Monday, April 23, 2012

Frame of mind

I never plan to turn this into a religious blog, but it's no secret that I've been going to church now for a while, and am actually enjoying the messages.

The most recent series our Pastor is presenting is called A Beautiful Mind. The series is about reshaping your future by reshaping your thoughts, and embracing the life God has planned for you.
I missed the first part of the series, but was there Sunday for the second part, and watched the recap. I also watched this video, which they're showing as an introduction. It's an amazing message, if you really stop and listen.

Even if you don't believe in religion, or even in God, I think the idea that repeated behaviors set the tone for your life is powerful. What's even more powerful is the idea that, in order to change the direction of your life, you first have to change your perspective - and your behavior.
Think of it this way: A single behavior maps out a dirt road in your brain, creating a basic pathway for your thoughts to travel. As you repeat behaviors, your brain builds a highway, allowing for increased volume and frequency of thoughts to move about, resulting in your day to day actions. In order to change our behavior, we must reprogram our brain. It requires the deconstruction of existing highways, and is a process that takes time. (Northway Church)
I think you can apply that to any part of your life. Whether it's learning to be more disciplined with your finances, or exercising more, eating better, quitting smoking, changing a bad habit - whatever. You can change anything, but it takes time to tear down old highways, and build new ones.
In time, the result is an entirely new neurological road-map, leading you to the life you were meant to live. 
The message? Commit to whatever positive change you want to make - and keep making the change every day. Eventually, that good habit will be your repeated behavior.

You can get on the right path - and in time, you'll build a super-highway to the truly good, happy life you were meant to live.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I've heard people say that taking a break from social media is a good thing. That's it's nice to disconnect, not feel so obligated to so many sites, and people. To be able to just concentrate on the people and places right in front of you.

It sounds so...zen. Which, apparently, I am not.

RIP, Rosie.
My phone died. I love her. I got her last year, and named her Rosie, after the robot-housekeeper on the Jetsons. She's an HTC EVO Shift - and she's amazing. (Oddly enough, several months after getting - and naming - the phone, I found a factory-installed app called "Rosie Utility." Weird, right?)

After coming back from vacation, I started to notice Rosie wasn't holding a charge. I thought it was my charger. Then I thought it might be the battery. I replaced the battery - and promptly learned that wasn't the problem.

It took five trips to four different Sprint stores to figure out that the problem really was the charger port, that the phone needed to be replaced, and that I had purchased full protection, so that replacement would be at no cost to me.

But it also turns out that this particular phone is on back-order, so there's no guarantee the phone will be shipped right away. I have no way to charge my phone, and I was not successful in locating a standalone charger compatible with my battery. That left me two options - go without, or activate an old phone.

She's no Rosie - but she'll do.
I happened to be digging through a nightstand drawer that day, so I knew I had an old phone. When I say old - I mean old. It's a relic, from a simpler time. (OK - it's four years old; but in technology years, that's practically ancient.)

One more trip back to Sprint, and it was activated (SN: I attempted to do that myself online, but going back to a non-smart phone required a plan change, and I didn't want to nuts myself up for when Rosie II arrives.). I'm back up and running.


No apps. I can barely view a photo (the camera on this phone is 1.3MP). There's no browser to speak of, and if there was, the screen is too small anyway. This phone was built for text messaging - and nothing else, outside of actually making a phone call. I can't check facebook; I can't check in on foursquare. I can't record my calories on My Fitness Pal (though I suppose I could use the site; I'm just so used to the phone app). Twitter is near impossible, at least at work.

I'm in a forced social media cleanse - and not at all happy about it.

See, I don't really find social media to be taxing. I like feeling connected. I like being able to check my email, tweet a picture of my yummy dinner, comment on my friend's status, find a movie and buy a ticket, and get directions to a theater all from the palm of my hand. I don't consider that an intrusion.

But I also don't let it rule my life. If I'm having fun with a group of people (or just one special person) - I have no problem putting the phone down and ignoring the notification light. If I need some time to myself, I can totally focus on a movie, or a project, or a baseball game - and not think about my email or facebook, at all.

I don't mind being disconnected. I just don't like when it's not my decision.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm pinned

It doesn't take much to get me to try a new social networking site. It does take something to get me hooked.

I'm not sure what that something is - but Pinterest has it.

I read recently that something like 90% of Pinterest users are women. 90%. It's interesting that a social networking site would be so polarized by gender, but in the case of Pinterest, it sort of makes sense. Women like to find pretty things, and share them with each other.

Men like pretty things, too. And they like to share pictures....but they're usually the sort you can't really post on Pinterest.

But shoes, and purses, and outfits, and jewelry...yummy food....pretty ideas....funny quotes....? There's a pin for that.

The best part? The original pin will always reveal the source - so you can find the recipe for that taco dip, or the store/site to buy those shoes.

I'm addicted. Follow me here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Movie Monday: Titanic

When this movie was first released, I had no interest in seeing it in the theaters. I really don't like Leonardo DiCaprio, and I figured there was no point. I mean - we know how it ends, right? 

You mean to tell me they wouldn't have seen that iceberg?
Then I learned that the "lower-class" passengers were prohibited from even attempting to escape, because the Captain and crew wanted to save room in life-boats for the people with more money.

Then I had no interest in seeing the movie. Ever. 

Yes, I get that it's history. I get that the movie isn't a statement in support of that action, just a factual portrayal of how things went down. That doesn't mean I have to like it.

Somehow, I ended up seeing the movie when it came on HBO. Know what? It was even worse than I imagined - and I chalked it up to 2+ hours I can't ever have back. 

This weekend marked the anniversary of the Titanic tragedy - and the re-release of the movie (in 3D, no less). 

Obviously, if they went to the trouble and expense of not only re-releasing the movie, but also showing it in 3D, the studio must feel there's money to be made. And I'm sure they're right - people will flock to theaters to experience the movie one more time. 

I still don't understand. Why? 

Jack and Rose didn't really exist. It's not likely that any Romeo and Juliet inspired romances blossomed on the ship. So it's not like that part is really historical. As far as it being romantic? Well, let's face it - if Rose really loved Jack, she could have made room on that piece of wood. At the very least, they could have taken turns, so no one had to freeze to death. 

At the end of the day, the movie is just a really sad statement on how greedy, unprepared, and grossly-negligent the ship owners and crew were. It's a also a sad portrayal of how society placed (places?) value on lives based on the value of their bank account. 

And it's still got Leonardo DiCaprio. Now, if they remade the movie with Chris Hemsworth...that'd be something.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Worry or believe

A couple weeks back, I went to see Joel Osteen. Have you heard of him? He's what local Pastors hope to be - his congregation is about 40,000 (that's just in-person), and his church is an arena. He goes on tour. And I'm sure he's a multi-millionaire.

Some people have a problem with seeing God through the eyes of someone who uses it as a way to lead a life of excess. They say that, if he really believed the word of God, he'd live a more modest lifestyle and use more of his ministry's money to help those less fortunate.

I can see that point - and it's one we could debate all day. I personally don't have a problem with him being wealthy - of course, it also makes me even less likely to tithe any of my money. You know, me not being a multi-millionaire, and all.

But that doesn't mean he doesn't have something good to say. His message is very positive, and very powerful, and truly makes a lot of sense. Even if you don't have a "formal" relationship with God, Osteen has a lot to say about living a positive life, and putting out positive energy.
"It takes the same amount of energy to believe as it does to worry."
I used to be a worrier. Everything bothered me, and everything was a huge deal - or a tragedy. That is such a tiring way to live. It took me a while, but I did eventually learn that you can be happy just by putting all that energy into being happy.

If you're going to spend the energy anyway, doesn't that make more sense?

Whether you see it has having faith in God, or yourself - or even the Easter Bunny - when you find yourself worrying, or upset over something you can't change, try to focus on finding the positive. Or at least setting aside the negative and figuring out a way it can be worse (because it almost always can).

I have found that even though I can't always change my circumstances, changing how I view them has almost the same effect. I may still have the same problem, but I'm happier and better able to manage my way through.

And isn't that what I was worried about, anyway?

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I'm on vacation - though today is my last day in our lovely destination. Tomorrow, we begin a very long drive home - even longer because there are two youngsters in the car. Yay! They're super-cool kids, though, and I've had a wonderful time. No complaints.

But, being on vacation has made me think about a few things. Specifically, how it seems that for each thing I like about vacation, there seems to be something I don't.

I think that's the good thing about vacation. I mean - you wouldn't want to go on a vacation that made you never want to get back to real life...if you did, you'd end up hating your reality. And who wants to live like that?

I think a good vacation is one that offers you a break, and a chance to recharge - while reminding you of all you have at home.

The three things I like (the most) about vacation (in no particular order):

  • No alarm clock/watch
  • The sound of the surf when I'm sleeping
  • Ocean air means no allergies
Of course, there's always the things I like least (also in no particular order):
  • Temptation to stray from my diet
  • Missing my favorite person
  • Missing my kitties
Believe it or not, I've been counting my calories while I've been away. I know I've gone over - but I also know by how much, so it's not like I just went hog-wild. I also did make it to the resort's fitness center two nights this week. Honestly - none of the cardio choices are arthritis-friendly, so I actually don't think it did me too much good, except to keep me in the routine. 

Something else that's hard to believe? In addition to getting back to my favorite people (and Pudge and Joe), I'm actually looking forward to getting back to my exercise routine. I know, right? I was as surprised as you. 

Mostly, I'm homesick for my favorite people, my home, and the spring weather I left behind. I guess for me, the best part of vacation is that it reminds me of all I have worth missing.