I Need Less Talk And More Walk

Life’s Simple Guide To God is turning out to be a creepy book.  Seriously, I’m getting jumpy and starting to look over my shoulder so often that my neck is getting stiff.  It’s like the authors have a window into my mind and wrote this book just for me.  I know that sounds egocentric, but the world is flat and all roads lead to ME, right? [For those who haven’t grasped my humor, this was my unruly sarcasm coming through.]

Okay, I’m back.  I was having trouble coming up with a topic for my Sunday post.  I thought I’d write about the women’s retreat I went to a couple weeks ago, but right now, none of the topics are begging to be written.  I opened up my Life’s Simple Guide To God book and flipped a couple pages (I haven’t read it for several days) and found this subject:  Practice More Walk, Less Talk.

In this topic, the authors point out that while our words are good, they are not enough.  If we encourage others to put their faith in God, our lives should reflect that we have put our trust in God.  If we tell others that we should love each other, but don’t follow through by loving people in our lives, then we are hypocrites and our words are diluted, if not meaningless.

This is so true – our actions do have so much more impact than our words.  With my kids, I am constantly talking to them about manners.  I remind them to say “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”; scold them for interrupting; lecture them that burping doesn’t belong at the table; and nag them to use napkins instead of their shirts.  Still, in nearly every social situation, they need a nudge to shift their manners into gear. 

A few weeks ago, we took the kids to a theme park.  I spent most of the day in the kiddie section with my younger son.  I noticed that many of the ride operators looked bored and that not many people acknowledged them, so I made a point to say “thank you” as we exited each ride.  To my surprise, my younger son started saying “thank you” after a couple rides.  I practiced the walk with my manners, and he took notice – more so than me telling him to be polite. 

Kindness Can Brighten Someone's Day

After I returned home from the women’s retreat, I was so excited to read more of the scriptures that were referenced, continue with my reading of Matthew in the Bible, and possibly learn more about myself.  I learned more about myself all right.

I discovered that I’m a lazy procrastinator.  Well, to be honest, that’s not a complete surprise – procrastination runs in the family, along with stubbornness and diabetes.  Now, if I can’t make time to do these things I really wanted to do, you can imagine where this leaves the tasks I don’t want to do, right?

I’ve talked about embarking on this spiritual journey, but this week, it was all talk – there was no walking.  I felt farther from God than I have in a long time.  I’m left with a vague sense of failure because this week, I let others’ negativity bring me down, my patience went missing, I worried about the state of the world and spoke in anger – and I did this all by myself.  At no point did I say a prayer and ask God for strength, patience, peace or understanding.

Acknowledging failure is the first step to unburden myself from it.  I truly dislike the idea of scheduling every detail of my day, but I’ve seen that left to my own devices, important things won’t get accomplished.  So that my spiritual journey doesn’t stall, I’m going to have to schedule reading and reflection time every night. 

I don’t expect perfection from myself, but I do challenge myself to put forth my best effort (which I did not do this past week).  I won’t dwell on this because I look down this past week’s long tunnel of failure, and beyond that, I see the hope of next week and the opportunity to be a better “me.”

How do you get yourself “right” after a week that’s gone “wrong?”

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Turns Out That Bribery is No Substitution for Will Power

Back in November, I did a post announcing that I was going to participate in the Holiday Weight Loss Challenge at my work.   (Click here to read that post.)  Well, mid-January has passed and my weigh-in is history.  How do you think I did?

  1. Held my own – nothing lost, nothing gained
  2. Failed miserably – hello hips!
  3. Lost a few – lightened my load

By some miracle (or near starvation) I lost four pounds – c. is the correct answer.  My teammate also lost a couple pounds, so we succeeded at the challenge, according to the rules of the contest. 

Before you get too excited, I have a confession to make:  I didn’t change my eating habits drastically until the last week.  The challenge acted more like a speed bump; it slowed me down a bit, but didn’t stop me.  Of course I inflicted a respectful amount of guilt upon myself every time I ate something sweet or snacky.  During the last week, I ate mostly salads.  If I didn’t have a partner, I probably wouldn’t have even done that much.

While I’m unburdening myself, I’d like to also confess that I have not tried any of the exercises that I clipped out of my October issue of Health magazine.  That’s right; I have not done even one of the exercises once.  The dog-eared pages have been waiting patiently for me to visit again, and I have failed them.  Yet I can’t bring myself to recycle the magazine because I *might* try them someday.  (This is the same argument that I have when it comes to evaluating the clothing in my closet:  I can’t get rid of “X” because I could still wear it.  It doesn’t matter that I haven’t worn it since 1999.)

I have to admit that the challenge has taught me one thing:  bribery cannot take the place of will power.  Since I have no will power, I’m left exactly where I started – or worse, because I didn’t win any of the prizes in the drawings, and this is how I celebrated my meager weight loss:

I didn’t think it was possible, but yes, I have sunk to a new low.  I devoured a medium Oreo Cookie Blizzard.  I’d say that pretty much cancelled out the four pounds…but what a yummy way to gain 🙂  I’m hoping that I show more will power with working on my second novel in 2011.  On that note, I’d better get writing!

What’s your most successful way to get on track after straying from your goals?

Delusions of Genius, But Technology Wins…Again

I bought an all in one copier/printer/fax/scanner just before Christmas.  Upon its arrival, I slit open the box and lifted the flaps to see the top of the large printer.  I’m not sure exactly why I did this, because I knew I wouldn’t set it up yet.  I guess I wanted to make sure they didn’t pack a lead blender in the box instead.   

For five weeks the large box sat in my dining room as a reminder of my procrastinating ways.  This box lived only a few feet away from the still-packaged towel rack that I bought nearly two years ago (to replace an old one that is barely hanging on the wall).  All this time, I vacuumed around it, stepped over it and did my best to ignore it. 

It’s like subconsciously I knew that disconnecting my dinosaur fax machine and ten-year-old printer would bring misery and misfortune.  Dramatic?  Yes!  But sometimes the truth has a theatric flair.  I looked at the tangle of cords under my desk.  Years of inattention allowed them to twist into a pit of angry snakes ready to attack. 

They look angry...

On Sunday, a friend had some information about a contractor friend of hers to share with me and asked if I wanted to make a copy.  Yeah, I wanted a copy, but I had to admit to her that I couldn’t make a copy because I didn’t have the printer set up yet.  I missed out on that one.

That evening, I resolved to attack the task, figuratively speaking.  I enlisted hubby to remove the printer from the box because it was heavy.  He did the brawny work and I grabbed the instruction manual, turning it to page one to start my set up journey.  I verified that I had all of the parts and although I was a bit intimidated by the flow chart of the steps I had to go through, I soldiered on.

Maybe I should do this a different day...

Each step had the English and Spanish instructions side-by-side.  This was a bit confusing for me – I like it better when the manual is all in English and other translations follow in separate sections of the manual.  I’d write Canon to let them know this, but I’m 99.9% sure they don’t care.

I inserted the printer head backwards at first because I couldn’t follow written or pictorial instructions.  Luckily, my eight-year-old son approached at that time to advise me I wasn’t holding the part like it showed in the picture.  Ah.  I followed his directions, given in his ‘are-you-really-this-dumb’ tone of voice, and voila!  It snapped into place.  The manual stated that this part should not be removed unnecessarily once in place.  No worries.  I guarantee it will remain in place until the printer chugs out its last printed page.

I unwrapped and inserted all five of the ink cartridges, loaded paper in the bottom tray, set up the fax settings, installed the software on my computer and set the printer up on my wireless network.  I felt like a genius when I opened a test document, selected print and the page actually printed on my new printer.  Never mind that an eight-year-old came to my aid.

Last night, I tried to set up my husband’s PC to use the printer, but the printer couldn’t be detected.  I followed the troubleshooting steps and messed with several network settings I probably had no business getting into.  It still didn’t work.  Finally, I found the IP address of the printer and added it manually to his computer.    Ha!  I am genius, I thought with a smirk on my face.

I fixed it all right.  The computer recognizes the printer now.  The good news is that I can finally get stuff to print.  The bad news?  Anything printed remains in the printer queue and has to be manually deleted after the pages print. 

Yep, reality has wiped away all delusions of genius (and that smirk off my face).  I humbly admit my defeat to technology.  Now I remember why I still used a fax machine and printer that could’ve been on display in the Smithsonian…

Technology has the upper hand with me.  What about you?  Who’s boss – you or technology?

2011 Calendar? (check); January Budget? (check); Resolutions? (Not Quite!)

Over the past week, I’ve seen many blog posts dealing with the upcoming New Year.  Most of them are hyping up resolutions, and others are tearing them apart.  My apathy toward resolution-making leaves me in neither camp; I can take them or leave them (though I generally choose to leave them.)

I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud, but I don’t see the big deal about the calendar flipping over to a new year.  In fact, I’ll still be writing ‘2010’ until at least March.  I haven’t felt the need to stay up to see the precise moment midnight rolls around to a new year since…well, way before children.  It’s not like it provides a clean slate, because the only real fresh starts you get are the day you were born and the day you die – everything else is just scribbles on the board of life that will have to be dealt with whether it’s January 1st or September 23rd.

Really, I’m not a negative person (though I’m aware those unconvincing words are usually uttered by those denying who they really are.)  I just see things a little differently, that’s all.  I don’t need champagne, party hats, confetti, or to watch a sparkly ball drop over Times Square to have hope for change in my life.  To be honest, I’m still coming off the holiday high (and I’m planning my son’s birthday party, which is in less than 2 weeks) – the last thing I need is to jump into a change commitment.  That would be like bumping into an old acquaintance and suggesting we “do lunch,” even though I never intended to see her again, much less share a meal with her. 

yummy (evil) Oreos

I don’t make it a habit to set myself up for failure – or make commitments I cannot keep.  I’ve tried the resolution thing before.  One year, I decided I would ditch the sweets (cookies and chocolate, mainly.)  I did well.  For two days.  On the third day, I bought a package of Double Stuff Oreo cookies. 

Poor things didn’t stand a chance; they never saw the second week of January.  Folks, it doesn’t get much lower than that.  (Unless I were the drinking type and had a bottle of coconut rum stashed in the cabinet.)

Now if I naturally had will power and motivation, I might feel differently about resolutions.  Although, I doubt I’d need a resolution then, because I’d already have myself together.  There are areas in my life, such as writing, where I discipline myself.  So, I know for sure that if I want something to change badly enough, I will make it happen on my own terms – not because the calendar says it’s time.

Just so you know that I hold no animosity toward the new calendar year:

 

Tell me, what’s your view on resolutions?  Do you make them, break them – or fake them?