Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WFMW: Count your salad!

I just re-started tracking my food using the SparkPeople tool. Handy little tracking tool. Anyway, I've been trying to be more diligent in eating more salads. I love big salads...with a little bit of lettuce topped with tons of crunchy veggies. It takes up a huge bowl. Yum.

I put my salad ingredients into the food tracker, and was a little surprised to see that it is about 140 -170 calories (depending on what all I put in it). For 140 calories, I'm eating lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, cucumber, a few black olives, 1 TB gorgonzola cheese crumbles, and 2 TB lite balsamic vinaigrette. More cheese, nuts, or olives puts it closer to 170.

I don't know about you, but an additional 150 calories to my diet is significant.

In the past, I would plan out my food, but not really count the calories in the salad... all those veggies don't add up to much. Of course, the fiber and nutrients provided by those 150 calories are definitely worth it - I'm not saying you should skip the salad. Just count it! I need to eat less of an entree (or better yet, less of whatever carb-filled side dish there is) and enjoy my 150 calorie salad masterpiece.

My tip this Wednesday? Eat your salad, but count it too!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sunny day

Lovely, sunny day. I wish it were this sunny and warm all year long.

The view of Cougar Mountain (which is not a mountain, just a hill), from my backyard:

BBQs and hiking

I am so thankful that we had a three day weekend. The first two days of our weekend were so busy. Fun, but very busy. Hub's and I had worked diligently to keep Monday we got to spend the whole day together doing whatever we wanted. It was wonderful!

On Saturday, my sister and her family came over. They gave us their picnic table, which I've wanted for a long time. I helped my dad and grandpa make it about 20 years ago. It was a huge octagon-shaped table. Since then, dad took out the middle section, so now it's round with six sides. Still great for a BBQ! I was dismayed when the table ended up at my sisters house, so I didn't wait two seconds to ask for it when I heard they were moving. We enjoyed dinner at our place, and spent the afternoon/evening keeping the 3 1/2 year old entertained and happy, and keeping the dog out of the face of the 6 month old. On Sunday evening, we hosted a BBQ at our house for our church small group...about 25 people (about 12 of those were kids). Lots of food, and a lot of fun. I was so thankful to have that big table!

We spent the first part of Monday sleeping in. Yay! Then, I rearranged furniture - one of my very favoritest things to do. Then, we went for a five mile hike on Cougar Mountain. For those of you who live in generally flat places of the world, this was the category of mountain that we prefer to call "hill".

Let's have a geography lesson. You see mountains look like this:

Mt. Rainier:

Mt. St. Helens:

Mt. Adams:

Mountains have snow on them. Mountains have a risk of erupting. Mountains have a tree line, which means trees don't grow to the top. Mountains make their own weather patterns. When you live near a mountain, you can refer to it as "the mountain" and people know what you are talking about. There are several BIG mountains relatively near me, but only the closest one (for me this is Mt. Rainier) is referred to as THE mountain. Mountains are big, and therefore, far apart. It takes time to get there. The other mountains are a bit of a drive, so they are referred to by name (Mt. Baker, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, etc.).

My backyard has a view of Cougar Mountain. I don't want to mislead you though - it's not really a mountain. It is the category of mountain that no one here calls a mountain - it's a hill. A beautiful view, but a hill. Actually, I was trying to Google it to show you what it looks like, and there are no pictures of it. Why? Because it's just a hill! :) Trees to the top. Maybe I'll post my own picture later so you can see. Turns out, I don't have one from a sunny day yet, so I need to take one. But, the sun is still coming up on that side of the house and it's too bright. I'll take one later today and post it.

Really, we just laugh when we go to some other place in the country and see what people call mountains. Seriously. Any incline is a hill. A big incline is a mountain. Directions for a quick errand shouldn't include "go over the mountain and...". Going over a mountain isn't quick. ;-)

Anyway, we went for a five mile hike on Cougar Mountain hill. It was great! I love where I live because I'm in the middle of suburbia, within a half hour of a couple different big cities, and there are several mountain trail heads 5-10 minutes from my house, AND, most importantly, there is a Starbucks and a Tully's (local coffee chain, better than Starbucks) within walking distance from my housing development.

Lesson of the weekend: You will get a huge blister when hiking for five miles with a toe ring on.

Have a great week!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Christmas in May

I'm home. Finally. The flight from Lisbon is painfully long. Flying west, wherein I'm graced with an extra eight hours in my day, is the best cure for the days when I long for more hours in my day. I really do not want more hours in the day.

My only complaint with being home is that it is COLD. We're expecting a high today of 62, but it's currently raining and 48. Thankfully, it's supposed to be 75 by Friday, but then cool off again a bit. (How boring is my blog if I've gotten to the point of discussing the weather with people who don't even live here???) My problem is that I'm used to 80. Hot. Sun. Warm. Sandals. I really, really need some sunshine people.

The best part of coming home was that I received a belated Christmas from hubs. It was an IOU present - a "we'll shop for it together" present. Then, some financial analysis decided that perhaps my Christmas present should wait. I knew that I would receive my gift when hubs was ready and comfortable....even if it was a few years from now, and I was content to wait until the time was right.

I'm so happy that it's NOW!! Yay! And what is it, you ask? It's my very own, very pretty piano. I barely know how to play, which makes this gift even sweeter. It's a gift to honor my desire to make music. I am so thankful that his response wasn't "you can have a piano once you can play better" but that he is investing in my dreams instead.

And, if nothing else, it's just really pretty in our front room. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lovely Life in Lisbon

Two days of health meetings ended yesterday. Five days of nutrition meetings begin tomorrow. One deliciously lovely free day was enjoyed today.

Lovely Lisbon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Very transparency

One of my favorite movies is "Love Actually" - it's one of the ones I can watch again and again. I love the part where the Colin Firth (does the sentence really need to go any further than that??) who plays Jamie, falls in love with Aurellia... except that he speaks English and she speaks Portuguese. Once their paths separate, they both learn the other language... "just in cases." When he eventually proposes to her (in Portuguese), he explains to her that their love is very transparency. I love that moment. (BTW - this movie is NOT kid-appropriate.)

You'd think that I could speak at least a tiny bit of Portuguese from watching that movie so many times. But no... all I can remember is the broken English version of their words. I wish I had paid more attention.

In about eight hours, a nice man in a shuttle van will come pick me up to take me to the airport. This service is one of the only ways I can guarantee to be at the airport before boarding time. (That is because I don't start packing until 11pm, but anyway...) I will get on an airplane, and 24 hours later (time changes and one layover included), I will get off the plane in Lisbon, Portugal.

I'm blown away at how cool my job is. Seriously. I work for non-profit, so who would have ever thought that I'd get to go to meetings is LISBON!?!?!??! Not I. I never craved travel when I was younger. Yet, I've been so blessed by it, and stretched by it. God has opened my eyes to a much bigger world. I am so thankful. God is so good to me; His love is very transparency.

And, I'm SO thankful for my husband who spent his whole evening tonight, and stayed up WAY too late, putting together a list of things I should see in Lisbon - and their directions. This is especially generous because he doesn't get to go... he did it all for me. =) Thanks honey!

Pictures to come...

PS... the gal who played Aurelia lives in Lisbon. How cool would it be if I met her? Maybe she will teach me some Portuguese.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Fun little map...

For my family who teases me for traveling SOOOOOOO much, I really don't. I've only been to a measly 4% of the world's countries. I wish it gave a % of the states in the US because I think that one would be more impressive. This is filled out, as of next week's trip.


One of the things I've been thinking about in my post-trip processing, is the need to correctly understand the suffering for which we are compassionate towards. I think a vastly different culture and lifestyle can easily be confused for suffering; we confuse compassion for what should just be fascination. There are many things about other cultures which are not suffering - they are just different (cooking on the ground, washing clothes by hand in the river, etc.). We tend to believe the lie God's goal for us all is to be comfortable, and our goal for others is that they would have a lifestyle that is as comfortable as ours. Not that we should want people to NOT be comfortable, I just think we tend to use the goal of comfort as an idol, and perhaps much of our own comfort-seeking is sinful. I think it's interesting that many of these lifestyle differences that we see are so similar to how life would have been lived in Jesus' day - and it was just fine and acceptable. These are not things he takes issue with in the Bible.

To clarify my thinking about this, I wanted to define suffering. Is this defined in the Bible anywhere, or just described? I can't think of a specific definition. I was thinking that suffering is the lack of fullness of life that Jesus talks of. So, then I wanted to define "fullness of life" - again, this gets talked of often, but I don't think I've ever heard it defined. This is interesting to me because it needs to be something that only Jesus can truly fulfill, but something we can strive for. So, I was thinking that the fullness of life would be experienced when the effects of sin (broken relationships between people, between people and the earth, and between people and God) are removed and these relationships are restored.

This definition would work (by my thinking) in that only God can fully achieve this, but that we can try to restore these relationships to some extent - as much as we are able in our fallen world. It encompasses both physical and spiritual suffering, but also shows how physical suffering is a spiritual effect.

What do you think of these definitions? Do you think this is right thinking?

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I'm disappointed.

There is a young couple who used to work at our church, but then moved away to attend seminary. They were leaving as we were joining, so we never got to know them, but I've heard they are neat people - ones that are a blessing to know. The husband is going to be interning at our church this summer, so they will be back for a few months. We offered to have them stay in our home for the summer. Really, our house itself would be perfect - we have so many extra rooms right now. They could have their own private bedroom, bathroom, and study. While I know this would be a blessing to them, *I* really wanted them to come stay with us. I was looking forward to the friendship that would develop after being house-mates for the summer.

I just found out that they won't be staying with us. Our pastor wanted to wait and see if anyone else offered their home, particularly one that is closer to the church. We live 20 minutes away. I don't think this is too far, but the pastor lives only 5 minutes away, so 20 minutes seems like forever. Unfortunately for me, someone offered.

I know that it is all in God's hands and this was meant to be, and will obviously be the best solution. But still, I'm disappointed.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

goodbye and hello

Goodbye sweet children.

Goodbye yummy mangoes.

Goodbye lovely sunshine.

It's time to go home.

I really am here, just quietly. I'm in the space of confused observation that comes after a trip to a different world. I really do miss my blog, and especially my blog friends, but have gotten into the habit of enjoying the blog world by observation as well. Today, I thought I'd post a simply post, just to get over the hurdle of posting.

I am here.

I got back from Haiti mid last week and it has been a whirlwind. I'm exhausted - not from jetlag (it was only a couple hours away), just from... everything. I've been going through some emotional/spiritual cartwheels, and that takes a lot out of me. Also just physically - I was going non-stop while in Haiti, had one day of down time when I came home, and then back to the office for a thousand meetings for two days. More to come on another day about the emotional/spiritual cartwheels.

And I'll be leaving again soon. While in Haiti, I found out that I need/get to go to some meetings for work in Lisbon, Portugal. Yay! I'm SOOOO excited. I've never been to that part of the world before at all. The only hard part is that I leave in 8 days, which is a bit too soon for my preference. I'm honestly not all the way unpacked and cleaned up from Haiti. I have a ton of personal life things that need to get done....housework (it's in disaster mode), paid work, wedding work for church, bible study work, etc. Plus, I'd really like to catch up with a few friends. I have one friend who just had a baby, and I haven't seen him yet, and another friend who was due yesterday, and although I saw her yesterday, I HAVE to have time to see her and then baby when this child decides it's time to make an appearance.

So, I'm here.

Crazy moment of the day (yesterday): I've been enjoying club soda with lime lately. I really enjoy this while traveling and decided I should drink it at home too, but be warned - I've been told it's disgusting. I got a 2 liter bottle of club soda. Came home. Opened it up. Without even a bit of "hissing" warning, it promptly became a giant spewing fountain of club soda with a 5 foot radius in my kitchen, which included me.