesday.

Top Ten Tuesday

Tomorrow morning I will wake up at 3:30 AM and prepare myself for a trip to Albany International Airport, followed by a flight to O’Hare, a two hour layover filled with an Operation Beautiful spree, and a flight to Dallas. I will be reunited with my family- Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, and an added bonus- Grandma and Grandpa! And I will be reunited with the use of a personal computer.

Now-a-days, I do most of my blogging either by blackberry or during my break at work, and I am really looking forward to spending some not rushed time in front of a home computer sharing opinions, recaps, and adventures with you all. [and photos – I have a lot of fun photos to share with you all!]

So, because it is Tuesday, I would like to share-

Top Ten Previews:
A list of upcoming posts on Then Heather Said

1. Race to Relationship – a metaphorical look at the next step for the recently un-engaged girl who may or may not have a new crush.
2. Race Recaps from Boston and Vermont – My two November race recaps complete with photos and results.
3. Bloggie Secret Santa Exchange Experience – The joys of giving and receiving, along with the experience of co-hosting along with the fabulous Danielle.
4. Operation Healthy Living Blog Definition – What classifies as “healthy living” and where do I see THS fitting in?
5. Sparktastic – details on my own experience with sparkpeople and a review and giveaway of The Spark book being released December 29th
6. Belief: Part 3 – Especially for all of you that keep emailing me about Parts 1 & 2 :)
7. Extreme Cookie Challenge – A few of my favorite recipes from the 25 days of Cookie Baking.
8. Snap 2009 – The rollercoaster of a year in a photo review.
9. The Declaration of Independence – What I’m declaring for myself for my 2010 resolutions.
10. What’s New in 2010 – The vision I have for THS and the excited changes coming in January.

I want to know: What's on your top ten list today? Share your top ten favorite songs of the moment, oatmeal toppings, movies of all times, blogs to read, characteristics about yourself (YOU ARE AWESOME, afterall), ways to spread holiday cheer, etc.
Can't think of ten- give me a list of 3! Go ahead- share your list ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Belief: Part 2

There was a time in my life, after I started a relationship with Christ, that I didn’t want to be called a Christian. Because the connotation is so often misguided. And as a matter of fact, the term “relationship with Christ” kind of makes me cringle a little bit. I believe in Jesus. And I do believe that I have a “relationship” with Jesus in the fact that I do spend time seeking His ways, His words, and His truth. But I didn’t want to be called Christian because what I thought it meant. To others, and possibly even to myself.

I think sometimes people use Christian as an adjective that is synonymous with ignorant.
And floozy.
And the kind of person that believes in make believe.
And judgmental.
And hypocritical.
And sitting on a high horse thinking they are better than everyone else.

But it’s so far from the truth.
I try to “follow” Christ’s example. Not in a WWJD kind of way, over popularized and taken for granted in- but in a “Jesus loves the people” kind of way. Less like the movie Saved, and more like the musical Godspell.

Jesus hung out with what the Bible refers to as, “The Least of These”. Meaning the people everyone else in society looks down upon. The people that are judged. The people that no one else would treat as though they have any value. He found value in them, because the truth is, EVERYONE has something valuable to offer.

As Aaron Rose once said, “in the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” And I think this especially goes for people. All people- rich man, poor man, blogger friend you never agree with, CEO, stripper, barista who never gets your order right, Arabian, middle school student, Amish mother of seventeen, grocery clerk, elderly woman going 25 mph in a 55, homeless man with a card-board sign, strict Jewish grandfather, police man, Queen of England, card carrying member of the NRA, pop star with 5 singles on the top 100, environmental activist, former political figures caught in scandals, bully, new neighbors who play weird music late at night, your favorite teacher of all times, man, woman, child; all people. People who are role models and people who we criticize every day. Jesus cared for all people. But especially the people no one else cared for; and I think this is what makes the gospels so relatable- haven’t we all felt, at one point or another, that no one cares for us? Even though we know our families, friends, significant others love us very much- aren’t there times when you feel completely alone and misunderstood and a bit like an outcast?

Jesus fed the hungry. No questions asked. He didn’t inquire about what they were doing to get food on their tables. He didn’t make them fill out a form to prove they were actively searching for employment. He didn’t care if he was being taken advantage of, or he was being “used” for food. He fed the hungry. He didn’t allot them a certain amount of vouchers in exchange for a certain amount of food- he fed until they were satisfied. He didn’t complain about people’s laziness, or not trying hard enough to get a job, or say it was pathetic to beg, or ask for help. If they were hungry, He fed them. He brought satisfaction.

(and He turned water into wine- which is my kind of man. I’m just saying.)

Jesus was also very smart. He wasn’t a floozy. He knew Jewish law just as well as anyone in the church. He understood things that we often don’t understand in today’s society. I once heard a lecture on the sarcasm of Christ. Apparently, a lot of what Jesus says in the Gospels, is actually a way of Jesus making fun of Caesar and religion and people who go around acting like they know it all- we just don’t see it because we aren’t educated on the time; the culture and society of the Biblical days.

I didn’t want to be called a Christian because I didn’t want people to think I was things OTHER than what Christ was. Because I think Christ was pretty awesome. And as cliché as it is, I want to be like Jesus.

I didn’t want to be called a Christian because some people take being called a Christian today as being closed-minded, ultra-conservative, pro-life, homophobic, and think you deserve the world to be handed to you and that everyone else is wrong.

But, the truth is, I am a Christian. And I hope and pray that I am none of the above mentioned traits. But I don’t think that I am more “right” or “better” for being a pro-equal rights activist, liberal woman who would stand up for anyone who was treated unfairly. I don’t think I’m better, or even right, for being pro-choice. I don’t think I’m a better person for, if having the opportunity, voting no on prop 8. And I don’t think I’m better for knowing Christ, following Christ, or LOVING Christ. I don’t think I’m better for any of it.

This is not meant to be preachy. This is not meant to say, “Believe in Jesus!” This is not meant to criticize any political stances or beliefs of anyone else. This is not meant to tell you that you are wrong and I am right- because I honestly don’t believe that. The reasons I believe in Christ have nothing to do with my own righteousness. I don’t want to be a Christian to be “right” all the time. And I don’t want to be a Christian to obey the rules. I want to be a Christian to help people, to fed people, to encourage and support people the way Christ did, and the way He still does- through His recorded words in the Bible, and the community of believers spreading his love each and every day.

I don’t like to be called religious. Because of the connotations. And, truthfully, I am more “religious” about Wisconsin Football than about anything having to do with a church.

I have faith in a lot of things. I have faith in positive thinking, and the building of community. I have faith in people in helping people and the power of prayer. I have faith in going after dreams and following your heart, and even though I don’t always want to believe it, I have faith in true love. I think it must all stem from being an optimist. But all the things I have faith in, are founded in my understanding Christ, and spending time trying to know and be more like Christ over the past six years.

I know how to have faith in myself, because of Jesus.
I know how to have faith in others, because of Jesus.
I know how to have faith in change, and time, and love, and words, and truth, and community, and love- all because of Jesus.

Through my own experiences with Christ in my life; the seeing him in other’s lives and finding it attracting, and the seeking for truth in His words and image and understanding, and the pleading that God is real, that His love is Real, and that Christ’s sacrifice is real- I was seeking Faith. Overtime, I learned how to rely on faith. There came a time when instead of saying “I don’t know if God is real- we will never know.” I began to say, “I don’t know if God is real- but I CHOOSE to believe he is.”

In the beginning, during the searching and seeking and wondering, it was almost as if I had to be secure enough in my self to not care if I was wrong about God, and Christ, and the whole belief thing. I had to trust that my love for Jesus was strong enough that I didn’t care what anyone else said about me for loving Him. And I finally feel I am resting in this truth. I don’t care what unbelievers say about my beliefs, my thoughts, my understanding of Christ. And I (perhaps, finally) don’t care what believers say about my beliefs, my thoughts, and my understanding of Christ. For so long I struggled with trying to understand my place in Jesus, instead of relying on Jesus’s place in me. I finally feel like I can grasp who I am, and where I am on the “path that God has for me” because I know that it’s not something that can be answered in a three paragraph essay. It’s ever-changing, and ever evolving.

The most important thing for me in faith, is to continue to question.

I question God daily- and not just, “oh, God! Why did this happen!?” but more like, “when will I understand, You?” and “If you are a Merciful, Loving God, then why do bad things happen to innocent children?” and “Who is right? And who is wrong?” and “how can I do more for those who have less?” and “what’s next?”

I question myself, daily. Am I strong enough to keep going? To keep living here, in a town where I don’t really know anyone but whom I work with. To keep moving forward and not sit in the sadness or depression that so often seems so determined to creep into my life. Can I continue to run, or will I give up? Why am I running? Is for the wrong reasons? Does it even matter? What’s the difference between right and wrong- isn’t it all perspective? Isn’t it all subjective?

I question love, daily. Is it real? Is it something we’ve fabricated over time? Is it something we’ve diluted, and left watered down throughout our societies rein on the word or inflated so much that it’s completely different then what it should be? Will I feel romantic love again? Was I feeling romantic love before? Can love be wrong? Am I deserving of love, and if so, why? Are we all deserving of love? Should love be questioned? Can love be naive? And Should love be naïve?

But the FAITH is the choice I have. To know that no matter what the answers are, there is existence. And power. And substance. And that eventhough I may NEVER understand, the fact that I keep asking, and yet still believe- that’s the core of my Faith, the strengthening of it. Stronger faith in God, stronger faith in goodness, stronger faith in others, and stronger faith in myself. It is worth it to choose faith, even when I would rather be cynical and angry and dark and twisty. It is worth it make the choice, every day, or hour, or minute if I have to- because faith leads to hope; and hope is what powers, what changes, the world.

[to be continued…..]

Do you believe that Faith is a choice or something you either have or don’t have? Do you agree that questioning strengthens faith? What do you choose to believe in?

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