Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Where did those 4 weeks go?!

28 days later (Sounds like a movie title. :-) ...less than 60 days left! The summer is definitely flying by!!

I was just reading through my first two posts about my summer goals, and, while this post will not rival their length or cleverness, I believe it will certainly challenged their passion.

June was a crazy month, and July is off and flying. During the first month of "my summer goals," I have learned a lot, but I think the most important lesson
is that all goals must be accompanied not only by determination and will but also by patience and flexibility. And let me tell you, none of these come naturally.

Believe it or not, I am not self-motivated person. I usually thrive on competition. But sometime during the course of my development (most likely high school), I started to believe that "going the extra mile" was not worth the effort. While this appears to contradict my perfectionism, I found the two worked well together. Because I was a perfectionist, my first attempt was usually good enough to show effort, for which I earned fairly descent grades and the approval of parents and teachers while avoiding the ridicule of siblings, classmates, peers, etc. (I also learned that if you look like you're doing a lot, you do not usually have to do the things that take the extra work...e.g. piano competition.) It seemed to worked to everyone's benefit...except mine...in the long run. Because I stopped "going the extra mile," I stopped succeeding. (I got really good at procrastinating though!) I was not valedictorian of my high school class, I did not learn how to play the piano all that well (despite Bee's best efforts!), I was not an all-star basketball or soccer player, I did not excel to a very high level with the stringed bass, I did not finish with high honors in college, I did not score exceptionally well on my GRE's, I did not go to medical school, I was not accepted into the Genetic Counseling program, I do not do well at the "wife" thing, and I am not a stellar Christian (I do not read my Bible every day, I do not pray like I should, and I do not trust God by default).

Now please understand what I'm saying. I know I did/do "ok," BUT I also know that every bit that I have achieved is due SOLELY to the talents that God has given me and His grace in my life, NOT my effort. And, while I understand that that sounds like the way it is supposed to be ("Not I but Christ"), I KNOW that I have not been a good steward. The Bible says, "to whom much has been given, much MORE will be required" (Luke 12:48). I don't know why God gave me talents, but I do know that I fail to use them to the best of my ability. And so I stand today, a lazy, over-weight, procrastinator, who struggles to fully accomplish anything. It's clear that I lack determination and will.

But I also lack patience and flexibility. Something that I've said, almost as an excuse, several times over the last four weeks is, "I'm an 'all or nothing' kind of person." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! Well...it means that I try something once, and then, if it doesn't go the way I want or if I don't see the results I want, I quit. I can go from 100% to 0% committed in less than 5 minutes (probably more like 5 seconds!). Ask Adam! (Well...maybe don't ask him.) But I can tell you that it does not make for a good success rate.

So...all of that has been going through my head while I've been struggling to progress with my goals for the summer. There are days and things that go okay, where I have determination and will. As impossible as it sounds, I've cut out soda and almost all chocolate from my diet during the week (and I only have a little bit on the weekends). Drinking my "water" is going much better. I ran/walked 3.2 miles (5K) for the first time OUTSIDE in a little over 36 minutes. My calorie counting has been going well, and I've been exercising at least twice a week. I've lost over 4 lbs, and I have kept it off...even with weekends packed with picnics, going out, and dinners with friends. I've even stopped biting/picking my nails...for the most part (see picture as proof!), and I've started going for bi-weekly manicures to help my new nails grow stronger. All-in-all, I'm doing "ok"...but that's what I've done with my entire life. "OK" got me to 30-lbs over-weight and unable to run for more than two minutes. "OK" has kept me from going to grad school. "OK" is my house always being dirty (or "lived in" as I like to call it) and my piano playing being just barely good enough. I know I can't take over the world, but I'd like my life to be better than "OK". HOW DO I DO THAT?!?!
Well...that's where the patience and flexibility come in. It's taking every bit of patience I have to keep going; to realize that 4 lbs is 4 lbs less than I weighed 4 weeks ago, that cutting out soda is a healthy choice not just a "losing weight" choice, that having nails is a good thing (even if I want to pick them or tap them on the desk every 30 seconds). And it's taking flexibility when I feel like I'm not doing enough; when I need to remember that there are only 24 hours in a day, that tomorrow will come with a whole new set of challenges that need to be overcome in addition to the progress I want to make on my goals, that God has all things worked out for His glory and my good...no matter what it feels like.

Determination and will...patience and flexibility. I don't have them...but I'm working on them. And I am, by God's grace, going to do better than "OK."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

9 days down...78 to go - so, how's it going??

I've definitely learned a lot about myself and my goals over the last 9 days. I can't believe it's been 9 days already...this summer is flying by. Only 78 days to go. Can I make it?!??!?!

What I've learned

I've learned that life takes work. ... I know...DUH! But my goodness, it takes A LOT of work. It was work to write all that stuff down; it was work to transfer it to a calendar so I can keep track of it (I'm seriously being OCD about this, but I think it helps); it was more work than I expected to talk to Adam about my goals and figure out how they fit in with his and ultimately OUR goals; it is work remembering to bring my lunch, drink water, not buy rolos, go for a walk, and work on my resume...and those are just the things that apply to my summer goals! All of that does not include grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, work, church, social activities, family, friends, and every other part of LIFE!
My very intelligent and wonderful friend, Jenny, posted a great quote by Winston Churchill. "Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is key to unlocking our potential." And let me tell you (which I'm sure you already know), life takes continuous effort. Life takes work.

I've learned that life takes time. ... I know...another DUH! All that stuff I listed above...all the WORK...well, it all takes time...and often more time than expected. Thankfully, it doesn't take me that long to eat breakfast (I can drink a shake on my way to work or eat a bowl of cereal in about 5 minutes), and I can chug my water, which is usually lukewarm from sitting in the bottle for a majority of the day, in a few minutes too. I cannot, however, have a conversation with Adam about goals and direction in less than 2 hours. I know that has nothing to do with him (he'd be content if the conversation lasted 2 seconds...Adam - "Good idea. Keep it up."), but I need to think and talk it through; I need to circle around and reiterate several times; I need to get others involved (often meaning I have variations of the same conversation multiple times). A "conversation" about goals and direction has been known to take SEVERAL hours spanning several days.
Oh, and then there's work (and stressing about work), church, time with family and friends (phone calls to SC included), time to complete my goals and record the progress, sleep/rest, etc., which leads to my next point...

I've learned that I can't do everything. ... I'm so full of wisdom today; it's incredible! :-) But seriously...I can't be the only one who feels the pressure to at least attempt it; attempt perfection; attempt the supernatural. You didn't know I had superpowers?!!?!
In a feeble attempt to encourage a busy, slightly stressed friend, I said, "Don't worry, it will all get done." Her response was, "No, it won't, but I need to be ok with that."
Wow. Ouch. Stab and twist.
But HOW TRUE. There are times when it won't all get done. Am I ok with that??! I CAN'T do everything. So how do I deal with that. Well...

I've learned that I need direction. I won't reiterate all the conversations we (Jeremy, Karen, Adam, and I; just Adam and I; Bekah and I; Jenny and I, Julie and I,
Jon and I, etc.) have had over the last 9 days, but there have been several primarily focused on direction. WHERE ARE WE GOING and HOW ARE WE GETTING THERE?? We only get one shot at this life, that is like a vapor, and we are called to REDEEM the time. So, what are we doing about it?!
Thankfully, I'm the type of person that gets more done when I have more to do. So I/we have been figuring out what needs to be done, and we're doing it. I've also been identifying what may not need to get done and leaving it until another time (while attempting not to stress about not getting it done). I think having goals has helped. I think talking about those goals and having accountability to accomplish them has helped (significantly). And, as our direction becomes more clear, those goals will grow and change, and that's ok. We'll keep working; we'll keep doing...as long as there is time.

So...my personal, short-term goals (that I would really like to accomplish in the next 78 days) are going ok. Week 1 was a little rough in the middle (I have "BAD" written across 3 days on the calendar), but I'm getting back on track. I've been drinking my water, bringing my lunch, cutting out snacks, going for walks, working on my resume, and praying for direction. My mom has joined me with Goal 1 (losing 20 lbs.), and we had our first "weigh-in" yesterday. She lost 1.8 lbs, and I gained 1 lb...which is sadly not as bad as it could have been (I was up almost 5 lbs in the middle of the week). In addition to the steps I originally laid out, on Monday I started cutting my calories to 1200-1500/day, which has helped. I'm hungry almost all the time, but I've seen my determination grow as I seek to accomplish these goals.

Adam and I have also made it a goal to invest more time in our marriage. (I know...I'm really hitting all the DUH's today.) Because of life and all that comes with it, we've gotten in the habit of just getting by, and that's not good enough. So, we're going to work on it. I'm not sure what that's going to look like...I foresee another post including "steps to accomplish this goal" in the near future...but, as a very wise friend pointed out, "it takes time and love"...two things that I often run low on. So I'm posting this for the accountability. I need to know that people are going to ask, "how are you doing?" and want a truthful answer; I need my friends and family, who invest time and love in me, to encourage me to invest them in my husband...and I'm sure you're up for the task!

So...it's going. 9 days down...78 to go!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Personal Goals...for the next 87 days

I just found out that my brother is getting married at the end of THIS summer (and not next summer as originally planned). This is great news, of course, but it also presents a problem. ... I am currently 20 pounds over my "ideal" weight. I REALLY want to lose those 20 lbs and look nice for this special occasion because 1) this should be the last wedding for our immediate "Ogorzalek" family for a while, 2) my mom is crazy when it comes to taking pictures, and 3) I've been wanting to lose this weight for a while but haven't had the motivation. SO...I've decided to take this time and WRITE down my current, short-term personal goals (I have a few more than just "lose weight") and keep track of my progress over the next 87 days (Paul and JoJo's wedding is September 4...87 days from today, June 8). Hopefully I'll have some good news along the way; I may even post a pic at the end...we'll see!

Goal 1 - Lose 20 lbs.
Background: I started struggling with my weight in college, when I got my first full-time desk job. Thankfully, I was able to get my weight down during basketball season of my senior year, which is about the only time I ever felt "skinny". Shortly before we got married, I started putting on weight again. (During my last fitting, my seamstress told me I wasn't allowed to gain any more weight or I wouldn't fit into my dress! :-S ) Since then, I've gained almost 30 lbs. ... I KNOW everyone says "you're tall; you can't see it," but I can (and Adam can too). I started a pretty stringent diet in the fall of 2009 and did ok for a little while (I lost 10-15 lbs before we went on vacation in January), but between going on vacation, starting a new job, and getting even busier with life, I haven't been able to lose any more. So...I AM GOING TO LOSE 20 lbs in the next 87 days (12+ weeks - which is completely healthy if "healthy" is about 2 lbs/week). XX crossing my fingers XX

Steps to accomplish my goal:
1) Drink more water; drink less soda/tea. Start by drinking at least 1 0.5 l bottle of water/day. Progress to 2 bottles by beginning of week 4. Progress to 3 bottles by beginning of week 7. Progress to 4 bottles by beginning of week 10.
2) Start by eating breakfast. (This is going to be difficult because I don't get up early!) Start by eating a bowl of cereal or drinking a slim fast shake for breakfast at least 2 times per 7 days. Progress to 3 times/week by beginning of week 4; 4 times by beginning of week 7; 5 times by beginning of week 10.
3) Eat more fruits/veggies; eat less candy/high-sugar foods. Start by cutting down on sugary snacks (i.e. eat 1/2 the pack of rolos instead of the whole pack). Progress to eating lower calorie snacks in the afternoon (i.e. a pack of fruit snacks instead of a pack of rolos). Progress to eating fruit/veggie snacks by beginning of week 6 (WO July 11).
4) Plan my meals. Start by bringing WW lunch at least 2 times per week. Progress to 3 times/week by beginning of 4. Progress to 4 times per week
and add planning dinners at least 2 times per week by beginning of week 7. Progress to planning dinners 4 times per week (ESPECIALLY WEEKENDS) by week 10.

WOW!! That's a lot!

Goal 2 - Run a 5K.
Background: I'm not a runner; I don't claim to be. I used to excel in sprinting short distances, but I can't even do that anymore. I know I have limitations with my asthma and allergies, but I believe being able to run (even if it's a slow run) 3.1 miles is a tangible, worth-while goal that will improve my overall health.

Steps to accomplish my goal:
1) Continue running after yoga.
2) Begin walking. In addition to running, start by walking for at least 20 minutes 2 times per week. Progress to 3 times per week by beginning of week 4.
3) Follow 7-week 5K training schedule. Starting at week 6 (July 11), Run/Walk for at least 30 minutes 6 times per week.

Goal 3 - Investigate continuing education
Background: I've always had a desire to pursue both a masters and doctoral degree. It's just so hard to figure out what direction I want to go in and how best to get there. BUT, I have to start somewhere.

Steps to accomplish my goal:
1) Pray. Begin by praying about what God wants me to do at least 3 times per week. (I know that sounds pretty basic...maybe even "stupid" to dictate how much I need to pray for this...but this keeps me accountable, and I need that in all aspects of life!)
2) Continue investigating Medical informatics programs, schools, etc. Start by completing my resume by 6/20.
3) Pick something and apply. I don't want to rush the application process or spend application fees unnecessarily, but I need to pick something and work toward it until God closes the door. Hopefully step 1 will help!

I'm pretty sure that those three goals, along with work, church, graduation parties, summer activities, and other sundry social events, will keep me busy for the next 87 days. But now they're written down, so let's see how it goes!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

casting all my cares on Him

"now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen."
hebrews 11:1

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Appreciating the Good

I'm learning that I need to recognize AND appreciate the good things in life...two very difficult things for me to do. I'm a perfectionists, so attaining a "good" rating is not as easy as it sounds. And, while I pride myself on praising the efforts of those around me, I don't always appreciate the things that are right under my nose...the things God provides always when I don't deserve them.

Things like my amazing husband. We have our struggles, just like every couple, but he really is the best earthly thing that has happened to me. It's not necessarily WHAT he does but HOW he is. He is calm, consistent, and considerate. (He e-mailed me to let me know that 1) the house was a little messy because he was working in the yard and didn't have time to clean up before work and 2) he would clean it up when he got home.) He is supportive, even when I'm stressed and over-worked. He is diligent and determined to do what needs to be done. He's amazing...and I'm so thankful for him.

And I need to remember that!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Benefits of Being Sick

I hate being sick, but alas, I find myself stuck in bed on a diet of cheerios, ginger ale, and the occasional frozen waffle, resigned to spending hours sleeping and watching movies. When I was in school that would have been the life! But now, it stinks, especially when you have to cancel your plans, can't go shopping (for necessities like food), and aren't able to work on other things (like laundry, cleaning, and music for the teen service coming up in a few weeks).

After most of the queasiness had past and I realized that I would feel better if I just stayed in bed and relaxed, I began to think of the benefits of being sick. First, I caught up on some much needed sleep. Second, I had time to watch a few great movies (Swing Vote being one of them...there may or may not be another post to follow-up with this). Third, I finally started a blog, which I've been meaning to do for a while now. And, finally, I had a great boost to my diet (6 pounds in 2 days)!! So, maybe this being sick thing isn't so bad...although I really can't wait to have some real food again!

I've wanted to start a blog for a while now. I'm not planning on anyone reading it...just me. And I'm not planning on spending a lot of time with it. I just know the importance of capturing the little moments in life...and, to this point, I'm not very good at it! I had a friend in college who would fill up several journals per year. I tried that...four or five times...and I have four or five mostly empty journals to show for it. (I'm a perfectionist, so hand-writing takes me a while. I'm also a horrid speller, and there are no spell-checkers for paper journals.) I though of creating an electronic journal on our laptop, but then I would have to be on my home laptop to access it. Finally, I succumbed to the idea of creating a blog. It's the perfect solution really; electronically recorded and stored, spell-checked, and accessible from anywhere. Now...all I have to do is blog...every so often...and capture the little moments in life.

I labeled my blog, "Rach's Thought Capsule." I tried to be creative, but I'm pretty sure EVERYTHING has already been taken. I think this title is appropriate though. First, only my family and very close friends call me "Rach," which makes this very personal...it's just the real me that you should already know and love. Second, as I've aged, I have realized that my memory is not what it used to be. Things I thought "I would remember forever" have faded over time. This isn't a bad thing...as the fading is usually a result of cramming in additional memories and crazy moments...but I need a place capture my thoughts and experiences so I can look back and remember them and share them with my friends and family in the future. And that's what a capsule does. So this is MY thought capsule. Here's to filling it with what makes me...me!