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Sunday, February 24, 2013

2013 goals- progress

(1) This year, I will unpack. Completely, fully, with organization. I  at my last house and there are things I missed. Some have already been freed in my new location. My landlord sucks, which can inspire back peddling, but I hope to make peace with one another and be able to stay here for at least 3 years.
THUS FAR: Continuing to work on this. My goal is 4 hours of unpacking a week. Doing fairly well with that. Have a long way to go but made a lot of progress as well.

(3) Pay off my student loan. I owe 1405.88. After interest, that might be $1465.88. A range is fairer to me than an absolute elimination. Thus, I'll say that by December 2013, I will owe no more than $310. That means I would have eliminated about 75% of that debt. I explored this topic at 43things
My pay off amount is down to $1086-- not bad for 2 months into a year. I am committed to making extra payments; so far, so good. It looks like I am ahead of my goal thus far.

(4) Own less stuff. I'm not really sure how this looks but moving (again) showed me that I have a bunch of stuff. Most ppl don't have this much; why do I? Often, packing helps me see what things to shed. This time, it did not. Before the move, I mentally established the modest goal of getting rid of 60 things in 2013 onward-- 5 things per month on average. That's a minimum. I need less. I need to get rid of more. 365 items seems like an intimidatingly large commitment but maybe not. Somewhere between 100 & 365 for 2013?
I'm at -23 according to my blog blurbs. I haven't been great at tracking what I've gotten rid of; I'm working on that. 

(5) Get my health in better shape. There's fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia. Then there's fitness. These past 6 months have been much worse than many 6 month periods. I'm trying a new medication (Savella), been referred to aquatherapies, and am reapproaching yoga (stopping is probably one of my worse mistakes thus far). I once said that I refuse to allow fibromyalgia to steal my life. It's been gaining more ground than I prefer so this year I am changing that.'
Insurance won't pay for aquatherapies.
I take Savella as prescribed but doubt that it does much good. The timing is bad because allergen elimination decreases my pain. I have no way of knowing to what extent Savella helps.
Yoga hit a snag due to me having surgery on my hand; then I forgot to go to class.  I also acknowledge the need to increase home practice but struggle for a location. It is challenging to find the TV in the living room not in use, the space is insufficient in my bedroom, and the art room has a bunch of clean laundry and boxes in it right now that prevent that space for being used for anything. Hallway yoga? Maybe I'll do a few minutes of that. Also, I start photoshop classes this week, which will prevent me from attending the supportive yoga classes I was trying to commit to attending. 
Overall, I feel no healthier than when I started the year. I'm trying to make a health/fitness change per week. I give myself a C.

(6) Learn to eat in a way respectful to my body, particularly as it relates to delayed food sensitives
I tested positive (increased pain) to gluten. My commitment  now, is to purchase/make gluten-free when that option exists (e.g., gluten free hamburger bun over regular hamburger bun).I spend time thinking about other commitments to make once the diet is over.

(7) Do not increase the number of medications I take. Decrease my total of pills by at least one at year's end. This goal sounds mild but note that my doctor has me on 3 additional pills per day compared to what I was taking a month ago and has another on standby  Really, I think I'm trying to get off a blood pressure med, not be put back on cholesterol med, and not have Prilosec become a daily norm. More than get off of meds, I want to not increase despite being on the verge of that.
I had surprise blood work drawn last week. No threats of additional pills were said.

(8) Be a photographer/craftster for the year. Learn photoshop, Build my website ( Build a kickstarter account to raise funds for a good and functional camera. Participate in 6 art fairs. Participate in photo club. Build some skills. Lets see what happens. I can put out another $700 with no or little return or I can see products move (though probably not enough to earn everything I put out in year 1 of seriousness).
I signed back in to my website and reviewed how it operates. I signed up for a photoshop class. It starts this week.

(9) Be a better steward of my money. Actually balance my checking account regularly-- track weekly/biweekly. Balance quarterly. It's enough for me.
The balancing has begun for the year. I have not updated for this week. Thus, I am behind.

(10) Lose some weight. My mom's pain increases when she gains weight. Dr. Steven Murphree once stated I would hurt less if I weighed less. Without mom's testimony it sounds silly but why not give it a try? I'll set a modest 12lb goal by my 31st (6-30-13). Shockingly (to me), I just opened my journal and learned that I've gained 25 lbs since Jan. 2010. For those of you that actually see me, do you see that 25lbs gained? Wow! SMH.
I've lost about 10lbs this year due to the elimination diet. I say "due to" but I've never lost weight on this diet before (which surprises even me). I resume regular eating in about 2 weeks so Feb/March will be the real tellers of how my weight loss goal is going. 

(11) Recycled from Jan 2012: "Put forth more effort to find a spiritual home. 24 attempts minimal." Okay, 20. Slight change from last year.
Last week, I went to City Fellowship. Today, I planned to go to New St. Luke Missionary Baptist but my hair was still wait when I woke up. If I can get it dry in 30 minutes, I'll go back to City Fellowship. 

(15) Keep A1C at or below 6.5. It's a constant goal of mine though my new doc wants it at a 6.0. I guess I can aim for 6.3  I mentioned surprise blood work. I'm not where I want to be but I'm not high enough for there to be great concern.

(16) Get my first tattoo. I wrote that for 2011 but here it is 2 years later. It's time to get some of these reoccurring items off the list.
I've actively sought out two artists. They are not returning calls and e-mails. There's another I want to talk to that actually works in a shop in a nearby city. I hope to drive over in the next few weeks. Also, I asked a co-worker to give my contact info to the artist she uses that happens to be in town right now. I really am trying to start the ink.

(18) Do some training in reading others. A microexpression online training? Read Bodytalk? Something.
I purchased Bodytalk and Body Language. I haven't read much of either but at least I have some tools to get crackin'.

(20) Evaluate these goals and my progress regularly, no less than once a quarter. Here is a conscious review....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

My Welcoming to Lent

I noticed Lent in college. I worked at a video store and heard person after person talk about what they are giving up for Lent. Why? I'm not sure I ever received an answer to that or even asked the question. To an extent, I think I ask that question of myself today. Why do I choose to celebrate Lent?

For me, Lent is a time to examine my life and consider something I can do to walk more as Jesus walked, more as God would have me to be. It is a time of self-reflection and six weeks to commit to communing with God. Perhaps this desire to walk more like Jesus is why I often add more to my life instead of giving up an item-- I've given up a piece of my laziness before. This year, my heart cries because it's been a long-time since continuous communion. There's been time of learning and defending as so many people like to pinpoint queerdom as "the great sin". There's been time of self-doubt because maybe everyone is right and trying to have a relationship with God is just a waste of my time. I can't change my sexual orientation so which of the two things must I discard? There's been time of church hopping, looking for a church home but failing to find a body that practices fierce love and fierce truth. Lately, there's just hopelessness. Rock Bridge was the last church home I had and maybe it's the last church home I will have. Hopelessness is why I've visited less than 12 churches despite 23 months of living in this city. I wrestle with rather or not I want to again explore paganism. It seems to be a religion of such great love. Part of me gravitates to it while the other part cries for the love of Abba and cries from the idea of being torn of my religion of origin, my religion of choice. Fellowshipping with pagans would be choosing something else but choosing only because I am unwanted in my Father's house. The hope of other Christian-Pagans is a weak hope drowned by the large number of Pagan-Pagans, Jesus being far far on the back burner of the overall church.

This Lent, I will go to church. That simple agreement seems so simple and inadequate compared to goals related to taking better care of my Mother's earth or Her temple (me). Going to church is what I use to do weekly, or at least regularly. Where's the sacrifice? The sacrifice is in abandoning all excuses for not being there. The challenge is in facing the hatred, insecurity, and hopelessness that keeps me inside most Sunday mornings.

I've considered giving up my resolve of finding an open and affirming or at least non-condemning church in order to have a body. I've considered starting a community group as a way of being part of a body of believers. Right now, I just commit to show up. 6 Sundays or so, right?

Today, I went to City Fellowship. It was my 3rd visit  since being in Jackson. Homework to self is to listen to last week's podcast to see if it sheds lights on the church's handling of homosexuality. The passage was apparently Romans 1. I enjoyed today's sermon; it was the most grabbing of the ones I've heard there. I love their music. The people seem like people I could like in real life. I glean the church has a pro-life stance but I might be able to just differ from them on that; I don't think it's a deal breaker for me. While being there today, boldly seeking the face of the Lord, I did have one revelation: I need to volunteer again. I've gotten into the routine of work, exercise, other extra-curriculars (so to speak) but nothing that consistently pushes me to do for others beyond what I do at work. I care hard at work and am grateful for being in this field but in ways, I'm just a sitter. I need to get back involved. Dining and drinking with politically aware liberals is insufficient... and useless. Helping until 4:30 will not do. The joy I've gotten when doing something for men that are experiencing homeless after hours-- that's something I need to bring back into my life. The Word of God for a person of God. Thanks be to God.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

the gluten test

Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday were my days to test gluten.
Day 1: no pain. Gluten in salad dressing and rice for dinner.
Day 2: oatmeal, rice, chicken fingers. some pain, nothing major. Until I got up for the restroom during the night. Gluten is one reason for the knots in my calves.
Day 3: oatmeal, vegan alfredo (pasta), & fried pork chops. Pelvic pain. Pain when going up stairs.
Saturday: should have been a day to return to the control stage but instead Tomika & I had a cookout. Awesome. I ate dairy, nightshade (beans, smoked sausage- everything else i had was nightshade-free), gluten, soy, nitrates, sugar. I'm hopeful that I'm still in shape to test my next category (nitrates) beginning Thursday.  I have a smoke sausage and beans for tomorrow but then I'll return to abstinence. My hot dogs are nitrate free so my only nitrates were the smoked sausage.

For a minute, I thought that I finally found something I can eat. hahahaha. I'm ruling it a positive, though perhaps not as severe as dairy & nightshade plants.

Onward, forward!

This time, I will identify some ways to make some changes forward. One thing is to limit myself to 4 frozen meals per week, compared to my norm of 5 biweekly. That's 6 less per month.

Blessed Be.

EDIT: I've also become angrier this week. A few people have been brave enough in the past to tell me my personality is better when I am on the allergen elimination diet. In part because of their strange comments and in part because I do not want to be mean to Tomika when she has done nothing to deserve it, I notice that my insides have been darker this week. At the same time, work life has gone down in ways with a climax hitting this week. That could be why I'm angry because work makes me FUCKING ANGRY right now. * deep breath * But here I enter the note. It might be useful at a later examination point.