Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Puzzles and Plants

I love puzzles and I love plants...

I just scored three new Springbok puzzles today for only $4! Springbok are the best because the pieces are actually substantial and fit together better than most jigsaws. I used to do puzzles when I was little and it always seemed like I had a puzzle out on the puzzle table being worked in between trumpet lessons, track practice and dinner. I got reunited with my love of puzzles when I found out that one of my best friends, Carly Kenagy, and her mom loved puzzling too! I do miss puzzling with them...we did many a good puzzle over Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks through college.

I recently finished the hardest puzzle I have ever done. It is a black and white photomosaic picture of James Dean compiled of several smaller pictures of him and or other movie stars from his films. It took me about 4 years to complete...I would start and then put it away and then start again. I finally buckled down and said it's never going back in the box. I had to create a whole new system of puzzling to get it done looking at the bottom left of each piece and sorting them by shape. It was very fulfilling to finish that one! I framed it and it actually looks quite nice.

I am excited about these new puzzles. As you can see there is a picture of Oreo's and milk, runners galore and a nice garden. I think I will start with the runner one since I am in Marathon mode right now. I am sure they will all be fun. I hope there are no missing pieces since I picked them up at a second hand store...but there is only one way to find out!

I also have a love of plants. I have quite a few potted plants and am looking forward to having a huge garden and yard someday that I can tend to and get lost in. For now my little beauties keep me company. In my collection are ivies, coleus, spider plants, french lavender, oregano, dalias, gerbera daisy's, sweet potato vines(to the left) and one jalapeno plant(below right). They keep me entertained and I love adding oxygen and life to our little apartment. I can't wait until some little peppers start growing on the jalapeno plant! I see the little buds starting!

I just planted the sweet potato shoots a week or so ago. I had a sweet potatoe that got pushed to the back of the pile and started sprouting so I decided to take a couple of the sprouts and see if they would grow. Sure enough they did! They are really beautiful vines and add a nice mix to one of the pots I keep in the house.

So there you have it puzzles and plants. Two of the great hobbies that keep me smiling.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Potluck in the Park

Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer with some other Univera associates in Portland. I spent three hours helping with the Potluck in the Park program. I was a little nervous because I went up by myself (James stayed back to play a double header for softball) and I didn't really know where I was going or what exactly I'd be doing.

I found O'bryant Square and the huge crowd had already gathered. I saw my Univera team in the distance and I was so relieved that I was in the right place. It was like seeing members of my family and knowing that I had made it. There was already a huge crowd gathered and waiting to get fed.

I stood next to Tommy at the caserole table and scooped heaping spoonfuls of interesting mixtures of ground beef, potatoes and vegetables onto over 500 plates of food. The line monitor kept reminding us to be conservative because there were still a lot of people in line and only give one scoop. I found it hard to meet this request when hungry eyed men and women asked for just one more scoop of food. I had no idea when the last time was that they had eaten who knows it they remembered either. I continued to genereously scoop caserole onto plates and as the food started to dwindle I looked up and saw that the line of people was still out into the street.

I just scooped and scooped however much people wanted and then we got to the last pan of food. There were still people coming through the line and each time I scooped out of the pan it made my heart ache. There were about two scoops left in the pan and I heard the line monitor shout out, "That's it...they've all been through!" I couldn't believe we had enough food for all of those people. I was reminded of when Jesus fed the 5,000 with fish and bread and there were leftovers.

There were people there for many different reasons and many of them for reasons I will never know. Even now as I sit at my computer in my appartment with my husband close by I feel the extreme gap between my position in this world and the position of the people I fed yesterday. I know conceptually that I did make a difference in helping and I continue to help people who need in many ways...but I can't stop thinking..."is it enough?"

If you ever have the opportunity to volunteer for Potluck in the Park I highly recommend it. The potluck happens every Sunday at 2:15 and goes until 5:30 with clean up. There is contact information at their website (link is above) and all groups/people are welcome to help.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Writer's Block

So... I've wanted to write something for a while. I've actually tried on multiple occasions and for some reason I get stuck. I actually have three blog posts that are partially written, but for some reason I can't think of a good way to finish them. Lame. I know.

So instead of actually finishing those, because I don't think I can, I'll share what I was GOING to write about and call that a blog post. Lame. I know. But that's all I've got right now.

Best Friends.... Forever
In this one I talk about social networks and how it's both good and bad. It's good because we get to connect with people we know and might have lost contact with previously. It's bad because it takes bandwidth away from people you're currently hanging out with. As a result, our circle of friends is always growing, and never really shrinks. Personally, I see a potential problem with this, but maybe some sort of filtering system would fix it, but until then all future relationships will suffer.

Proverbs 16
I was reading through Proverbs and wanted to share some of the things I learned. This post started off really strong by talking about being positive and about making plans while letting God determine your steps. Then it started to taper off...

Spring Cleaning in The Summer
Basically Jessi started cleaning our storage room. She loves it and I'm coping because I'm a pack rat (thanks Mom and Dad). I started out talking about our philosophies about order. Jessi loves order no matter what the cost. I do a mental cost-benefit analysis and therefore leave some things messy (like the storage room). It started out funny, but I quickly lost steam. Then I tried to pull out something deep and insightful and it just didn't work when in conjunction with the funny part.

So there you go. Three semi-posts in one. Next time I'll try not to wimp out. Lame. I know.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Marathon Training

I am about 6 weeks into my marathon training schedule for the Portland Marathon on Oct. 4th and it is such a blast! I am one of those weird runners who doesn't like to run with music...I guess I just like the rhythm and peace that my footsteps and breathing create. I initially wanted to run 11 minute miles for the marathon but am finding that through training I have been able to maintain a 10 minute mile pace (about 6mph) for more than 10 miles. I may not be able to maintain that for the whole marathon...but that is my new goal.

It surprises me how much our bodies can adjust to exercise or repair themselves so quickly when they have the proper nutrition and consistent training. I never really listened to my body when I was training in high school and college...I would just do what the coaches said. Now that I am my own coach I really do have to figure out what is best for me. I usually do one long run each week followed by three shorter runs to work on speed. I am up to 11 miles followed by 4-5 mile runs. Each week I add about 4-5 miles overall. It seems to be a good incline so far.

It has been really exciting to watch the improvement in my times and the feeling of running further and faster than I ever have in my life! I am continually thinking of my favorite verse on my long runs..."Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will rise up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be weary; they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31. I also think of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians, "I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, so that I myself will not be disqualified."

I just wanted to share a bit of what I have been up to lately.