Thursday, March 27, 2008
"And $53 trillion is (drum roll please) the approximate size of this country's bill for the Social Security and Medicare promises we've made.
Realizing that Americans have become pretty much numb to these kinds of ridiculous sounding proposals, U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson tried to up the ante this week. "Without change," he said, "Rising costs will drive government spending to unprecedented levels, consume nearly all projected federal revenues, and threaten America's future prosperity."
Translation: Every single tax dollar that is sent to Washington will be used to pay for just these two programs.
That means no money is left for anything else. Nothing."
Is that absolutely scary to anyone else but me?! Is anyone else over the whole Obama/Wright thing and the Clinton/sniper fire thing? I get it, they're both shady and untrustworthy. Can we move on and get to the issues that matter, aka our money & livelihood????
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I read through a bunch of webpages on running injuries yesterday, and the closest thing I could find to what I feel is bruised or broken sesamoids. But the descriptions I've read say to squeeze or pull up on your big toe, and if that's very painful, you probably have the sesamoid problem. But I did that, and I didn't feel any pain. Then I read up on sesamoiditis, but that is described as a dull, longstanding pain. But this is more of random, sharp pain. So who knows what it could be? It must be my sesamoids!
I tried soaking in epsom salts, and taking 2 days in a row off running (I usually try not to let more than 1 rest day go by). But it doesn't seem any better. And if I compare my right foot to the left, they both look the same. Nothing out of the ordinary.
I guess I should go see a doctor. Sigh.
Monday, March 24, 2008
So, I drive into the lot, it costs $3 to park, $25 for an annual pass. I think next time, I will bike here, it's not too far from where I live. I find where the trail starts. It's 1.8 miles to the end of the paved trail, so 1.8 miles back for a total of 3.6 miles. I figure I can do it twice. It's so scenic. You see the river the whole time, so you think it's going to be flat as it runs along the river.
Wrong!!! Around mile marker .7 you see the hugest hill ever. So huge that it has to plateau every now and then or risk being vertical. There are yellow warning signs for bikers. This is a mountain I am running up. I figure, that's ok, since the past .7 miles was so nice and easy. But then, as I'm going down the hill I see...another hill!!! And then...another hill!!!! Oh my gosh!!! I wanted to die. I couldn't believe my unluck.
But I just kept running. All the way to 1.8. I turned around to go back up and down those hills. By the time I'm back to the beginning, I feel good, since I finished on flat trail. So I decide to do it again so I can get a long run in for the week. Silly me. I get back to that .7 mile marker again and there is that monster hill. At this point, I think if I can get up to the top of that first hill again, I'll reward myself by not going any further. I make it to the top, and turn around. In total, I ran about 5 miles. Not awesome, but come on. Those hills are not for the faint of heart! And I made it through once and back, so I feel justified :)
All in all, it is a nice trail. It's made out of the synthetic stuff, so it's not hard on the knees. There are boardwalks and bridges you run over the river at various points too. I even saw a couple playing the bagpipes around the big hill, so random, but cool to hear & see! And it was cool to see all the fishermen, people walking their doggies (there were so many doggies!), and families walking together, exploring trails off the main trail together. It made me miss my family! :( I spent most of Easter weekend alone. Tried to get home but couldn't make it. It was good though, got a lot done and sat between two sweet old ladies at church.
There were lots of cool dirt paths off the main trail that would be fun to check out! Any takers? There are tons of picnic tables too so we could have a picnic feast after! :)
Sunday, March 23, 2008
So basically, Israel has messed up big time with God, and He scatters them throughout the world. But, He promises that one day He will gather them again and they will have their own land. This is a new covenant that God establishes, and of this time, God says:
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Then Ezekiel has a vision, a valley of dry bones that comes to life (Ezekiel 37:1-14). Here are the highlights:
Behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones…’O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.’ … So I (Ezekiel) prophesied…there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone…the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath to them.
Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” …and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet…
How crazy would that be to see! Very dry bones, absolutely no life to them at all, and probably dead for a long time. All of a sudden, they come to life, they get muscles, flesh, skin and then they stand up as God breathes life into them!
The vision is explained in verse 11-14, and there we see God telling a dead nation (Israel) that there is still hope for them and they will rise to new life. This prophecy has been partially fulfilled in that Israel as a physical nation came alive again in 1948. But there is a day when they will come to true spiritual repentance and this prophecy will come to full fulfillment.
What does this vision mean for those of us that are not of Israel? Well first that we should be looking forward to Christ’s return, when this prophecy for Israel will be fulfilled. Second, it’s both a preview of Jesus’ resurrection and our future resurrection. God speaks & raises up these bones to life. Then years and years and years later, Christ rises from the dead. Now we can have hope that one day our bodies will too be resurrected (1 Thess 5).
Last, the valley of dry bones coming to life is a beautiful picture of moving from spiritual death to spiritual life. This is where God really got me. How very dead I was before I knew Him. I was dead, dry bones. No life at all. But then, trusting in Him, He breathed His life into me, and now I’m alive! Really alive! I think of when I didn’t know Him, and thought I was really living, and how very wrong I was! How much we are missing out on when we’re dead bones! The life, abundant life, available in Christ, how awesome, how amazing it is! Life is actually life. To live is more than just going through each day. It’s having a relationship with the God of the universe, a God who can not only raise me to spiritual life, but who will also raise this imperfect, sinful body to a new resurrected body in the future. Knowing that He cares about how many hairs are on my head, being part of His perfect plan that I can't even begin to fathom…the list goes on.
I love love love Ezekiel 36:26, I’ll reiterate it down here:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
This is what God does for us when we trust Him. He gives us a new heart, a real heart, a feeling heart, a heart that can experience His amazing, boundless, deep love. It takes my breath away just thinking about it.
At the end of the sermon, we sang a hymn – Jesus Paid It All. It brought me to tears when thinking of Ezekiel and the dry bones.
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
He paid it ALL. He died so my dead bones could come to life. So I could experience life as He intended it to be lived. What sacrifice, what love! How could I not respond by giving Him back all that I am and have?
Friday, March 21, 2008
At first, I was really scared to enter, because it's the largest 10K in the world, and you run with 55,000 people. Talk about intimidating and claustrophobic. But then I figured, I should just do it, at least once. It's an Atlanta tradition, you get a "coveted" tshirt, and if I hate it, I never have to do it again. And I'll get to tell my chlidren some day, I ran in the largest 10K in the world. Although I'm sure by that time, it may not be the largest 10K any more. Who knows?
But they cashed my check, so I'm doing it. Yippee!!
I only regret that I didn't get my 10K time down so I could be in a better seed group. :(
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Or did he fall short? From Slate's John Dickerson: "Obama didn't come out and say that, though, and so in a speech with lots of first pronouns, he missed a chance to talk in a needed way about his own falling short of his standards. It was another contradiction."
What do I think? I think his speech was very inspiring at times, so deeply personal and bringing up some painful subjects. But at other times, it was very low, taking blows at Hillary and YouTube (even though YouTube arguably has helped him so much in the past). For me, it revealed the reality of who he is; he's not the image he has so carefully built for himself. He is full of words, and he knows how to craft them. He says things that are true and authentic, but he also says things that are questionable and maybe half honest. I question myself. How much do I believe his words? How much do I believe this man can really do in leading and uniting a nation? I will have to listen or read it again - it's a long speech.
Read it here.
Monday, March 17, 2008
And hello to the new ones!
Here they are compared - Wave Rider 8 vs. Wave Rider 11! hehe
I almost bought some Asics, had heard they were good. But the Mizunos got good reviews and Best Buy on Runner's World. Plus the Asics were $20 more and not as cute. I mean, come on, how can you resist HOT PINK!? I can't. And...I figured I wouldn't have to worry too much about breaking them in, since they're basically the same shoe I've been running in. I guess we'll see when I go for my inaugural run today!
Also if you look really closely, you can kind of see just how worn out the cushioning was on my 8s. The air cushions are almost flattened, whereas my new shoes they are big and open! So, I hope this gives me an extra happy boost in my runs now. I love new shoes!
I checked the dryer, waiting for my running clothes to be done. They should have been, but they were still a little damp. I was frustrated b/c I wanted to be at Ryan's house before 10 to catch Obama on Anderson Cooper.
The tornado hits.
Lisa (Ryan's roommate) calls, but he misses it. He later hears the voicemail: are you at home? are you ok? call me back as soon as you get this.
We leave my apt for Ryan's house, totally oblivious to any severe weather and/or tornado.
We drive under 10th street, CNN is in view and Ryan's exit is approaching. Lisa calls back and informs Ryan that a tornado has hit Cabbagetown. It also hit CNN, and Lisa has abandoned the rest of the graphics for Anderson Cooper and is also heading to Cabbagetown.
We reach Boulevard & Dekalb. Cars are backed up the tunnel toward the Cotton Mill Lofts.
I lose track of time at this point. As we come to Dekalb, we see the lofts in total darkness, but what looks like a huge chunk missing. I start to cry and beg Ryan to not make me go any further. The fence is flattened in front of us. Debris everywhere. Ryan says we have to keep going. Two cars crashed on Dekalb. The Krog tunnel is pitch black dark. We reach Powell, only to be turned around because a huge tree is on the ground blocking the way. We find our way through to Ryan's house. People are just standing everywhere in shock. The only light comes from headlights. I pull into the driveway, sticks are crunching.
Amazingly, there is no damage. Ryan talks Lisa through what we see. The front yard furniture is toppled, but not broken. The windows are all intact. The power is out, but we find flashlights and candles. Debris litters the backyard, but everything is still there, including the rooftop furniture. Next door, a huge tree has fallen across a front yard. On the other side, the neighbor just wakes up and asks why everyone is in the street. Turns out he slept through the whole thing.
After a couple hours, we go back to my apt for the night. We don't get much sleep. The storms start again early in the morning. Crazy loud thunder and bright hot lightning. Around 5:40 am, I get an email saying the Downtown Dash has been cancelled.
As soon as we can, we head back to Cabbagetown to check out the damage in daylight:
Ryan's front yard
the neighbor's yard
these houses are one block south of Ryan
the lofts in daylight, viewed from Dekalb
So I didn't run a 5K on Saturday. But I did see God's grace and protection. If my laundry had been done at 9:30, like I had planned, we probably would have been in Cabbagetown when the tornado hit. And for Ryan's house to escape literally unscathed, when just a few houses down were completely destroyed...I can't look at that and NOT see how God protected me.
I kept thinking over and over, even if it's a little out of context, how God was holding me in the palm of His hand. Literally, no danger could harm me there. He kept me there, all night, and He keeps me there always.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.
I was so scared, but felt so safe. We kept praying, and still are. But I know God was with us, and He was so good to us this weekend!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Would you go to a church if you didn't agree with their principles? I sure wouldn't.
Would you go to a church if you did? I sure would.
And here we have Obama, a faithful attender of this church, with this pastor. And he hasn't once thought, maybe I should leave? Maybe I don't agree with the ideas my pastor is espousing?
Obama says that his pastor is more like an old uncle who is sometimes wrong. I just don't know if that's good enough.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I had a nightmare last night that I overslept the race, and when I finally got there, they had already started taking down the start line and all the tshirts in my size were gone! Then they had TVs and Regis Philbin was the special guest speaker at the finish line ceremonies, and I was missing seeing it in person. Then the race people were like, you can run down there you know. But it was too late, and I was sad!
What do we think of a McCain-Romney ticket? I'm not really sure about it. Not that it's set in stone. On one hand, it may unite the conservatives to McCain. On the other hand, it seems that Romney wouldn't want to be so closely tied to McCain, especially if he wants to make another run at the White House.
Listened to Dennis Prager last night. He had a lot of interesting things to say about the race issue in the Dem race. I think he said that 95% of blacks in Mississippi voted for Obama, yet Obama continues to assert that race is not a factor. He said that before this, he liked Obama. But now, if Obama continues to claim that race has nothing to do with his wins, he is a liar. What do you think?
Listened to Laura Ingraham this AM on the way to work. I wholeheartedly agree with her on the way the media has been treating the Spitzer scandal. If you haven't noticed, all the major news outlets have been featuring "Kristen" lately, going so far as to even bemoan prostitution as being wrong. It seems like the media has just taken the sex scandal as an excuse to take America deeper into sexual deviancy. Do we really need to watch the footage? Do we really need to see the website? Do we really need to know all the sordid details? I don't think so. Which is why you see no links here. Spare yourself from the details.
Last thought...have you heard the California court ruling on homeschooling? Very, very disturbing. The LA Times reports that it is not a ban on homeschooling. But it just upsets me that the government thinks they can take away the right of parents to educate their children in the way they see fit. This intrusion on the family...I guess I get really riled up since A. I was homeschooled for 2 years and B. I went to private school all the other years but 1. Why? Because my parents were not interested in sending me to a public school, where as a 6 yr old, I was lost in a class of 30+ students, exposed to things that they did not morally agree with, and generally did not have a good experience. If parents want more for their children, they should have the right to do so. Perhaps I didn't have as many opportunities later on in high school that public school kids got. But I did get a solid education, and I got into the #2 public university in the nation (at that time). So you can't tell me that the State does the best job of educating. Look at the test scores. Look at what homeschoolers have been able to achieve. I have a friend that was homeschooled her whole life, and now she works at NASA. Stop intruding on the family unit and let parents decide what is best for their kids.
Monday, March 10, 2008
So then I thought, my first post will probably be about what spirituality is, and how I became a spiritual person. (I hate the word religion and any derivative of it.) But that just seems too concocted. I think it's more fun if I don't spell it out for you and you have to guess. Although it will be pretty obvious from the content what I am :)
What if I just tell you what I've been learning, or thinking about, and you can read & think about it too. You can wonder if I'm right, or wrong, and what that means to you and your ideas of spirituality. You don't have to agree with me, and you can even argue with me; in fact, that would be awesome, I love to discuss!
So here we go. First post. Ezekiel, part 1. Warning! It's long!
I go to this church, it's kind of far from where I live but I love it. The teaching every Sunday is so powerful and provokes my thoughts to no end. Two recent sermons in particular still have me thinking. I think what made them so powerful is their sheer honesty. I love a preacher who can lay the truth out there with no apologies, the hard truth and not just the fuzzy warm feeling truth.
The first sermon was entitled "A Warning for the People of Faith." So you know right off, it can't be good news. To put in a nutshell, Ez. 4-14 is all about Israel, God's chosen people. They decide to rebel against God and start to reflect more of the world than of His Spirit. How do they do this? Physical idolatry, idolatry in the heart, arrogance, violence, wickedness in leaders & spiritual leaders. It gets so bad that God leaves them. His glory departs from them (11:22-23, 10:18-19). And then the judgment falls in chapter 9. In this vision, God shows Ezekiel that every man, woman, and child will be killed for their sins.
At this point I am thinking, wow. First, how nonchalantly I treat the problem of sin in my own life. I don't realize the horror of it, it brings death. Second, what a fearsome God we serve! He is a just God and must punish sin with death. And third, I think...look at us today. As a society. How we are not that much different from the Israel of Ezekiel's time. Aren't we proud? Aren't we all about us? Aren't we wicked - I mean the Governor of NY just got busted in a high end prostitution ring! Our own leaders.
I kind of have a sick feeling in my stomach at this point, when you look at sin so starkly, the bad feeling of it goes deep down in your gut. Not guilt, just an awe of how horrible it is. Is there any hope for us?
9:6 - Utterly slay the old and young men, maidens and little children and women;
But do not come near anyone on whom is the mark...
There is hope. All is not lost! God puts a mark on the foreheads of those who have separated themselves from the sins. And their lives are spared! They are a remnant. God's chosen people survive in this remnant (see also 5:3).
The church today is not the same as Israel. But in God's perfect plan, we see the parallels He so lovingly creates. When one comes to faith in the blood of Christ as the only payment for sin, He is sealed, marked by the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30, 2 Tim 2:19). And in Rev 7:1-3, God seals all of His servants and rescues them from tribulation.
At this point, I'm feeling a lot better, because I know I'm sealed. And I see these parallels and think that God's plan is just so cool. But I'm still troubled, I still can't get over all the people God wanted to destroy, His very own special people. But then we read...(emphasis mine)
Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?
For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore turn and live!
18:31-32. In the midst of all these judgments, sins, horrors...this glimmer of hope. This God of Love. He doesn't want anyone to die, He doesn't want to destroy. But He will, because He must carry out justice. But He leaves a way for a remnant, for a people of faith to be warned, and to repent. What an awesome God He truly truly is!
stay tuned for part 2 :)
Fri 3/7 - Six Feet Under
I'm so bummed! I really liked 6 Feet Under and was excited about going back for happy hour with co-workers. When we got there, it was pretty empty. The bar area was a little crowded, but there were still empty tables. The service was horrible!!! Our party took a table by the bar, where we were informed we would have to move if we weren't ordering food and/or they were on a wait. The place was dead. Empty tables everywhere. We all had drinks and probably would have ordered more than enough to cover the cost of food. One of our party ordered an appetizer just to keep the mgmt happy. As more people arrived, we moved to another bar table. We were then informed we couldn't sit there either, because they reserve that table for parties of 15 or more. Well, thanks for telling us. We assured them that we would fill up the tables. Our server was not very nice and served us in a grudging manner. A couple friends and I left after just one drink, we were so disappointed in the service and way we were treated. It wasn't a very happy hour.
I am so sad, because I really liked this place based on previous visit. Oh well :(
Sat 3/8 - Gordon Biersch
Went to Gordon Biersch for drinks & appetizers on Saturday. I had a pomegranate drink that was wayyyy sweet. I probably won't get it again, although it was pretty. Ryan & I shared the appetizer platter which was good, but a little pricey. It had potstickers, southwestern eggrolls, and sweet chili wings. The potstickers had a very spicy mustard on them, even when you scraped it off, it was still spicy. I was not happy! The chili wings were pretty good, a little on the fatty side though. But the eggrolls were awesome! Will definitely get them again!
I have to say that the service was awesome. They were really really busy when we first got there (UNC/Duke game). But our server did an awesome job keeping up with us. I also love the ambience there...especially when there are sports fans and Tyler Hansbrough is on the TV! Yay for UNC beating Duke.
Sun 3/9 - Jim 'N Nick's BBQ
The first 3 times I visited Jim & Nick's BBQ, it was amazing. I would give it straight 5's. But this past weekend I went, and it wasn't quite as good as it is usually :( Which is sad because I regard it as the best bbq in Atlanta. Yes, even above Fatt Matt's.
It was generally busy, but not horribly so when we were seated. But it took a good 15 minutes for anyone to acknowledge that we had been seated and to take our order. And then, our entrees came out before our drinks even did! What's up with that? The cheese biscuits are my favorite part of the meal - they are like little fluffy cheesy airy things you pop into your mouth and feel all warm and happy inside. Ours were ok - they were a little burnt :( But we got another batch that was much lighter cooked.
Our food arrived lightning fast, and I had the pork plate with fried green tomatoes (veggie of the day) and mac n cheese. It was all excellent! The only thing was the pork was a little more fatty than I remember from my previous meals. But there was plenty of it on my plate, really a great deal for the money. And the fried green tomatoes must be some of the best in Atlanta. Mmmmm...
My friends got chocolate pie that was to die for. Creamy & delicious. Homemade to the core. Loooove Jim & Nicks!
Remember Hillary's 3 am wake up ad? And Barack's counterattack ad? See them both here. Now what's even funnier is this - that the little girl in Clinton's ad is a staunch Obama supporter. You'd think she would have hired a friend's kid to shoot the scene on the fly rather than risk an Obama supporter being featured! I bet it would have been cheaper than buying from Getty anyway, hehe.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Probably not possible...but I thought I'd throw it out there.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Let's imagine that I'm a Texas resident voting yesterday.
The only reason I would vote for John McCain: I vote for the best candidate. And in my opinion, he is the best candidate remaining.
Reasons I would have crossed over & voted Democrat:
A. Because John McCain is the presumptive nominee, vote for the candidate John McCain is more likely to beat in the fall. Assuming my vote does more good this way than just giving the vote to McCain.
1. Obama is definitely more likable, and though we may hate it, electability is a huge factor in who gets voted in. We Americans tend to forget the issues and just go with whoever we like the most. So, I would vote for Hillary because she's not as likable.
2. McCain has a larger lead over Hillary in polls.
B. Because John McCain is the presumptive nominee, vote for the Democrat I would rather have in office in the case that McCain does not win the general election in November.
1. There are many reasons I do not like Obama. Not only is his cult of personality disturbing to me, but he is not as experienced, the most liberal, and as a blank slate, we do not really know where he stands and where he will take us. This unknown is very, very scary to me.
2. I do not like Hillary. But she does have more experience, and she is very clear on where she stands. At least we know what we are getting into if she becomes President.
3. Obama stands for change, Hillary stands for action. I haven't heard Obama speak deeply on any of the plans he has for our country. Hillary's got it all planned out. I'm cool with having a President who is ready to take over with a clear plan of action rather than a President who would have a steep learning curve to climb before getting anything done.
4. Rezko. Obama better come clean, or he's just another politician and his message is empty.
Of course this is all hypothetical. Obviously, I did not crossover in the Georgia primary. But the temptation to do so if I actually were a resident of Texas, Ohio, and yes even Rhode Island or Vermont, is really great! What's a good Republican to do?
Hugh Hewitt made a funny point...that if Democrats are always wrong, then why should Republicans mess with their electoral process, since they will ultimately choose the wrong candidate? Not really a valid point but I had a good laugh.
I should have known it was coming...first strike, I almost got hit by a biker "waaaaiiiit!" he says while zooming down the street that I'm crossing. Second strike, I almost get run over by another runner. Third strike, I turn the corner of State & Ferst, and down I go. No reason. Just fell.
Glad I got it over with. I've been wondering when my first fall would be!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The Noshville Deli was also busy, but we didn't have to wait too long to be seated. The service was just ok. What we found most interesting were the pickles sitting in an open bowl at the table. I know this is typical of NY delis, so I thought it was cool. I personally don't like pickles but Juli & Kayley tried them. They were pretty much cucumbers sitting in pickle juice. I guess that's good? I can't really comment on that.
I ordered a reuben, and it was delicious!! Chock full of corned beef, cheese melted so perfectly, sauerkraut tasted awesome. My only complaint is that while the bread was toasted just right, it was a little too greasy. The fries were pretty good. Another complaint is that my Diet Coke cost $2.29! Isn't that a little expensive for a Coke?! But the meal hit the spot =)
Juli & Kayley had burgers that were just huge. I wish I had taken a picture.
After the meal I got some black & white cookies to go for Ryan. He affirmed that they were authentic NY style, cakey & delicious.
I really liked the atmosphere, I did feel like I was in a NY deli. Loved the neon lights and the bakery area. The clientele is fun to watch too.
ambience: 3.5 - great for people watching!
See? We are happy eaters =)
- my hero, Laura Ingraham to Terry McAuliffe, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager
I have recently become addicted to news radio. I listen to it on occasion, but now I just love it. It's refreshing. TV has this burning effect on my brain sometimes. I listened to NPR on the way to Nashville and thought about Pakistan all weekend (while still having crazy fun sightseeing and exploring of course).
I loved Laura's radio show this AM, I only heard the Terry McAuliffe segment, but it was great. Discussed the exposing of Obama's "Achilles heel" in his press conference yesterday - his first time to look like a politician, not this nebulous agent of change. Terry says Hillary's going to stay in it all the way to the end - let's hope so!
Laura also took a call from Raul, a Republican who "took one for the team" and voted for Hillary today. I wish I could vote for Hillary today!