With the start of the month being national taco day, and all the BBQs from that point on, no wonder I had to really ramp up the workouts. Also the fact someone kept taking my lunch a work a few times so the food truck was being frequented more than it should have. The thing is, becoming healthy becomes even harder when someone keeps stealing your healthy lunch you made. I never thought someone would steal a salad, but then again people do weird things when hungry. At least they returned the empty containers back to the fridge in the end.
So with drama here is the low down on what happened 150 days into becoming healthier me.
How Was I Successful?
Packed a healthy lunch for work- for someone else to eat. At least I did make a healthy lunch so I give myself points for this. Also the fact I have not been eating at my desk, but being more social with others and taking walks around the business park has helped to get me ready for the 5k in July and to relax before jumping back into work for the rest of the day.
Earlier in the month we had a lot of nice warm sunny days where relaxation by a body of water was perfect. After a stressful days at work, and all the things life throws in the mix, finding time to relax has become priority. A few friends and I have been doing a Bible study on Thursday nights at one of their houses. Just being near and hearing sounds of waves lapping in the background as we discuss a book in the Bible has an amazing calming effect needed to get through Friday.
What Didn’t Go So Well?
Who the f8ck keeps stealing my salad?! The fact I had to eat off the food truck more than I would like to have done, this was not something I would count as a success this month. Besides eating off a truck is unhealthy and EXPENSIVE as hell, and not to mention buying the healthy ingredients can be expensive, it did not deterred me from at least having two other meals that day healthy.
I started to have one to two glasses of Ros`e and Juanita’s chili chips after work every Friday. I call it stress eating with the chips, but as person who does not see herself identifying with millennials I sure am getting into the whole wine thing.
What Can I do Differently?
Put my lunch in this cooler like bag next time
I’M KIDDING.. well maybe not.
Another thing I could really do differently figure out how to workout in the morning without feeling icky afterwards. I think eating too soon after a workout maybe the culprit, and this coming month I need to figure out how to best go about eating breakfast without it making me sick afterwards.
How Am I Feeling?
In almost two months I will be running 3.1 miles around a stadium and right now I feel as if I could do it.
What Motivates Me?
I keep typing the some thing to this question but it is true. What is motivating me is the 3.1 mile 5k I will be doing in July and the Mariners game afterwards. Also just the fact I am getting healthier and stronger every week.
I Give Myself 3/5 Stars this month due to consuming not so healthy options for lunch after having my lunch stolen a few times.
Whew this has been one long stretch to write this series on this blog. In the last installment of this series I will be going though the last three innings to the final destination, the clubhouse. The place where baseball legends never die.
7th Inning: Saints and Sinners:
When I think of saints and sinners in baseball, the movie Sandlot comes to mind. There are references to Babe Ruth littered throughout the whole movie, and yet one scene that comes perfectly clear of saints is the chewing tobacco scene before the fair ride. “Chaw-saving for a good time.” Well you know exactly what happens after they chew it.
So how does it play into saints and sinners? Think about how the group of boys look up to the ballplayers of the day (1950s) and doing the same things as they do. Perspective is often central to how a fan feels about a ball player. The very definition of sainthood serves to make human beings whom we other humans can relate. Its an induction into a honor society of those who are the best of what we can be. Baseball celebrates its heroes, the legends, and immortalize them into what is called the Hall of Fame. Same goes for religion where Christians have a number of ordinary humans who managed to before immortalized as saints (Mother Theresa).
Yet what fans think players are saints, could be in fact a sinner. Yes I went there! If ballplayers are judge on their performance on the field, they would look like saints of the sport. But when you think of it, they are simply sinners or worst, nasty people at times. Now not all are nasty, but when you hold someone up to the highest, the not so great things are swept aside. See reputations do in fact follow on and off the field as most major athletes can attests to. Baseball shines a spotlight on each player on the field and in some capacity the player is fighting their own demons or moral dilemmas. Professional baseball is played by humans, surprising-if hardly- the sport reveals the human propensity to cut moral corners. Even as far as cheat. Baseball like in religion, judging others is a flawed endeavor whether in professions or in athletics because it is done by fallible humans. Still baseball celebrates both flawed heroes and it’s saints in equal measure.
7th Inning Stretch
Anyone who has been to an intense ballgame or religious service is well aware of the intermission. At the church I attend there is an intermission between praise worship singing and the preaching in the form of going around shaking hands in fellowship. The same can be said of baseball, where as a community of fans and players go through the age old tradition of a rousing version of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.” No announcement, no request, just rise from the seat as a congregation and break from the intensity of action on the field. Just as different faith denominations, baseball does not have an uniform version of the seventh inning stretch. Each team, each stadium has traditions in which the all moving parts come together in unity. Really the seventh inning stretch is moment of prayer, a reflection, a pause of self awareness, and setting stage for the next moments of the last two innings. A moment of stillness before the storm.
With the stretch completed…. the ball, sacred symbol and reality, remains in play for all, and the game of life.. I mean baseball game continues.
8th Inning: Community:
The community of baseball has a power to bring people together in expanding levels of relationship: parents and child, neighbor and friend, community and city, state and the nation. Think of those summer days watching a game, all assembled as one in a park sharing in the awesomeness of the moment together with like minded people. Community made up of many different groups of people in one common shared belief. Collection of rituals, tall tales, homespun charm, carefully passed down from one person to the next. Same goes for religious faith where the belief is not confined to sect, class or race. A common faith of mankind. The community of rooting for one’s own team is accessible to anyone who simply revels in the beauty and gifts of the game. As of date the game reaches not only the American people, but around the world. Japan’s love affair with Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees runs deep. The community of baseball fans in Japan would lead the Mariners to play their first game of 2019 season in Tokyo against the Oakland A’s.
The best thing about baseball is the last attraction flows from the game’s ability to bring people together to create community to foster bonds of lasting power based on shared memories and experiences. Not only from a fan base, but also from a players base as well. Think about all the players in little league, middle school, high school, and college who build a community or are a part of a everlasting community for the rest of their life. Religious communities are more than the congregations that gather for services, but a community that shares a same belief and lasting bond. Baseball communities large or small is where the spirit lives beyond what appears to eyes and mind.
9th Inning: Nostalgia:
Baseball, almost alone among our sports, traffics unashamedly and gloriously in nostalgia, for only baseball understands time and treats it with respect.
This inning is really about the myth of the eternal return. The throwback journey from baseball’s present to its past and back again. Nostalgia is one of baseball’s defining attributes according to John Sexton. The game’s past shadows its present, and there is conjured for instruction, to prod memories, and revive dormant emotions. On the road to God, Christians pay tribute to the past while in the present. The same rituals done over millennium still being done today, each paying respect to those who have come before in form of memorials. In baseball there is one important respect to the originals, the numbers stitched to the present player’s back. Today numbers memorialized a great player, each one retired for all time on a that team or in the case of Jackie Robinson, on all teams. These numbers are plaques marking a person’s life in baseball, as plaques are laid where a love one has been called home to the Lord. The practice of retired numbers started when Gehrig courageous revelation he was suffering from the disease (Gehrig Disease) that killed him and Babe Ruth’s in 1948 when dying of cancer. Old uniforms and numbers in baseball, as is in religion, are venerated and treated with respect.
How can this be similar to religion you ask? Mircea Eliade wrote “nostalgia for origins is equivalent to a religious nostalgia.” We as humans desire to recover the active presence of the gods; we desire to live in a world as it came from the Creator’s hands. The pure, fresh, and strong aspects of the world. See the journey home (as it is in baseball’s ultimate goal) is what Eliade called the myth of eternal return; going beyond marking an event to reliving it. A ceremony (liturgy), a memory celebrated, and religious man attempts to approach the gods to participate in being. The past and present are more clearly linked, one enhancing, informing the other. The dialog between the past and present causes us to touch a spot deep within ourselves-to thank God for what has been.
Baseball is defined by wonder and amazement; it is defined by elements of faith, doubt, conversion, accursedness, blessings-all associated with religious experience-the spirituality of the game. Baseball is as in religion is a deep faith that cannot exist inless there is doubt, its handmaiden as John Sexton points out, confronting doubt is a central challenge on both religion and life from the earliest Christian theologians to the Seattle Mariners journey to a Wold Series game.
1st base is temptation, 2nd base is sin, 3rd base is tribulation. Jesus is standing at the home plate, he’s waiting for you there. Pitcher is Satan, Solomon is the umpire and the lead off man is Daniel, who gets the first hit. The game’s home run is hit by Job, wielding the ‘strong bat’ of prayer. The chorus ends with a rousing “Life is a ball game,” but you’ve got to play it fair.
Sister Wynona Carr “Life Is A Baseball Game”
Baseball through in through is a game of life and one of the many roads to God. Each inning in a person’s life is played out in one game, whether loose or win, you have to play if fair.
In this third part of the series we will be talking about the fifth and sixth innings in the bigger picture of baseball as a metaphor road of to God.
5th Inning: Miracles:
Prayer changes people, not things.
Same can be said the most nuanced notions in the study of religion is miracles. Some are looked at as answers to prayers, an effect of a magic trick. But miracles are really a special kind of hierophany. The definition of a miracle is moments of deep inspiration emerging from unlikely outcome at the most crucial times. Baseball miracles invoking ecstasy, electricity, and awe with the fans. To go deeper into the definition is to understand the Latin root of the word miraculous-object of wonder, a manifestation of the divine, and a revelation on a different plane.
True miracles in baseball change the course of the game, a series, and a season. Most of these miracles happen in September and October with the occurrence of the World Series. One true example is the perfect game played during the 1956 World Series game. That day in baseball lore, the game was pitched perfectly not seen since 1922 World Series game. To this day the miracles that happened during this game has not been seen to this day in any other World Series played since.
But there is of course “false miracles” in baseball which appear to be miraculous, but in truth are really ordinary products of coincidences or probability. One such example in the “Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff” also known as the “shot heard’ round the world.” What Giant’s Bobby Thomson’s swinging connection on a fastball from the Dodgers pitcher resulted in pennant game. The ball to this day is missing in the stands. But decades later the unsettling fact became clear that the Giants had cheated using a sophisticated signaling system to players on the field. A miraculous moment diminished as false.
How do baseball’s miracles coincide with religion’s take on miracles? Miraculous is the gist of myth, myth permeates religion. Sometimes the story of a miracle entails the intervention or manifestation of a higher power. In itself, miracles convey a wonderment and amazement that transpires a sacred about all place. In baseball some of the solid hits become line drive outs, some of the weakest become box scores hit, few even win games. Other times players accomplish what their team needs at the expense of their statistics diminished as a result both on paper and scoreboard. All comes to the idea of concupiscence.
6th Inning: Blessings and Curses
What makes baseball so great is that everyone can play it- little kids and old people. But only the blessed are destined to play in the majors.
When we speak of a blessed ballplayer, we use the word blessing in many other ways and contexts in both religious and secular. Blessing is a function of our belief that somehow God is on our side-either the team, the individual players and the fans are invoking a God as well. However, the deeply connected sibling of blessing is a curse. The word bless is ecstatic sensation one experiences after the release of profound accursedness, where a curse is associated with painful prolonged suffering that “sticks” to an object. Both are intertwined as faith and doubt. This all plays into baseball by the slow intense rhythms the game goes through at times.
The great baseball curses are associated with painful prolonged championship droughts, booted ground balls, most of all wrenching defeats. Blessings and curses also are tied to events off the field in bizarre stories of omens and harbingers. This bizarre practice even involves teams whose identities are deeply tied to how they and the fans have dealt with accursedness and epic adversity. It not so much how the teams, towns, and fans handle the curse, but how a reaction to it. The reaction, in the end, shapes the blessing when it comes and determines the effect it will have as a whole. This is where the famous cry in baseball come from “wait’ll next year.”
For teams accursed repeatedly to suffer preordained pain or hardship, the hardship is a necessary prelude to being released from its clutches and receiving great blessings. The most famous of all curses in baseball is the Course of the Cubs World Series appearance drought. It would take until 2016 to finally lift the curse dating back to 1945 and a World Series win since 1908. All this time Cub fans have accepted the fate with a good measure of cheer. Neither hopeful nor despairing but delighted in the status of baseball’s lovable loser.
Adversity is baseball’s handmaiden; the great challenge and it’s a great lesson. Like in religion, a baseball game is founded on aspirations rarely met. It generates far more failure than fulfillment. No matter how high the aspirations are, there still is joy, defeat, a cause of sorrow, but it is not about the curses, but about baseball and the moment of ecstatic release of blessing. Baseball can be a catalyst for everyone everywhere to see through curses there are blessings.
As in life, baseball too has it’s saints and sinners. In the fourth and final part of the series, the last three innings inches closer to the clubhouse of life. Stay tune!
There are only three to four months a year where people are not celebrating something with food. So technically you have to navigate through the rest of eight to nine months trying to avoid going over board. April isn’t one of those months, especially when you come off forty days of giving up something in the food category called Lent. No wonder when Easter/Passover comes around you are shoving hot cross buns in your mouth while taking out the chocolate Easter bunnies like Mr. Mc. Gregor in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
BUT…. I manage to contain myself when it came to those oh so wonderful little chocolate bunnies. I only had one and it was Cadbury.
How Was I Successful?
At the beginning of the month I had to move desk space at work again (cue eye roll, really??), but this meant moving far away from the candy dish full of mini Kit Kats and M&M (maybe a Snickers bar in there too) to a whole new section where the green juice and Raisin Bran cereal people hang out . Yep I’m counting this as a successful point in the month-don’t judge me! Also having a desk faraway from the the break room meant those left over lunch meeting stuff was never seen by me until the end of the day.
On the fitness side of things I started to get really into training for the 5k I will be running in July. Just walking during lunch along the trail behind the building and getting a good run in early in the morning has helped to bring back the running stamina needed to get through 3.1 miles around the stadium. I will admit it has been a few years since I last trained for a 5K let alone a half marathon. In the process of the last month I have seen a significant loss of weight compare to the first two months of the year. You can call it motivation when another 4lbs comes off. Along with walk/run training part, I have been back to weight lifting to help in the process of building muscle to replace the fat I am loosing.
Last month I talked about eating at my desk most days due to having so much work to slog through. Instead I take my lunch and a book to read when no one in the break room wants to talk to me (a common thing really. Is that healthy?) to the break room to get away. At one point I drove to Woodenville to get lunch at Shake n’ Go to get away for awhile. Not taking my work home with me and allowing myself time to unwind from a stressful day has helped so much. Just setting those boundaries has helped with having a weekend I can now call “me time.” Commit to being healthy is not all about diet and exercise, but also being healthy mentally. I wrote a post a week ago regarding me trying to be everything to everyone.
What Didn’t Go So Well?
With Easter comes BREAD!! I grew up as a bread kid. I would hide pieces of bread in my room to consume later. At one point my parents had to hid the bread from me or lock the bread box! Just as Oprah has said many times, I love bread and I could eat nothing but bread everyday if it meant I could not get fat (chocolate too!). I’m with you Oprah! The fact is every Easter comes hot cross buns, resurrection rolls, and anything with yeast in it. I may have over indulged in the baked goods at work, home and even church. Easter Sunday the church had pancake breakfast before both services. Yep I had a helping of two pancakes and shame on me because I knew better.
What Motivates Me?
Motivation is to establish healthy habits, and get myself ready for the 3.1 miles in July. But lets be real, its the fact I’m loosing “extra” weight that is motivating me to keep going. Having coworkers and friends saying I look more healthy than before helps during the moments when I almost want to give up on bad days.
What Can I do Differently next month?
The first few months this year I was on Whole30 for 90 days and in April I decided to take a month off from doing the program. In May I will be going back on Whole30 again to reset after Easter indulgences. With the local farmers markets starting to open around the area, getting fresh produce for my Whole30 will be easier and keeping with my goals of getting as much healthy fresh food as possible.
On the fitness side of doing things differently, I will be continuing with the couch to 5k training plan for July. If the weather becomes more sunny, maybe getting off the treadmill in the morning for a run in the morning would be great.
Being healthy is to overall focus on myself for once. After going a few months at work eating my lunch at my desk almost everyday or having lunch cut short, taking my work home every night and weekends at the expense of my sanity. No wonder at the beginning of March I was knocked out by a cold. While taking a sick day, I realized as I went in and out of sleeping, I needed to stop feeling guilty for taking care of myself.
I have this habit of trying to be everything and doing everything for everyone. Maybe it has to do with being a women, or the competitiveness of society, or just social media making me feel like crap. Either way it seems like an endless cycle of trying to be everything; perfect friend/girlfriend/employee/daughter/Christian, staying busy all the time, staying fit, eating healthy, trying not to loose your sh!t at small things and large things, keeping a smile on your face, etc….the list goes on. In this modern society we have created a mindset that if we are not doing what needs to be done and being productive 100%, that we are being selfish, lazy, or worst, weak. It’s an unhealthy mindset which leads to burn out, depression, anxiety and host of other issues. Not to mention how tiring it all has become.
It has been tiring to the point of exhaustion-I’m exhausted. Isn’t it tiring trying to be perfect all the time? Exhausted trying to be everything without taking a break to focus on ourselves and our mental health.
For years I swept my feelings and issues under the rug, ignoring them and replacing them with unhealthy copping mechanisms. Always turned out miserable, feeling horrible all the time and left as a hallow out shell. After reading Becca Risa Luna’s post on this very topic, her advice was simple, taking care of yourself is work that needs to be done too. Work which you do not sweep feelings, issues, and health under the rug just to keep others happy or to be perfect.
A part of being healthy is to commit to being healthy mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Just by realizing this, you are more capable than you give yourself credit for is a part of taking care of one’s self. Giving yourself permission to take a break for as long as you need, to not control everything around you, to set limits, boundaries, and just live in the moment doing what makes you feel nurtured. Give yourself credit for just being, for living, and for once taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is work needing to be done too. You don’t need to be everything to everyone, you just need to be you. There is nothing selfish or lazy about needing to be yourself and taking care of yourself in the process. No need to be perfect for everyone.
As I continue into the next month, I’m still reminding myself this simple basic rule; taking care of yourself is work needing to be done too. Giving myself credit for being, for living, and taking care of myself at times first. Even if it is to simply read a novel while hiding from the world for a day or two.
Now with April showers being May flowers, I thought it would be time to punch out this post about the plants I have acquired for the last few years. Most have been brought home to celebrate a milestone in life (like a bouquet of flowers) or others have been pass down from a family member through propagation from the original plant. A few weeks ago I started noticing every time I walk by a co worker’s desk, I wanted to bring home another plant. You can say I’m becoming a crazy plant lady instead of a crazy cat lady!
Rubber Fig Plant (ficus “Burgundy” elastica):
I recently brought this plant home after wanting a baby rubber plant for so long. I would see these beautiful plants every where on Pinterest, but did not want to buy a fake one at Target. Back in January while shopping in Trader Joe’s I saw one in the floral department and decided right there the plant was coming home (screw the bagged lettuce!). Since January the plant has taken off with averaging new leaves twice every two weeks. The plant is going to be tree in no time!
I bought this plant to mark my second time graduating from college last spring. This plant has given me trouble from the beginning and at one point it nearly died. I has not bloomed since the day I brought it home, but I have been trying to force bloom it for a few weeks with fertilizer. Will see! The flowers are a range of light pink-purple to deep rich pink-purple. Some are white as well.
Jade Plant (arassula ovata) & Succulents:
The jade plant was too good to pass up when I first saw it. Since then it has exploded in growth near the window I have put it. Jade plants are succulents which may explain why I can go a few days with dry soil without much complaint. The other succulents were a prize at a friend’s baby shower a few years ago. One succulent created a few more after propagation, thus there are many.
African Violet (saintpaulia):
A reminder of Tanzania for me. Even thou these do not grow in that part of Africa, the blooms on the plant remind me of Tanzinite.
The peace lily was inherited from my Grandmother when she was moving house. This one in particular has been re-potted a few times since, and has now bloomed more than twice a year. At one point it almost died when the roots no longer had enough soil to cover them in the pot! As for the Easter Lily, this was another plant from Trader Joe’s. Around Easter these lilies bloom into a long trumpet looking flower signaling rebirth. This year I had to get one.
Lucky Bamboo (Draccens bravnii):
My mother gave me this plant as a house warming gift for my first apartment. Since then it has thrived and moved from one location to another without much complaint. Mine is not planted in soil, but freely standing between rocks in a bowl full of water. I have found the plant is much happy being in a bowl of water and near as much natural light as possible.
Wandering Jew (tradescantia zebrina) & Peperonia Radiator:
I saw these plants on the clearance rack at Home Depot and with TLC, they are a lot more healthy. The Wandering Jew plant since has started taking over the window ledge and the Radiator Peperonia’s leaves no longer looks as if an animal took a bite out of them.
This little plant was left over from the Christmas decorations from work. I brought it home after the company I work for closed for the holiday break. Since this little plant has stayed alive, and even started producing new leaves which are not red, but a dark green. My guess this little poinsettia will be still alive come next Christmas. The Cuban oragano plant is a propagation from another plant inherited from a family member. I has shared it’s space with many other herb plants over the years, and keeps growing.
But wait… you may have noticed I have plants that are poisons to cats. Yep I have a cat living with these plants. As a cat owner I am perfectly aware of how deadly a few of these plants are when a cat ingests them or breaths the pollen in. I take special care when it come to having plants that pose a risk. The lilies are always in a location where the cat cannot interact with them. As for the others, Maddie kitty does not have a habit of eating, chewing, or rubbing herself on the plant leaves of any of the above plants. Still, When it comes with tropical indoor plants, you really need to gauge how the cat interacts with the plants on a daily bases to know if there will be a problem.
Where I Buy:
Trader Joe’s Stores
Sky Nursery (Shoreline WA)
I’m not done yet with collecting more plants. I have a list of plants I’m looking to add to the indoor collection. I would like a prayer plant, dwarf date palm, banana tree (Musa oriana),and monstera deliciosa ( cottage cheese plant). Hopefully by then I will have a house roomy enough for the cheese plant to grow and the rubber plant!