Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 Reading Wrap Up

I have participated in the "52 Books in 52 Weeks" Reading Challenge for several years now. There is always a "wrap up" for the year. My list is at the end of this post with links to all my reviews. 

  • How many books did you read this year and did you meet or beat your own personal goal?

I read 53. My goal was 52, and I was so busy writing my own books (until May) and studying for other things (Pilates and Personal Training Certifications) that I really thought I would not meet it, but I did! 

  • Share your top 5 (or more) favorite books.

1. Living in Christ's Presence by Willard

2. A Guide to Listening and Inner Healing Prayer by Rustenbach

3. You've Got Libya by Livingstone

4. National Academy of Sports Medicine Essentials of Personal Fitness Training

5. Oliver Twist by Dickens

6. A Christmas Carol by Dickens

(The above list reflects my true passions: Jesus/Spiritual Transformation/Discipleship! (1), prayer and healing (2), missions (3), fitness (4), and classical literature/reading (5-6)!) 

I know several of the books on my list are ones that I wrote, and I loved all of them too! LOL! :) 

  • Which books or authors you thought you'd never read and were pleasantly surprised to like them?

It isn't that I did not think I would like her or never read her, but my former nanny, N.E. Casady, wrote her first novel, Time Assignment. So, I expected it might have many plot holes, but it was a well-crafted story! So proud of this woman! I have read some first time novels that have made it in big time publishing houses that were really bad, but this is not one of them! :) 

I had the book A Guide to Listening and Inner Healing Prayer on my shelf for the better part of a year. I wanted to believe that the author "walked his talk" and that prayer had truly transformed the person I knew 33 years ago. After having him in my home in May and visiting him in Colorado in August, I can heartily say that he most certainly "walks his talk"!!! That was a pleasant surprise! 

  • One book that touched you - made you laugh, cry, sing, or dance! 

Living in Christ's Presence was so moving as it is a transcript of a conference that Dallas Willard gave 77 days before he died. He knew he was sliding into heaven, and it is the wise words of one who was ready to meet his Maker. It made me bawl like a baby. I will read it over and over again.

Messiah Meditations made me do all of the above! I know I wrote it, but I love listening to and learning about this amazing piece of music even if I am the source of the information (or at least the one who compiled the information)!

You've Got Libya by Greg Livingstone made me both laugh out loud and cry at times, but that is because I know Greg so it might not hit others as it did me. 

  • Share your most favorite character, covers and/or quotes.

Favorite characters: Oliver Twist and Scrooge and all the characters in these two fantastic Dickens novels! 

Cover (colors are great!):

Favorite Quote from Living in Christ's Presence:

Spiritual transformation is not about behavior modification. It is about changing the sources of behavior, so the behavior will take care of itself. When the mind is right and the heart is right and the body and the soul and the relationships that we have in our social world are right, the whole person simply steps into the way of Christ and lives there with joy and strength. It is not a struggle. One of the lies about the spiritual life is that it is hard. No, no. It is not hard. It is the easy way.
Willard, Dallas; Ortberg, John (2013-12-26). Living in Christ's Presence: Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God (p. 14). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition. 

From A Christmas Carol:
“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,' faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself. 
Business!' cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

 “There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew. 'Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!” 

  • One book you thought you'd love but didn't:

Contagious Disciplemaking by David L. and Paul D. Watson

I have been using their Discovery Bible Studies for years, but I like the book about David's work, Miraculous Movements, much better. The chapters on prayer and church were what makes me recommend the book though. 

  • What countries or centuries did you explore:

Countries: Great Britain and Afghanistan

Centuries: I went to Dickens' Victorian era, pre and post 9/11 Afghanistan/Pakistan, and the Sahara Desert. 

  • What books would you recommend everybody read?
Living in Christ's Presence by Dallas Willard. 

All the Bible Book Club books! :) It is a huge commitment, but you will come out of it with a better understanding of God and what life is all about. 
  • What was your favorite part of the challenge?
Having a goal to reach that I felt held accountable for. I also like that fact that I had to reflect on the book by writing a review. 

2015 List: 

1. Living in Christ's Presence

54. Anatomy of Movement by Blandine Calais-Germain

I am adding this almost a year later because I forgot to add it to my 2015 books.

I had to read this for my Pilates certification. I didn't really care for it and found it rather dry and boring with illustration somewhat difficult to follow.

53. The Triple Agent by Joby Warrick

This book is so gripping that I could not put it down. I love how the author weaves in personal stories about all the key players. You feel very invested in them by the end of the book. It might help you gain insight into the killers in San Bernardino too. 

This is well-researched and gives the backstory of the December 30, 2009 Camp Chapman attack in Afghanistan where seven CIA employees (or people contracted by them for security) were killed by a suicide bomber. Such a sad story!

I had originally heard this guy interviewed by Jeffrey Brown on the PBS Newshour Bookshelf segment for his current book, Black Flags: The Rise of Isis. I was so impressed by him that I got the book from my library before the rush (Often when authors are interviewed on PBS, there is a rush to hold their book. I find if I do it BEFORE the interview is over, I can usually get it!). The book became available, smack dab in the middle of my studies for my personal training certification exam and Christmas. I had it for a week after the exam, but there were other books already waiting in my queue so I returned it and decided to get this one since it was his first. 

I was not disappointed. It will be a great prelude to Black Flags. For anyone wanting to make sense out of what is happening in our world, this is a very valuable addition to the dialogue. An added bonus is that Bob Woodward helped Warrick structure the book. If you have read All the President's Men, you will appreciate this! (If you have not read All the President's Men, put it on your reading list. It is also a riveting read and well-worth your time investment!)

Here is a National Public Radio interview about the book, The Triple Agent, if my review has not yet convinced you to read it:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

52. Time Assignment by N.E. Casady

I bought this book two years and four months ago, and it has sat on my nightstand for that long!  It was always edged out by other books I had to be reading for something else. It was such a pleasure to sit down and read this great page-turner as a reward for finishing my Personal Training Certification! 

I loved it. It has fantasy and suspense. I wanted to finish it so I could find out where all the characters would end up. And the burning question that I had throughout the book was answered.

This woman was my nanny when my kids when they were two and four. We moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1997, and I wanted someone I could trust to take care of my kids while I went out and learned the language. She was a great nanny, and she is even a better writer! I just don't see how all that could be in her head! What a creative person! 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tuesday Twelve Minute Freewrite

You know I really should get to work on my weight training workout and straighten up the house before the Gingerbread House Decoration Party, but I think I still have lots of time, and I have enjoyed this lovely morning.

I couldn't stop doing Messiah Meditations so I finished it up yesterday. Not that I am going to stop listening to Messiah before Christmas, but I will stop reading the devotional I wrote. 

This morning I listened to The Promise by Michael Card. LOVELY, LOVELY, LOVELY! It is one of my favorite CD's. I really need to get it on my phone since I seemed to have lost all the CD's I painstakingly put on my iTunes. I am not sure what is up with all of that. In my humble opinion, iTunes gets more and more complicated. It used to be so much easier to navigate. Now, I just cannot figure it out unless I Google how to do things. Oh well, no time for that.

On top of all of that, I was updating my Linked In page to reflect that I am now a Certified Personal Trainer. WOOHOO!

I think I can help a lot of people. I certainly have loved helping the people in my Pilates classes get stronger and learn to stretch their overactive muscles and strengthen their underactive ones!

Well, I took all this time trying to convert my certificate into a JPEG so I am out of Freewriting time, and I really should get to my workout because it is a busy day starting in the afternoon! 


Sunday, December 20, 2015

51. Messiah Meditations by Carol Weaver

I know I wrote it, but I actually went through it as a devotional this season! Of course, I found little mistakes here and there. Then I had a friend ask me about using it for her church next December, and that made me want to make sure I fixed those mistakes before they printed the books up.  

All in all, I am so pleased with how this book turned out! 

Here is the Word document download (I will be adding journal pages but am waiting for the church to specify how they want that done):

Here it is on my blog:

50. Rick Steves' European Christmas

What an enjoyable read! I have had this "tabletop" book for  years. I got it for free when I donated to Oregon Public Broadcasting along with the companion DVD that has the Christmas Special TV episode of the same name. I have watched that several times, but I have never opened this wonderful book! It has much more detail than the show, and it even has recipes of the dishes they discuss!

He gives a wonderful history of Christmas along with all the holiday traditions that came out of the celebration of the birth of Christ and the pagan festivals that were already in existence. Then he goes through how different countries celebrate. The countries include: England, Norway, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. It made me want to get on a plane and celebrate there!

I am really happy that there is a recipe for Nuremberg's famous traditional gingerbread: Lubekuchen! We were in Nuremberg on a holiday in 2014 so none of their famous gingerbread bakeries were open! We were so disappointed, but now I can make it myself! 

Wonderful book! I started it in the morning and could not put it down until I finished it that night of the same day. It is a perfect thing to read at Christmas! Now I am going to go and watch the DVD again. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

49. In the Warlord's Garden by Melinda J. Lewis

This is a lovely, poignant, and often amusing memoir of the experiences of a young American wife and mother serving in Afghanistan. I knew Rich and Melinda when they were both students at the University of Oregon. I had a letter from her once when she was homeschooling in Afghanistan during the civil war there in the mid-90's. Then, Rich stayed with us in Malaysia in 1998 when he was on his way to India. Then I talked to Melinda when the World Trade Center fell in 2001. This filled in the gaps of their life for me! It is a great read and only 3.99 on Kindle! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

48. Handel's Messiah: A Devotional Commentary by Joseph McCabe

I do not recall where I heard about this little book. It had some quotes that were real gems; but overall, I was not super impressed. He does not cite the references for the Scripture he uses in the text. If I did not know my Bible, I would not know they were Scripture. He does reference the Scripture in the references in the end though. 

Here is my favorite quote from the whole book. I have never been able to put into words what the "Hallelujah Chorus" part of the oratorio does to my soul, but I think he has captured much of what is in my heart:

Through an everlasting mercy the trumpets do sound in the soul. The goodness and the kindness and the love which once we knew arouse as if from long sleep. Our finest nature comes forward, and we behold the true self like a long-lost friend. If not seized and cherished, the moment passes, and the soul returns to sleep again, to a long sleep. Your spiritual chance is in the finest moment. Lengthen it, nourish it, say to that nobility within you: “This is the person I can become.” For if you don’t, life will lull you to sleep again, smother you in convention again, choke you with success again, choke you to death, spiritually.

The burning desire to have the buried self be more and more your true self is the finest gift we can bring to Christ at Christmas. Let Messiah do its good work in the soul’s deep places, then rise in faith to that height you know as fact when the chorus calls you to worship him who is “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.”

Handel’s Messiah: A Devotional Commentary, p. 87

One thing I do not like about the book is that he leaves out the more unpopular parts in the main body of the book. He has an appendix with most of them, but I think if you are going to write a devotional on this great work, you have to include it all and explain why those verses are there within the context of the whole. So, that is my biggest disappointment. 

I like Forty Days with the Messiah much more; and, of course, I like the one I wrote (review soon to come) better too! LOL! 

Freewrite Five Minutes

It is my last full day of studying before the big test, and I am listening to "All We Like Sheep" in Messiah. I am going through it once again, but this time I am using the devotional that I wrote. I have a couple of people "testing" it out, and I think they are enjoying it.

I am ready for this test. I am passionate about wholeness, and that includes physical well-being. Hey, that is what this blog is all about: wellness of mind, body, soul, and spirit.

Right now, my soul is being fed with this awesome music! This is a hard part of Messiah, but it is a cleansing part.  

It is WELL with my soul! :) I think I am pretty WELL physically too. I have been really diligent about stretching lately, especially those pesky neck muscles (found a new sternocleidomastoid self-myofascial release move with a lacrosse ball - how great!). I feel great as a result. SMR (along with MELT) and stretching is my new reality. I just need to be diligent, and there is no pain! 

Well, I am to "He trusted in God that He would deliver Him" turba chorus. Love it! But it is also five minutes.

Hopefully, next time I write a freewrite, I will be a certified personal trainer! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

47. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles DickensI read it again. I could not resist after Oliver Twist. I finished it on my walk/run, and I was crying with a big smile during the last five minutes of my walk as I walked along a major street in my city. Everyone should read this book. It is only 2 hours and 45 minutes, and it is a FREE audiobook:

What a wonderful opportunity he had to see his life from the outside looking in. I think many people would change if they could see like Scrooge was able to. Just a great story. It is It's a Wonderful Life only opposite. Of course, the counselor in me thinks it is because he was neglected as a child. What a lousy father he had! I am still upset about that.

My favorite movie version still remains The Muppet Christmas Carol. They really do a great job of following the story with lines quoted right out of the book! :) 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

46. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Cover image for Oliver Twist I read this in 2004 when my friend Debbie had just been let go from her job. I flew over to be with her. In between her long "core dumps" on me, she would go into her room and cry, and I would read about Oliver, and somehow, it just brought great perspective to things. I was transported back to a time in the early 1800's when life was very hard for the poor. What a picture Dickens paints, and in the midst of the tragedy, such humor too! He was brilliant! 

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed listening to Nadia May's narration of this timeless classic. If you have never read Dickens, you are missing out, and this is a perfect one to start with. His characters are so amazing.

It was hard to pull myself away from studying for my certification exam, and I was reluctant to even read it again for my Book Dames Book Club, let alone LEAD the discussion for our January meeting;  but again, going into this world of Dickens fiction gave me perspective on that too.  Go figure! 

45. Pilates Anatomy by Rael Isacowitz and Karen Clippinger

This is the preferred Pilates anatomy book over the book by Paul Massey (see my review for HERE), but I prefer the Massey book because it talks about different postural problems typical for people and how Pilates can alleviate those problems, and that is how I teach. 

This is not a bad book though, and I learned some new things. I think I would prefer the printed book over the Kindle because it is not spaced well on the Kindle version, and I like looking at the pictures in real books. I am glad I have this one, but I wish I had purchased Massey's because the cheapest used copy I can find is $51! It was only about $20 when I first was looking to buy it. I am thankful that the library has a copy that I can continue to check out though! 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Saturday Seventeen Morning Freewrite

I have been up since about 5:30 am. I woke up at 4 am, but I forced myself to stay in bed. I had a lovely time listening to Oliver Twist as I made my tea this morning. I think the last time I read this book was Memorial Day weekend in 2004 because Debbie was just let go from her job, and I went to Boise to be with her as she struggled to understand why. It was heartbreaking, but somehow Oliver Twist grounded me. I also did 2 Thessalonians as she had to go in her room and cry by herself a lot. :) 

So, it has been 11 1/2 years, and my Book Dames Book Club decided to read it for January and asked me to lead. Since I have all the notes, I said yes. I am happy to do it. 

Then, I listened to He Shall Purify - Scene 2, Movements 6-7 of Messiah. I think my absolute favorite part of the whole oratorio is when the chorus joins all together in crescendo and sings "and that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness" from Malachi 3:3. Sends chills.

After this, I took 40 minutes correcting some things in the devotional book I wrote. Now, I am doing a freewrite until 8 am on this Saturday morning. 

Oh, and did I mention that I have been doing the corrections and freewrite on my treadmill desk? I have been sitting TOO MUCH lately because 1) I am not teaching at OSU again until January 4, and I have lots of things to do to set up my Winter term Canvas site, and 2) I must study for this Personal Training Certification exam. Yesterday, I spent from my time with God (maybe done at 6 am) until noon SITTING. I made a cool chart with all the muscles in groups (according to muscular complex like lower leg, quadriceps, hamstring, hip, abdominals, back, scapula, shoulder, rotator cuff, arms, and neck). It took me much of the morning, but it helped me to see everything as they interact with things. I do not know how much of the test will involve all of this, but I want to be over prepared!

So, today, I think I have all my flashcards, charts, study guide answers, etc. all in one place in my notebook. So I will go through it. And I will try to do it while I am walking on my treadmill. I just cannot sit that long.

Oh, I should mention that I FORCED myself to take a break when the sun broke through after a grey and rainy morning in Oregon. It was lovely. I was so tempted to bring my new, spiffy chart of muscles to study as I walked, but I brought Oliver Twist  and my pal, Dickens, with me, and I smiled and laughed when I listened to characters with names like "Sourberry"! Only Dickens can bring the depravity of those days AND humor together! I love it.

After I came home, I thought I might as well finish the last day (of four weeks at three times a week) Phase 1 -  Stabilization Endurance of my resistance training, and I listened to more of the story as I lifted and sun broke through and gleamed on my weights as I did a tricep extension on my stability ball and listened to Oliver be captured by Bill Sykes (via Nancy)! OH NO! It was a moment of joy though. I don't know. I am so bad about taking breaks when I have a goal in mind. So, I considered this a reward of joy for taking a break and being good to my body. By the way, I ended up running for the majority of my walk. I have three days in a row of getting my cardiovascular into Zone 3 for over 20 minutes. That is the only way I can do it these days.

Oh, my 17 minutes went by very fast. Now to work!

Messiah Meditations

Reposting this for those interested!

DECEMBER – Meditations with the Messiah
(click on each for a link to the meditation for the day)
1.      Messiah Introduction
Part I: Coming of Messiah
2.      Overture: Movement 1
3.      Scene 1: Movement  2
5.      Scene 2: Movement 5
6.      Scene 2: Movement 6
Part II: Redemption by Christ’s Sacrifice
Part III: Victory over Death

Thanks for joining in on the FUN! 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Sixteen Freewrite

It is that time again! It is MESSIAH TIME! I am listening to Part II, and I already listened to Part I twice, and it is only 7:54 am! LOL!

I never ever tire of this timeless piece of PERFECT music. It really is PERFECT! George wants to go to the Portland Baroque Orchestra performance on December 14, but I have this Personal Trainer Certification exam hanging over my head, and I am not sure if I will have it done by then, and I don't want to go TOO far into the Christmas vacation with Michael and Paul studying for it. So, I need to think about. UGH!

I love what I am learning, but I am getting tired of studying. I still have SO FAR to go before I am ready to take this exam. I have finished all the quizzes in the eTeach course, and I just have on more nutrition discussion question to complete. Then, I can study for the final. I would love to just get that out of the way so I can move on to really studying for the actual exam, but I am sure that the final will really prepare me for it. I love what I am learning. I think it is really interesting stuff (just like my undergraduate degree in nutrition was really interesting), BUT I hate studying for tests. I just love to LEARN! I am sure I will do fine on the test, but I want to be 100% sure that I know the material before I go into the test. Today, I am going to work on knowing the different exercises for everything. I also want to get those muscles down pat! (Where did that expression "down pat" come from? I feel a Google search coming on.)

Anyway, I am also making French rolls. I made 14 of them for Thanksgiving and hoped that I could bring some home, but my kids ate three a piece! So, I promised them I would make more for just us. :) (Good mommy!)  So, I started making them at 6:30 this morning so they will wake up to the smell of them wafting through the morning air! :) 

Today, we will probably decorate our tree, and I might just go to the library to study so that I can have no distraction. When I go somewhere, I tend to really bare down on it and utilize my time better. Things will be really quiet here on Monday too. :) 

I only have two more class at OSU, and I am done for Fall term! I am still trying to determine if this is really worth it for me. I really enjoy my students. I really enjoy teaching. I enjoy that I have been immersed in lots of teach in such a short amount of time. I will have taught 60 classes by the end of my classes this Wednesday when you combine it with my SNAP Fitness classes. So, that is a lot of teaching experience. As much as I love my students, I am not compensated well, and it is also a lot of time to get to campus and back for just two classes. In addition, I have a lot of out of class time grading and answering student emails and keeping track of attendance. So, I have to weigh all of that in together and see if it is really worth it. It is definitely worth it right now because it is giving me really great job experience and something nice to put on a resume. There are also benefit to teaching a university class of mostly 20 somethings. They have bodies that respond so nicely to exercise, and they are required to be there so I really, really see great improvement in their technique. I can tell they are getting much stronger, and many have told me as such. So, I like that aspect of it. When I teach at SNAP fitness, it is a mixed bag of newbies and older adults. There are a couple of people who have done it consistently, and they have really improved. I like SNAP Fitness because it is smaller and more intimate, and they are more into joking and laughing and making it a social time. I like that aspect of it so much! It also requires no out of class time other then me deciding what to do on any given day. My choices are more limited there because I do not have Therabands (but I have tubes which are great substitutes), and there are balls, but only a few.

Anywho, what else do I want to say before my time runs out. 

I have enjoyed doing my #100happydays things. I am on Day 68 today. I knew it would run into Christmas, and that always makes me very happy! :) I love having the boys home for this Thanksgiving weekend; and in two weeks, they will home for three weeks! WOOHOO! I am so happy about that!!! I love it when our family is all together because we genuinely like each other, and my kids like each other. So that is so great. We went to see Mockingjay II last night together, and it was a great thing since it has become our tradition to do together (other than the first one because Paul had not read the first book and did not want to see it until he had read it).  

Oh, perfect timing because I have less than a minute. Just a reminder that there will be errors in this freewrite because I am not supposed to proofread it. So hard for me. 

Back to studying for my test!!! :) Praying I can learn those muscles and exercises in record time today!! Brain work!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Freewrite for a Sunday Morning

Well, here we go on a Sunday morn freewrite. I rarely sit for long periods of time and write anymore. Too bad I did not have my treadmill desk when I was writing the Bible Book Club! I would have burned so many calories and saved my back the heartache.

Speaking of my back. While my lower back has not had pain since November 19, 2014 (Yes, almost a whole year with NO S-I joint incident! And that one was brought on by sitting too long one morning + going for a walk in REALLY cold temps [33 degrees] + hitting a bump in the sidewalk = OUCH! Prior to that, it had been another year that I had had any incident. So, I am doing really well in that department.), my upper back and neck continued to have knots or what I call this "string of tightness" that travels from my neck down to the mid-back inside the shoulder blade. Well, I have not been to Dr. Myers for maybe 5 weeks. Last week, I canceled my appointment only to have a knot for most of the weekend, but then I employed ALL the Self-Myofascial release rolling exercises and static stretching on all my overactive muscles (which did NOT include the knotted area - that area is actually very WEAK and needs strengthening rather than rolling), and the knots went away. I had solved my problem and saved myself a 20 dollar copay! I stand here today with not one area of tightness in my body. I was like this all day yesterday too. I have gotten up every day and before I exercise I do that corrective SMR rolling and stretching on those overactive muscles which FOR ME include my quads, TFL, calves, pecs, latissimus dorsi, and thoracic spine. I do it regardless of whether I feel great or not. I also do the corrective stretching after I exercise. It takes about 20-30 minutes extra total on a daily basis, but it is worth it. 

I was going to write something here and the original reason why I was going to freewrite today, but I cannot remember what is was for the life of me! My goodness. What was it? Oh well.

Oh I remember. I have eight more books to read for my "52 in 2015"! I have not read as many books this year, but a 600+ book that is a lot of science should count as at least three books! Before the end of the year, I get to read Oliver Twist for my book club. That will be really fun! So, I have to think of 7 more books to read. I think I have some Christmas books in my stack that I have never read before. Oh, I want to read Nancy's book that I started but never finished and Melinda's book that I am about 65% of the way through already! So that is two more. So, I just need to find 5 more books to read after that! :) I should consult some "I want to read" lists. I am not the academic that I once was, but that is totally cool. I love what I am doing, and less reading means less sitting and better for my back! Oh, I did start that book by Kris Kyle, but it didn't grab me like I thought it would. I am sure there are great books that I could read that would be great for my walks. I might just check out something to download onto my iPhone. 

I think the test is looming though. So, maybe I will do that after my final two quizzes, two discussion questions, final, and certification exam!

BYE! No proofreading!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

44. NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training

 I was asked to become a Certified Personal  Trainer by a manager of a local fitness facility two years ago, and I am finally getting around to it! I have loved everything about this book. I learned so much! It is 680 pages, but I couldn't put it down! It is so much of what I learned from my B.S. in Foods and Nutrition. I am coming around full circle, and I love it! 

I will finish up the class I am taking in three weeks, and I hope to take the certification exam before Christmas. I learned SO MUCH, and it has been fun to pass on what I am learning to my Pilates students and friends. :) 

43. The Prayer of Faith by J.O. Fraser

What a gem of a book! It is short and sweet and to the point. My husband had it from years ago, and I just grabbed it off the bookshelf when I went to go on a prayer retreat. James O. Fraser was a British missionary with China Inland Mission (Now Overseas Missionary Fellowship). He ministered to the Lisu people in China in the early 1900's. So sweet! 
Here is a link to the online version:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday Twelve Freewrite

I just got back from my six month skin cancer check, and I had just one biopsy this time (the last two times were four each with one being melanoma)! 

I have a whole day to answer my discussion questions and study for my midterm due on November 8. Other than the doctor's appointment at 8:20 am (and I got a interval training walk/run up there and back) and a Skype meeting with Elizabeth at 8 pm tonight, I have a very undisturbed day to study. I like having large chunks of time to be able to get lost in the material because I find the material so fascinating. 

For the discussion questions this week, I have to explain why plyometrics is important and beneficial for an advanced client interested in hypertrophy (muscle mass gain), explain how I would regress a plyometric training program for a deconditioned and an elder client, and design a speed, agility, and quickness drill for a weight loss client. These discussion questions take a lot of time, but I like that it forces me to practically apply everything I am learning from the book. So that is beneficial. 

My Pilates classes are going well. I have so many students that want special exceptions to make up their classes though, and that is a bit unnerving for me. There is a lot of sickness going around, and I can see doing it for someone who has sickness that they cannot do anything about. I guess it doesn't hurt them to ask. 

I have really enjoyed doing #100happydays every day. I am on Day 36, and it is so helpful to look for the happy in each day, which actually is not too hard for me since I am, for the most part, a pretty happy person. I think it has been really good for my friends who tend to "catastrophize" and agonize every day. It really helps them seek it out and relish it. 

So far here are my happies for the day in the last 2 minutes of this freewrite:

  1. Waking up very early
  2. Having a good kind of soreness in my arms and latissimus dorsi after doing the Theraband for three Pilates classes yesterday
  3. Listening to Steve's sermon on 1 Peter 3:8-18 that I missed because I had to teach two Sunday School classes 
  4. Learning about plyometrics, and speed, agility, and quickness drills
  5. Finding a stash of Earl Grey tea I did not know I had
  6. Earl Grey with 2% milk - oh my!
  7. Interval training up the hill to my derm appointment
  8. The receptionist was nice this time
  9. I only had one biopsy and got to catch up with my doctor friend

There is the bell. I think that is a lot of happies for only 9:42 in the morning! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Another Reason to do Pilates: Beautiful Bowel Movements

I realized something the other day. I noticed that I have had very regular and easy bowel movements over the last few months. (Sorry if that is TMI.) I have cut down on caffeine in the mornings. I have always thought that was helpful in that cause. 

I realized this regularity was coinciding with my increase in doing Pilates. I have been doing the exercises very consistently since I decided to become certified as an instructor in late June/early July. Before, it was hit or miss, maybe once a week or twice a week. Now, I do it three times on Mondays and Wednesdays and at least once on another three days of the week. 

Could there be a connection between my regularity and Pilates? I went to Google it, and this article gave me my answer: 

Here is the excerpt about Pilates from that article: 


Exercises to Stimulate Bowel Movement
Pilates Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Pilates workouts put a huge demand on your core for the entire workout, and force you to breathe deeply through discomfort. The near-constant contraction of the abs combined with the tightly controlled movement of the limbs can stimulate the bowels in much the same way as ab work. The breathing techniques can help you relax and focus when nature finally calls. Try the double leg stretch, leg circles or teasers for thorough results.
I will comment that I would NOT try the Teaser until you have worked up to that challenge, even taking a class from a certified instructor (like me!). 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Freewrite

It is 1:19 pm, and I am going to write for fifteen uninterrupted minutes. I have not written as much the past few months, and that is mainly because my Big Hairy Audacious Goal of the Bible Book Club was completed. I still love to do it though, and somehow I think there is a book somewhere in here. 

I had two great Pilates classes this morning, and I have one more to go. I did more observing and less demonstrating today. We have a few new exercises that we added that I did demonstrate because they are new, but I wanted to watch around the room, and by Jove, I think these students are really getting it. 

I think my second class really like the stability balls too. So, I will bring them back after I do a Theraband class next Monday. Some said they were sore from the class, and that is great! I like to challenge them. 

I messed up on one exercise today though, and it bugs me that I did. I also had a hard time explaining the Tick-Tock exercise because I had never explained it before! LOL! I really like the people in both my classes though. Very nice students. It is a pleasure. 

The class at night on Monday turned out to be FOUR people from the same church. What is the probability of that? SO fun. Two out of the four were new, and we did the stability ball. So, it was a challenging class to come to. Really challenging. 

Well, now I am wondering what else I am going to freewrite about since it has only been five minutes, and I have ten more to go, and I really should eat my lunch and get back to studying my Unit 4 chapters! I am so close to being able to study for the midterm, and I am very excited about that. That will mean I am half way through my Personal Training Exam Prep Course. That is so nice. It is a LOT more work than I had expected it to me with lots of deadlines and minimum grades that are expected of  us, but it is keeping me on track and good preparation for the exam. They guarantee you will pass if you meet all the requirements of the course or you get your money back, but they make meeting all the requirements pretty tough, and quite honestly, one of the parameters of grading is VERY subjective. So, there is room for making everyone ineligible for the money back guarantee by not getting a high enough score on the subjective measurement. I think the most time consuming thing in the test prep is answering the discussion questions every week. I spent HOURS crafting my response for Unit 2, and I get no feedback as to why I go at 3 out of 4 instead of a 4. So, that sort of bugged me, but then I realized that is really does not matter because I am pretty sure I can pass it. So, I shouldn't worry about getting perfect score in the test prep course because it is a "grade" that means absolutely nothing. What is most important is passing the exam that I hope to take in December. 

What I do like about it is that it is not an easy exam by all I have heard. It has a good mixture of science and practicality. The teaching videos every week are very informative. So I am learning a lot. In fact, last night,  I stayed up late just reading my chapters that are not even due until next week because I took my quiz that is not due until Sunday on Tuesday instead. 

Bottom line: I love to learn new things. I also love to pass those new things off to my students!

Well, I don't care if it has not been 15 minutes. It has been 12, and that is good enough for me!


Sunday Seventeen Freewrite

  New Tea Pot and One of the Cups I have not written a freewrite for so long. I thought I would write in a different font. I am going to try...