Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I'm Really on the Ball

You know those big exercise balls you can buy? The ones that promise a svelte, youthful figure with consistent use? Let me just say that they should come with a throbbing red sticker stating "Caution, if you are a woman over 50, this may be dangerous to your health!"

I've been using the ball for a couple of months, and while I can't claim to be svelte and youthful, I am definitely more flexible than I used to be. So flexible, that I decided to attempt a new move, which was my first mistake. The directions were pretty simple: lie with your upper thighs on the ball in a basic push-up position, then press your shins into the ball and draw them forward, bending your knees and bringing your legs and the ball under your torso. You end up kneeling on top of the ball, with your palms remaining on the floor. The woman (of indeterminate age) in the accompanying picture looked like there was nothing in the world she would rather be doing. I wanted to join her.

Usually I at least insert my contacts before putting myself through my paces, but this particular morning I'd decided to exercise as soon as I got out of bed. So there I am in front of the big sliding glass mirror in my room--hair sticking out every which way (it must not have been a restful night!), in my comfortable pjs, my thick glasses on my nose.

I assumed the position. Nothing to it. At least not until I did that part of bringing my legs and the ball under my torso. Everything happened at the speed of light and before I knew it I was moaning on the ground, my neck at an odd angle, my heavy glasses ground into the delicate skin on the bridge of my nose. A glance in the mirror revealed a large crescent of skin had been torn from my nose--the only weight loss I would experience that day.

It's been 10 days since my "incident" and I'm still recovering. Makeup is just now able to conceal my brush with death.There's a bold X across that exercise on the sheet of instructions. Even if that is the one exercise that would guarantee me the fountain of youth, I'm not tempted to take even a sip from it.

And now when people ask if I've done my exercises for the day, I just try to play it cool.

"Me? Exercise? Maybe, maybe not. After all, it's no skin off my nose!"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Time on my Hands

It's a rare event. I'm home. Alone. Completely by myself. No one else here.

Most of you probably don't realize how unusual that is. But when you live in a three-generational house, and like spending time with each other, there's usually other people around. Not so tonight. John just left for his weekly symphony rehearsal and Christina, Kevin and kids are at Tae-Kwando. So there's nobody here but us chickens! (I mean, two rats, one cat, and two dogs.)

So what will I do with this gift of time? I could do some writing, as I need something to show for myself at critique in a couple of weeks. Or I could sit down with some writing that someone else has already done and got published. I could write emails. And there's always the daily crossword puzzle if I want a bit of a challenge.

What seems to be drawing me, however, is simply making a mug of mocha and reaching for my journal. In the busyness of everyday life, I've forgotten all about my mental resolution to write an account of myself at least a couple times a week. I'm not expecting any great thoughts or deep ponderings, but one never knows. Genius may strike when least expected!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Sock It To Me!

Why is it that little things can get me down while getting my dander up?

A major illness--I think I could deal with. Financial difficulties? Car problems? Frustrating, but do-able.

But when my husband presented me with several pairs of his socks that had holes in the toes, and asked me to repair them, I dug in my heels.

"John, nobody darns socks anymore. That's why God created Wal-Mart!"

My dear husband shook his head and replied that Wal-Mart was for when there were holes in the heels, not just small ones in the toes. That's what a needle and thread were created for, he maintained.

So for the past two weeks, a small pile of white athletic socks has languished atop our dresser. Maybe I thought if I ignored them long enough, they'd simply give up the ghost and disappear. Or perhaps I should have run them through the washer again in the hopes they'd join their distant cousins who have been eaten by the invisible Laundry Monster, never to be seen again.

Yesterday, as John sat on the edge of the bed and sewed a sock before finishing getting dressed, he told me how dishonored he felt that I hadn't done anything about them yet. That wasn't the message I had wanted to send, but it's the one he received. I simply wanted to procrastinate and simmer about how unfair it was, in this day and age, to expect me to darn his socks.

But tonight, while he was at his symphony rehearsal, I sat down with my sewing kit beside me, John's socks in my lap, and reading glasses perched on my nose, hoping to find that pesky little eye of the needle. And you know what? It really wasn't such a terrible job after all. I didn't even have to mutter under my breath!

In a small but tangible way, I've now shown my husband that, darn it all, he's worth it.

Monday, January 1, 2007


I just hung my 2007 calendar up on the wall here in my office, reveling in the 365 blank squares staring back at me. Okay, there's a few that are filled in with important things like my mammogram later this month, my husband's 60th in March, and a Family Reunion we're hosting at Ashberry in June. But for the most part, it's a wide-open future pregnant with possibilities. Will this be the Year of the Book? (It's a little-known item on the Chinese calendar. All we need is for one publisher to say yes.) Will this be the year the new church my husband and I are working with will take off and run? Will this be a year full of goodness and blessing, overflowing with joy and wonder? Or will it be colored with disappointment; shadowed with saddness?

I know what version of the year I would choose--The New International All Is Right With My World 2007 edition. Fortunately, I don't get to make that choice. As inviting as it sounds, a life of ease is not what causes me to grow. I'm reminded of the hymn "Day by Day" which says:

Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what he deems best--
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

So as I start this year, I do so with the confidence that I only need to make the daily choice to follow my Father, knowing he will fill my days with the appointments he has for me.