As I prepare to greet the New Year I’m less-than-surprisingly full of nostalgia, wistfulness, and hope. Here’s a few lists to let you know where my heart is:

13 Things I Learned In 2013

1. Jersey knit is worth it

2. Live frugally and travel lavishly

3. Group travel is perhaps not for me

4. The world is bigger than my backyard… but a lot more accessible than I thought

5. I want to make a difference somehow, somewhere

6. Tomatoes are delicious… who’d’ve thought?

7. Genuine community is so, so important

8. Confrontation and conflict are not scary things, and I can do it

9. I love to garden

10. I love cold weather, but I also love to be tan

11. God is so, so, so big… and so faithful

12. I used to be slightly annoyed by small children… now? bring ’em all on!

13. I have value. I am worth it. No matter what

14 Things I Hope To Experience in 2014

1. Get a job that inspires and encourages me…and maybe others

2. Legitimately pursue theatre… in particular to send in headshots/audition for some Shakespeare companies

3. Dates (let’s be honest… it’s about time, right?)

4. Camping in Kentucky (how have I been here this long and not done this yet?)

5. More time with my family and more reunions with friends who live far away

6. Fun In The Sun. things like: early-evening movies at a park, going on actual hikes, outdoor theatre, outdoor concerts, a boat ride somewhere

7. Grow something

8. A boost of self-discipline in the form of healthy eating, a more consistent active lifestyle, and a more positive outlook on my body

9. Something surprising

10. Farm life

11. Find out if my writing can take me anywhere new

12. More volunteering in my community

13. Become a motivational speaker

14. Inspire and encourage others to live bigger and love harder

here’s to esteeming the past and embracing the future



what’s next? or, how YOU can help

Family, friends, readers of all ages: I need your help.

In two months I will be embarking on a trip HOME and, having said that, I will be coming home to nearly nothing: no apartment, no furniture, no job.

I am SO excited.

I have infinite possibilities in front of me, infinite opportunities to go anywhere and do anything.

However, I have felt for awhile now that I have failed myself on several levels by not giving myself a real shot at theatre. It’s the first interest, the first passion I ever had. I ended up going to college to study theatre more, and ended up with a degree in it.  But I told myself for years I didn’t need or want that life, or that I’d rather wait ‘til I got married and then move somewhere to start auditioning. And so I have put off for a long, long time the deepest desire of my heart, and the first passion the Lord ever gave me.

But no more.

I owe it to myself, to my future happiness, and to the happiness of my future husband and children to be a whole person, to have chased after my dreams with reckless abandon. If there is anything that the World Race has taught me, it is to have no fear. So I go.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

I am also looking to continue growing in financial maturity and freedom. My immediate plan is to find a job and work there for one year before I begin auditioning, saving money and paying off debt.

I have spent the last several years of my life working in multiple dead-end, “part-time,” no benefits, minimum-wage jobs that made me a helpless, frustrated mess. I am now looking for a job that will challenge and inspire me, one I will be excited to wake up in the morning to go do. I’ve been praying about and mulling over the possibilities of working as a Personal Assistant- a varied and challenging job, one I feel very equipped to handle (what with my organizational skills, love of planning, and unadulterated enthusiasm for life).

Here is how you can help:

In a few days we’ll be moving to China, perhaps to a place where internet usage might be unreliable or inaccessible. I will be praying and practicing Staying Present as I finish my last two months on the Race. However, it’s nice to prepare for the unknown as well.

If you know someone in the market for a personal assistant (beginning at the earliest after New Years), let me know! I have a resume ready to be emailed out in an instant. My goal is to move to a city where there is an active theatre district. In a perfect world, that city would be Washington, D.C. (heeeeey, American Shakespeare Center!). Others in my list of top places to live include Seattle, Portland, and Atlanta. So you see I’m willing to move almost anywhere.

Before we left for the Race I sold 99% of everything I own in order to chase God wherever He leads. I believe He is leading me to a new season of adulthood and womanhood and living in a place that affords me opportunities I don’t have in my place of permanent residence.

This decision has come with a lot of heartache in leaving behind my loved ones, and a lot of excitement at finally having the courage to pursue my dreams. If you have any ideas where to go from here, help a girl out!

Thanks, and blessings to you all!

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

genocide: what do we do?

Warning: There is graphic content and language in this blog. Take care to read at your own risk.

A few days ago we went to visit the Kigali Memorial Centre, a museum, research center, and mass grave dedicating to remembering the past and educating for the future. In other words, it was a lesson in the atrocities of the Genocide here in Rwanda, less than 20 years ago.

From andimoore.theworldrace.orgsculpture depicting a Tutsi chained to a tree before being killed

It caused a lot more emotions than I was prepared for. There were videos of people actually getting beaten to death by clubs and machetes- albeit the videos were taken from a distance and were shaky but there you have it. There was a mass grave outside where the bodies of over 250,000 people were buried. Inside, there was a room with femurs and skulls that had been crashed, cracked, and severed- all remains of people who had been brutally murdered. There was a room with clothing, shoes, and other personal belongings. On the second floor was a room dedicated to children that had been murdered- there were large illuminated photos of different children, ranging in age from 17 years to a few months old, and underneath were names, favorite foods and activities, and how they had been killed. One infant had been picked up by his legs and slammed against a wall. A pair of siblings, both under 4 years old had been killed when someone threw a grenade into the shower where they were hiding. One young girl had her last words recorded, “Mum, where can I run to?” before she was hacked to death by a machete.

From andimoore.theworldrace.orgthe last photo of Ariane before she was murdered

Not only were people mercilessly slaughtered, the goal was to humiliate them and make death more painful, both physically and emotionally, than imaginable. People were forced to watch as their daughters, mothers, and grandmothers were raped and mutilated before death. Children were forced to watch their fathers being tortured as long as life could cling to their bodies, and vice versa. Imagine the woman who raised you being beaten to death slowly in front of your eyes. Hear her screams.

This is what survivors have carried with them their entire lives.

From andimoore.theworldrace.orgas well as scars like these, from attempted murder
[photo via: Time Lightbox]

There is even a story of thousands of people fleeing to a church where they thought the priest would care for and shelter them. That’s his job, right? That’s the job of a shepherd of the flock? You would think. This priest, however, signaled the militia that the cockroaches were hiding inside his church, and they quickly became target practice. Not a single soul survived.

The thing that ruined me the most was the story of a young man and woman who had been chained together and buried alive. When their bodies were exhumed later, they were still chained together. The actual chain had been kept and ultimately donated to the museum. I stood staring at it for a long, long time. Above the chain was a picture of the young man and woman, standing in a group of friends- everyone was smiling, laughing.

It’s hard to imagine how something like that could happen. Such a declaration has been so overused with all the atrocities this world has seen over its vast history, but it is nonetheless a true statement. Having never, myself, lived through such horrors, it’s difficult to put myself in a place to feel truly empathetically with the survivors.

I’ve been asking myself how could something like this happen? How could people desensitize themselves to the point that they could do something like this… that they could kill again and again and again, without mercy or remorse?? We asked these questions after The Holocaust, after the Khmer Rouge’s campaign, after the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire after World War I.  According to Wikipedia there are several stages and influences leading to genocide:

  1. Classification
  2. Symbolization
  3. Dehumanization
  4. Organization
  5. Polarization
  6. Preparation
  7. Extermination, and
  8. Denial

And while each stage is important to the flow of the hate wave, I want to focus on what I think to be the most essential stage: dehumanization.

In Rwanda, the Genocide is classified as the killing of the Tutsis by the Hutus. The Hutus were raised, taught, influenced to believe that the Tutsis (originally in the very same tribe, but characterized and divided later by European force) were less than they, were- in their words- cockroaches. Hate messages were broadcast widely via person-to-person, newspaper, and radio. The term was used so freely, commonly, and passionately that it began to numb and desensitize the Hutus to the Tutsis’ actual human heritage. Hearing these terms, listening to these messages of hate and intolerance has an actual psychological impact on a person, creating a false and calloused sense of reality and relationship with other humans.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
actual footage from the Rwandan massacre
[photo via: I‘m Curious Too]

Do you realize that we engage in dehumanization and desensitization all the time? In fact, we even elect to partake in these things- willingly.

The teams have been listening to Andy Stanley’s Love, Sex, and Dating series, and we’ve been learning a lot about how to treat members of the opposite sex. In the second part of this series Andy says, in more or less words, this:

Men, if you are listening to music and you hear a woman being called a ‘bitch’ or a ‘whore’ you need to delete that music immediately. Get it off your ipod TODAY. You are allowing yourself to freely listen to music where women are being treated as less-than-human. You are allowing yourself to be fed with the idea that women are a commodity, there only for your pleasure or enjoyment, and not to be treated with respect or equality.”

Do we get that? Do we get that the music, the movies, the books we partake of are subconsciously influencing and challenging the ways we perceive other human beings? If I am consistently listening to music in which women are called “bitches” or “whores” or other less-commonly-accepted terms for receptacles of man’s desires, at some point or on some level I begin to agree. I begin to accept what I am being told, via a “cool beat” or “my favorite artist.” If I am reading books that promote the romanticism of kidnapping, molestation, or rape, at some point I come into agreement with it. How many movies have been made out of a novel series promoting how romantic it can be to fall in love with a captor… or a rapist? Angelina Jolie directed a movie about rape in the midst of war in Bosnia- In the Land of Blood and Honey. It was rumored that the main story arc at was a love story about a Bosnian woman and a Serb man who raped her during the country’s war. Jolie fought against these rumors, but the lines were so blurred about her intention and what was actually being portrayed that her permit to shoot the movie in that country was revoked. She eventually got it back, after conversing with wartime rape victims and a rape victim’s support group. But the damage had been done, and still continues to be done.

When you make light, or romanticize the horrors of inequality, rape, murder, or anything along this nature, you create in yourself an inability to see things as they truly are, and you begin to see things through a haze- as you teach yourself to think, or as is being taught to you via messages in the media or from someone you admire, or fear.

This can happen via your friends as well. Let’s say you have a friend who drops fat jokes all the time- someone you love or care about constantly picking out larger people in a crowd and going to town at their expense. How long do you think it will take before you begin to agree, either because you want to be on your friend’s “side” or because you just get used to hearing these kinds of insensitivities? How long before you stop viewing a larger person as a person, and you start seeing them only as their outward appearance? You might hear, or even say things like, it’s their own fault… or they brought it on themselves… and a person begins to become less and less of a person and more and more of a problem in your eyes. Prejudice (just another word for willing dehumanization of another) comes in all forms, not just skin color or gender.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
what do you see?
[photo via Confessions of a Twirly Girl]

How about we take it to the 21st Century? How many times a day do you look and laugh at memes depicting “fails” of a fat girl in a group of skinny girls, or a so-called “nerd” with a group of jocks? How often do you find your amusement at the expense of another? They’re called demotivational photos for a reason.

So what do we do? What small thing can we implement to avoid these atrocities? What are some steps we can take in our day-to-day lives to ensure that we as a collective world-wide community do not succumb to any stage of genocide and, in return, to ensure that we see all people- not just those who look like our own reflections- as people?

  1. Stop listening to music that dehumanizes women.
  2. Get rid of books/movies that romanticize the use of women, children, or minorities.
  3. Make yourself accountable to your friends (and vice versa) to avoid jokes, slurs, or other off-hand remarks about anyone who does not share the same gender, ethnicity, religion, country of origin, belief system, level of health, or level of intelligence as you and stick to it. It may be “cool” to drop Polish jokes or fat jokes, but avoid it at all costs. The more you joke about something, the less you see that particular type of person as a person.
  4. Encourage others to do the same.

As I was processing these ideas out loud, my teammate-for-the-month, Marianne, a girl with the most precious and loving heart, asked, “Why can’t we all just love puppies and flowers??” to which the response came, “We do! We do all begin with loving puppies and flowers. But eventually the message comes to us slowly and quietly that puppies are just mongrel-ly flea bags meant only for man’s possession and duty, and flowers are allergy-propagating graveyard art works and eventually the hearts and confetti we felt when we thought about puppies and flowers dissolves into darkness and hatred and cruelty.”

The only thing we can do is take action. It might not be “cool” to call others out into goodness and kindness and tolerance, but it is necessary above everything. Edmund Burke (depending on who you ask) once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Sometimes it’s not the saying of these things or the doing of these things that matters; it’s the seeing of and ignoring them that matter. Maybe it’s not you that needs to change a few things. Maybe it’s you that needs to start standing up for others.

We may not think these little things, like music and movies and jokes, add up but they do. They really, really do.

What are you going to do about it? How are you going to take steps in your every day life to prevent dehumanization at the basest level? Are there people in your life that you need to stick up for? Are there bullies that need to be brought to justice? How about in your own life? How are you going to begin changing even the way that you think, talk, interact? Are there words that you need to cut out of your vocabulary? Are there ways of speaking about others that you need to improve? Is there music on your ipod that you need to get rid of right now?

What are you going to do for the betterment of the world?

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

ode to my camera

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

I am a really lucky girl. Just really, really blessed. Before I left on the Race, my Mom and I went camera shopping with some extra money we had been given. We ended up at Best Buy and –such a small world we live in- an old friend just happened to be the camera expert there. Surprise! After much inquiry, conversation, and debate, and a quick check to see if I could get approved for a “credit card” there, my Mom and I decided on a Canon EOS Rebel t3i- an amazing camera. We paid half down, and my Mom- being as awesome as she is- is going to pay monthly on it until I get home and can pay whatever is left.

I’ve used it often. I love it.

And as of this morning, it’s gone missing. I don’t know if it was just lost, or stolen, but I do know that it’s gone. I looked around in a panic for nearly an hour until we had to leave for the day, employing the help of most everyone living in the house with me this month. We found nothing.

I’m devastated.

Growing up poor, you don’t own many really nice things. This was something I was really proud of, and something I loved very much. I was so blessed in having it, and in having the ability to capture forever the people and places we have been so lucky to see.

I’m really devastated.

I’m still praying that Jesus will manifest it out of thin air, that it will appear in a place I could never have thought to have looked, or even that it will show up in such an obvious place that I feel embarrassed. Anywhere, really. Our teams are preparing to move to a new country in 2 days. So I have 2 days to locate it, or to move on and prepare myself to finish paying for something I no longer have.

It’s currently 12:36 in the morning, and there is nothing for me to do. Another girl, in her great love for people, searched high and low today while we were gone, and I’m confident she left no place unmolested. I have no doubt that it is not in this house. There is nothing left for me to do tonight, but I can’t sleep.

So I’m playing the thankful game.

I am so thankful for my health. I am thankful that I have sore muscles from hiking up a beautiful mountain today.

I am so thankful that the people I love most in this world are alive and well, and also very healthy.

I am so thankful to have my sight, to be able to see the things God has created. It is such a beautiful, wonderful world in which we live, and I am so grateful to experience it in all its fullness.

I am so thankful to be here- now- to be God’s hands and feet in a place (in numerous places) that I never even dreamed of going.

I am so thankful to be part of my team, a team that constantly challenges me to grow and mature and become more like my Jesus, even (and especially) when it’s really, really tough.

I am so thankful that my teammate Freweini had such great grace for me that she took it upon herself to take photos of and for me all day yesterday, because she knew I was upset about not having my camera, and she wanted to love me.

I am so thankful that that same teammate has a desire to train for a 5K, so that I now have motivation and accountability to run, too.

I am so thankful to have the ability to run, and dance, and jump, and move my body in complete freedom.

I am so thankful to have the support group I have at home- not just financially, but emotionally and spiritually.

I am so thankful to have my laptop- to have a way of listening to music, watching movies, skyping with my family, and emailing my friends.

I am so thankful to have the mother that I do- a woman who is so proud of me and supports me in everything I do, even when it is as painful as a Race which takes me far away from her. I am so thankful to have a mother who lives to love me.

I am so thankful that, as of just this evening, I was able to download all the sermons I’ve missed from my church this year. Hearing my pastor’s voice- my pastor who is just like a father to me- is the sweetest part of home.

I am so thankful that tomorrow, when I wake up, I will be given the chance to choose love, to choose preference, to choose grace and kindness and mercy and gentleness. God has placed a new family in my life for this season, and I’m so thankful that tomorrow I get another opportunity to wake up and show them love, especially when so often I fail to prefer others over myself. Tomorrow is a new day. A new choice. I’m so thankful.

I am so thankful that my Jesus loves me so much, and that this moment in time, as painful and frustrating and emotional as it is (all you poor people out there can attest to how it feels to halfway own something and then lose it), it is just a moment in time, and life will move on. And it will move on beautifully. Jesus will see to it that my life is- and continues to be- blessed. Joyful. Awe-inspiring. Humbling. Incredible. Overwhelming. Soul-changing. World-changing. Abundant.

I really am so thankful to have had a really nice camera, even for 2 months. That’s so much more than I ever dreamed I would have. It’s so much more than I deserve to have. Daily I meet people who live off practically nothing and, sometimes, far less than that. I would love to have my camera back again, to document the things that happen around me, to make permanent these places in my memory. And if Jesus chooses to bless me in a miraculous way, to Him be the glory. And if not- if I finish this Race without a camera- then to Jesus be the glory. Forever and ever. Because He is worthy to be praised. And I will praise Him, and He will give me a memory for the things I need most to carry with me. I am so thankful for my Jesus, and how much He loves me, and how much He loves all His children. I am so lucky. I am so blessed.

To God be the glory, forever and ever.


resolution august: i have a blog?

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

It has come to my attention that I have rudely and painfully neglected my blog. What has it ever done to me to deserve such loneliness? Nothing!  So my new month’s resolution is to blog every single day. It might be just a little blurb, it might be a nice mini-monologue, it could even become a novel. You don’t know! I don’t know! But I’m anxious and excited to see what happens! See you tomorrow!

resolution july: the month without resolutions

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

I know what you must be thinking. But wait! This is her Year of Resolutions! She can’t miss a month! She’ll be…MISSING a month! And then it won’t be a year!

Fear not, loyal readers and supporters of my Year of Resolutions. Not all mandates should be absolute. My challenge this month is to continue making wise choices, complete my 78 ongoing-but-never-finished projects, and simply enjoy life without restrictions. Next month we will have another resolution, but this month is my reminder that life is not lived in black and white lines. It’s messy and blurry and flexible and…wonderful. I’ll let you know how it goes!

resolution June: conclusion

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

My month without fast food went really well, in general. It became more of a financial-awareness-and-also-healthy-eating type ordeal, without actually officially calling itself that. There was only really one time I actually got food from a fast-food joint, and I felt extremely guilty about it. So much so that I didn’t eat all my food. Which then made me feel wasteful. Ha! Vicious cycle.

Overall, it was a great exercise in financial awareness and management. On top of not buying meals from restaurants, I worked much more than I have been AND I dog/house sat all month. At the end of the month I literally paid over twice as many bills as I normally do in one month. It was incredible! I felt, maybe for the first time, truly like an adult. Work hard, pay tons of bills, reap the benefits of living responsibly and maturely.  This is definitely an exercise to continue with.

resolution june: financial awareness

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

In The Area Of Om Nom Nom

I know, I know…it’s not June. Yet. But finances have been on my mind quite a bit this month. More so than usual, and that’s a lot! I’ve been noticing just how very much I eat from fast food restaurants. It’s enough to be ashamed of for two lifetimes.  Not only am I ashamed of my serious lack of daily nutritional value, but think of how much money I spend buying meals from a drive thru! Wow. It’s a really overwhelming thought.

So my resolution for the ENTIRE month of June will be to avoid eating from any fast food restaurant. I will make an exception for sit-down meals, but only in the company of at least one other person (and it can’t have been my invitation or idea). If I go to a fast food place with a group of friends, I’ll eat beforehand. Period. It’s a month, I can do it.

 I think the hardest things for me are going to be the 2 weeks I’m dog- and house-sitting for friends, and any stinking time I go to a coffee shop. I will, however, make one exception to the rule on behalf of my serious addiction to coffee (and how very social drinking a cup of coffee is): I can purchase one cup of black coffee, or one cup of hot tea, both being around $1 ish. That’s not too bad. And I’ll be saving a bundle because I’m not drinking my regular $3.76 latte.

Now here is the kicker: ANY amount of money I even think about spending at any fast food place, any craving I can’t stop drooling over, will immediately be dedicated to bill-paying. I can’t imagine how much money I’ll not only be saving, but be using to (hopefully) pay a bill or two completely off.  I’ll keep a record for my own benefit (and to prove to myself how much of a glutton I am, both in the realm of food and finances).  At the end of the month I’ll be able to look back and see how much money I spend monthly on excess, and I’ll be able to make an informed, pre-persuaded decision to cut out excess luxury in my life, in order to be more financially fit. A tool, I hope, to carry on for the rest of my life, in the hopes of giving even more to missions, to charity, and to my family.

resolution may: physical health

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

I’m going to say this quickly, before my courage, motivation, and will-power abandon me.  My resolution for the month of May will be to work out 5 days a week, and if I work out a 6th day, I’ll reward myself with something (other than food). And that will be the only reward I get, because working out every day should be part of my lifestyle, not an occasional activity meriting a reward.

I’ve been really neglecting my physical health lately. Bearing the image of God, and being the abiding place of His Holy Spirit, I need to be more mindful of my body, and the things I’m allowing to “nourish” it. I’m starting with exercise, because for me- good habits beget good habits. It’s much easier for me to choose healthy meals and snacks when I know my body needs enough of the right kind of fuel to not just get through a day, but get through a workout.  Perhaps next month I will re-visit only making healthy food choices, or perhaps that will trickle in during this month of intentional exercise.  I know I attempted this in February, only to end the month with a severe sinus infection. Surprisingly enough, today is the first day of May AND the first day of a NEW sinus infection. But we press on anyway!

Now that this statement is public, I must hold myself to it, so…

Here’s to a month of being reminded of the importance of attention to my body and physical health!

resolution march: what?!?!

 originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

I really thought I had this month figured out. I really thought I had a decent handle on things. Really, I did!  I was going to focus this month on eating clean, healthy, and good.  Wherever I went, I would make the healthiest choice possible.  This wasn’t going to be a bunch of unrealistic limitations or boundaries, simply a chance to DECIDE to MAKE healthy CHOICES.  See? All within my grasp, even with as much as I adore sugar and carbs.

Then my sickness melted in from February. How do I eat healthy when all I want to do is be in bed?  Then a group of my friends and I helped my mom unload all her possessions from a uhaul into her new apartment, and she bought everyone pizza.  How do you get people to feel comfortable enough to just grab some pizza offered from a woman they just met, in an apartment they’ve never been to before?  You eat some first.  Then the youth group I work with had a pancake party.  How do you build relationships at a pancake party? You eat the dang pancakes.

Needless to say…………this month has not started well.  I met with my discipleship leader, Natalie, a few days ago, and it was the first chance in several weeks that we’d had to meet, due to her family being sick, and then my own sickness.  It was a really incredible time of discipleship, prayer, and refocusing. The main theme I got from this meeting was that it’s very apparent that this month is not meant for food or physical health.  This month is meant for the Lord, and my relationship with Him.

I have been having a drought of sorts in my relationship with the Lord.  I’ve been struggling to get through Leviticus (in my bible-in-a-year plan) and my prayer life has also been really affected lately. I haven’t felt the motivation to be with the Lord, and therefore I stopped actively seeking Him. My bible reading stopped, and my prayer life started drying up.  Storms? Storms I can handle.  Mountains, valleys….all the ups and downs that come with Life.  But drought?? The drying up of your emotions, of your experiences, of your soul, THAT is a struggle for me. THAT is what makes me hole up in a shed and hide somewhere.  THAT is what robs me of my intimacy with the Lord.

And since I have not yet addressed my relationship with the Lord, either in my monthly resolutions, or in my life in general, this month has become a month of the Lord.  They say that March is the best month for cleansing, be it physical, material, or spiritual.  And this is my spiritual cleansing month. I need to get rid of all my idols, anything and everything that takes my focus first before the Lord, and get back to the heart of Us.  Meaning my scripture reading and meditation returns, I actively sit and wait upon the Lord- to speak, to move, to show Himself to me.  If I truly believe in Him, and believe Him, I’ll start acting like it.  And that begins today.  One step at a time.  He’s just waiting for me to slow down and let Him in.

So bring it on, Lord.  I’m finally ready.  Bring it!

resolution february: conclusion

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

I started out this month REALLY great. I was working out every single day, sometimes 2-3 different workouts a day. My body felt great, my energy was up, I could really see some muscle tone improvement.

Then…….I got sick. I was sick for the last 2 weeks of February, and I didn’t work out ONE TIME. I’m still struggling to get my voice, health, and energy back. So I won’t be working out til that happens.

I do feel that, even though I didn’t finish an entire month of exercise, the month was a success.  I realized how good it felt to really take care of my body, and how much healthier I felt, in general.  As soon as I kick this sickness, I’ll hop back on the bandwagon and see if I can’t reach my goal weight before May.  Here we go!

resolution january: conclusion

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

I finished the month of January like a champ! 31 days without tv or movies or videos, and it was awesome. I even went several days into February without them. It’s already the 15th and I still haven’t actually watched a series on television (although I have since caught up on all my faves from last fall on hulu). Last night was the first time I sat down and watched a movie (having hosted a movie night for the girls in my youth group), but even then I couldn’t just sit and watch. After about 20 minutes I got up and grabbed my knitting. Ha!

I think it was a really great exercise for me, and really put things into perspective. Even with my ridiculously crazy schedule, I had so much extra time, and so little stress (“I can’t go do this, that, or the other, because I’ll miss my favorite show!”), that I got tons of things done, not only with relationships, but with my personal life, my spiritual life, and my favorite activities. I listened to 2 full audio books (Sense and Sensibility, and The Scarlet Letter), I studied the Bible every day, I knit a pair of legwarmers and 2 baby hats for a CURE Afghanistan hospital project, I knit a BAG (not including the time I spent measuring, cutting, seaming, and sewing material for INSIDE the bag), started working out more often (and with more energy and pleasure) and was able to go out with people and do a number of fun activities while building those relationships.  It was really good for me.

On top of all those benefits of getting to actually DO things, I also was able to restrain from buying anything for myself for the entire month (with the exception of knitting materials for all those projects). Without being hit in the face with advertising (“this is what your life should look like,” “this is how you should dress,” “this is how you should act/talk,” “this is where you should live,” “this is who you should date”), I didn’t feel the need to BUY. At all. I don’t actually need anything, indeed I have much more than most people in this world, and without being told that I DO, in fact, need things, I abstained from buying anything at all for myself.  It was really refreshing. I could actually feel my life being cleansed of all that junk that I put on myself when I watch tv, or even movies.  Even now, with great movies coming out on dvd (you all remember my ONE vice is that I buy movies for myself….ALL the time), I still can’t make myself go out and buy one right off the shelf the day it comes out.  Don’t get me wrong, as a theatre lover and patron, I have a great admiration and respect for working actors, directors, techies, etc… but if there are people in this world going without food or clothing or shelter or water, there is NO justification for me to drop $25 on a MOVIE.

All in all, it was a really incredible experience for me. I’m really grateful my first act of sacrifice and self-discipline was exercised in a realm I never thought I could control. Movies are/were my escape, and not having that to dive into really created in me an ability to deal with things that I didn’t necessarily want to deal with. I feel like I’ve really grown as a person, and my priorities have made themselves very clear. I’m excited to see what else this year has to bring!