Monday, May 28, 2012

Deer in the Woods

I've been trying to keep up my long walks and have been successful for the past three days. Today we saw a doe with her fawn standing still like statues on the path about 20 yards in front of us. My dogs were alert but not barking. The fawn was about twenty feet closer to us than her mother. We kept inching up hoping that they would take off. The fawn continued to munch on leaves while the mother struggled with bolting vs staying to protect her child. Finally the fawn turned away and they both galloped off.  The picture is a little blurry because I took it with my iPhone and then enlarged it we can see the pair.

My enervated dogs immediately began barking and pulling. Since the pair stayed on the path (we could see their footprints in the mulch) all the way until we got off (about 10 minutes of hiking) my dogs refused to calm down. Getting home I checked everywhere for deer ticks on me... the dogs have been Frontlined for protection :)

Both dogs are now exhausted and hot. It's 80ยบ and humid outside. A hot May day in Door County.
My knees don't feel too bad! Yeah.


Friday, May 25, 2012

A "Long" Walk in the Woods

Today I walked for half an hour in the woods. Now for most of you, a half hour walk is nothing, but two months ago I couldn’t walk for even five minutes so this represents great progress! Recently I’ve been walking for 15 minutes every day (plus exercising in water for an hour). This coupled with my 19 pound weight loss has helped my walking enormously. Today I decided to try for a longer hike. My knees were pretty painful by the end, but I made it!!

My condo association is composed of single family homes mixed with duplexes (like mine) and four-plexes. We have an indoor pool, outdoor pool, weight room and lots of walking paths through the woods and past the part of the Niagara Escarpment that runs through our community. So today I took the dogs for a 30 minute walk in the woods. Woo Hoo!!

Unfortunately it's poison ivy season and so I spent a good portion of my energy trying to keep the dogs from wandering off the mulched paths into the much more attractive natural habitat populated by the enticing poison ivy plants.

Here’s some pictures I took on the way.
Footpath Bridge to the beach

Wild lilac in the woods
Lichen covered wood
Baby fir tree
Wriggley and Daisy my faithful and eager companions
Lilacs in my yard
Flowers outside my front door.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Three Detours

Well... today I have a few detours for you.

1st Detour: I’m disappointed but not surprised at the results in North Carolina.

A year ago I might have voted for the amendment. This year, no way. I have totally changed my position on gay marriage. I’ve done a lot of research and I now support gay marriage. It’s a matter of equal rights. I agree with Justin over at  Crumbs from the Communion Table who lives in North Carolina when he said:

“Is there a lot of prejudice in North Carolina against LGBT people? Absolutely there is. But it’s not, as some have imagined, just a matter of “bigoted homophobes.” By and large, the prejudice that exists is a matter of a lack of understanding. Many of the folks I’ve talked to honestly believe that people choose to be gay and could choose not to be. They think that giving legal recognition to same-sex partnerships would increase the number of people choosing to be gay, and would therefore encourage more people to turn away from God’s plan for their lives. When they talk about homosexuality as a “perversion,” they’re not trying to be bigoted or mean; they’re being quite literal about it.”

I know that it is pervasive belief within the Christian community that homosexuality is a choice and that it is possible, using ministries like Exodus to “change back to heterosexuality”. But how do we go about helping people understand that homosexuality is not a choice? After reading Love is an Orientation I became convinced that I needed to examine my long held beliefs about homosexuality.

Also, Rachel Held Evans makes a good point in her post “How to win a culture war and lose a generation.” She says:

“But every single student I have spoken with believes that the Church has mishandled its response to homosexuality. Most have close gay and lesbian friends.Most feel that the Church’s response to homosexuality is partly responsible for high rates of depression and suicide among their gay and lesbian friends, particularly those who are gay and Christian.Most are highly suspicious of “ex-gay” ministries that encourage men and women with same-sex attractions to marry members of the opposite sex in spite of their feelings.Most feel that the church is complicit, at least at some level, in anti-gay bullying. 

So my question for those evangelicals leading the charge in the culture wars is this: Is it worth it? Is a political “victory” really worth losing millions more young people to cynicism regarding the Church? Is a political “victory” worth further alienating people who identify as LGBT? Is a political “victory” worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with gays and lesbians? And is a political “victory” worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks—what if we get this wrong?  Too many Christian leaders seem to think the answer to that question is “yes,” and it's costing them.  Because young Christians are ready for peace. We are ready to lay down our arms. We are ready to start washing feet instead of waging war.  And if we cannot find that sort of peace within the Church, I fear we will look for it elsewhere."

I wish we Christians would spend more time demonstrating the love and acceptance of Christ and less time trying to prove how righteous we are and how unrighteous everyone else is. Right now what I see within evangelical and fundamental Christianity are wars to exclude. Wars to exclude women (see John Piper, Mark Driscoll, SBC et al, as detailed at The Wartburg Watch), and of course wars to exclude gays and make sure the LGBT community has no rights.

It is not a pretty picture nor does it demonstrate the attitude that I see demonstrated by Jesus in the New Testament. The people that angered Jesus while he was on earth weren’t the women who were failing to submit to their husbands, weren’t the homosexuals, weren’t the outcasts of society. The people that angered Jesus were the judgmental / hypocritical religious leaders. Maybe when my generation and my parent’s generation is gone a kindler, gentler, more loving Christianity can emerge. Unfortunately, people seem to love bullying other people. This amendment is just another example of bullying on a large scale.

Sorry folks, but that’s how I see it.

2nd Detour: Tackling the Weight Update

On a happier note, I’ve lost 16.8 pounds in the past six weeks. YEAH!! I’ve been sticking faithfully to my food diary. I’ve been using My Fitness Pal on my iPad and iPhone to help me keep track of my eating. I’ve found that it is quite flexible (as in I can enter 1/2 a serving of something, I can scan the label of a food to get the nutritional information, I can calculate the calories in something I cook by entering all the ingredients in the recipe builder, I can combine frequent meals into one meal so I don’t have to enter everything every time.) Previously I used Weight Watcher to lose weight, but I HATE having to go to meetings and I HATE the weekly expense. My Fitness Pal has seemed to work as an easy to use food diary. 
Plus I’ve been working out regularly. I got a three month membership at a Recreation Facility near my home in Illinois and I have a pool and work-out room accessible at my condo in Door County. Right now, with my knees, I have found water exercises combined with limited walking to be effective. I've been doing 45 minutes to an hour 5 times a week at the pool plus 15-30 minutes of walking.

So anyway... whatever I’m doing is working. I’ve lost 16.8 pounds!! Yeah!!!
3rd Detour: My Grandson’s Coming!!

My grandson, Isaiah, is coming for the summer!!! I just made the plane reservations and he's coming June 20th. I'm so excited. I love having him here with me plus he’ll be here with me for six weeks. For the past two weeks I’ve been cooking up a storm. I like to cook ahead so that I don’t have to spend so much time cooking while he’s here. My two nephews join him up here with me in Door County for three weeks in July and it is very exhausting. So I’ve cooked and frozen: chili, taco meat, taco soup, BBQ, meatloaf, burgers etc. I have a menu prepared for all three weeks with items needed for one meal per day. They other meals are catch as catch can. At least this year they are old enough that I can leave Jake in charge and go shopping without taking all three with me.

Keeping three boys occupied (without allowing them constant access to electronics) is challenging. We play board games (they love Settlers of Catan, Civilization: The Board Game, Dominion, Ticket to Ride, and Empire Builder to name a few) and they are really good about playing together. Last summer they played secret agent and mob on their bikes every day for at least a week. Plus I have tons of Legos up here and an extensive kid’s library. This year I’m hoping they’ll make a movie together. That should be interesting.

Of course I have loads of electronics: Wii, Nintendo DS, two computers, my iPad and iPhone, and new this year an XBox. Still, I try to limit the game time to 2 hours per day.

We're only a block from the beach and we have two swimming pools at the condo and there are tons of trails nearby (if only I can walk).

Ah well. Other than that, I’ve been enjoying our protracted spring in Door County.

Thanks for reading. Kate