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Archive for category Faith
My birthday was this week, so I’ve been taking it easy. But now it’s time for more soup, says I.
- First of all, happy birthday to me! I am now 34 years old. No, I don’t feel any different, nor do I feel old. However, this does mean that next year I’ll bump up to the next older division in most races (35-39), which should help my medal chances by making me among the youngest in my division instead of the oldest. There’s a silver lining in pretty much everything if you look for it.
- I’m starting to consider the possibility of a Romney victory. No, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but the world isn’t going to end no matter who gets elected. Honestly, with a divided Congress and little interest in bipartisan action, I expect very little to get done no matter which guy wins. The very structure of our government is designed to slow down the pace of change. Maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’m questioning the wisdom of our current arrangement.
- It’s benefits enrollment time at work, and we are switching to a new healthcare plan called a health savings plan paired with a health savings account. Our old plan was an EPO that had a sizable monthly premium, copays for office visits, and coverage for other expenses at a set percentage. The new plan has a tiny premium – $11/month for our entire family. The trade-off is that our deductible is $3000, and except for preventative care and some preventative drugs, we pay all medical costs until we reach the deductible. Since all of us are fairly healthy, I think we will save money with this plan barring any unusual medical expenses. Plus the health savings account lets us set aside money pre-tax for medical bills, and if we don’t spend the money, it remains in our account indefinitely.
- One more thought on the election: if the race ends up as close as the polls suggest, we could end up with another electoral college disaster like we saw in 2000 with Bush and Gore. If it happens again and screws the Republicans this time, perhaps we will finally have enough momentum to reform or scrap the electoral college system.
- I lost some training time earlier this month had to skip my Tyler trail run due to bronchitis, but I’m back to 100 percent now and feeling great. I finished a great 10k run on Thursday when I probably could have finally broken the 50 minute mark if I’d run the whole way. I hope to return to my normal weekly mileage next week and get back on track with my long runs. I’m signed up for two races right now: the Jingle Bell Run 5k in mid-December and the Disney Half Marathon in January.
- I like scary movies, especially this time of year. Why? Maybe because I spend so much of my life trying to be safe and responsible. It’s fun to intentionally experience a situation that makes me feel slightly out of control and vulnerable. But I have to watch them alone because Jenny is NOT a fan.
- I now have as many Tour de France titles as Lance Armstrong. I wanted to believe him, I really did. Many of us did. He’s still one of the best cyclists in history. But the testimony of so many people around him finally convinced me that he was dirty, just like so many others in the sport during that era. It’s sad when a clean athlete has no chance to compete because so many of his/her competitors are cheating.
- Our church built our new sanctuary about 10 years ago and borrowed millions of dollars to pay for it. Now we are doing a fundraising campaign to pay off the debt over the next two years. I don’t like seeing churches borrow money, partly for practical reasons and partly because the Bible seems pretty clear that borrowing money is a bad idea. So I was pleased when the leadership pledged not to borrow any more money in the future.
Thank you, come again.
Long Run Day
Huh, that sounds like a dish at my favorite Pho restaurant. Mmmm…pho…. I Love Pho. No, that’s not me being emphatic, it’s the name of the restaurant in north Irving. You can get a LARGE bowl of pho (Vietnamese soup) for about $8.
Anyway, I have decided that Saturday is my favorite day of the week. Why? Along with college football day in the fall, Saturday is Long Run Day, the one day of the week when I run a really long way. Yesterday I ran 11 miles. Next Saturday I hope to do 12, followed by 13 the following week. My 15.5-mile Tyler race is less than four weeks away, and I can hardly wait. My legs feel good, even the hip flexor that was irritating me for a while during the spring and summer. My energy level stays high during the runs. The temperature is dropping. I love the long run because it’s a challenge without being impossible. At the end I feel like I’ve accomplished something because I have. I return sweaty and tired and a bit sore, but I’m generally happy. There’s nothing like achieving something you once thought you could never do.
Filling the Space
A wise person once noted that when people move into a larger living space, they eventually acquire more stuff to take advantage of the extra space they gain. For instance, when we moved from a two-bedroom apartment into a four-bedroom house, we almost immediately got pregnant with Jonathan and filled the fourth bedroom with baby furniture. Sure, that was our plan rather than a surprise. However, even without Jonathan, we would’ve done something with that extra bedroom that probably would’ve involved getting more stuff. We had the space, so why not use it for something?
I’ve noticed, and another writer pointed out, that we do the same thing when our income increases. We survived on our previous level of income and could do any number of nice things with the extra money: save it, invest it, give it away. But let’s be honest – those nice, responsible things aren’t nearly as fun as upgrading our lifestyles. Why deny yourself something you want when you finally get the money to pay for it?
So…yeah…turns out an expanded budget isn’t the same thing as an unlimited budget. So after a couple of fun months, it’s time to be fiscally responsible again. Eyes on the prize, Box! Item #1 is saving up for…
Nursing School Update
For the last two years, Jenny has been knocking out nursing school pre-reqs at Tarrant County College and planning to start nursing school there next fall. The nursing program there awards an associate’s degree in nursing and prepares students to pass the licensing exam to become a Registered Nurse (RN). After studying the nursing job market and talking to some professionals in the industry, Jenny is working on a transfer to the University of Texas at Arlington, which awards a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). We think the BSN will help her find a nursing job once she graduates, and it also lays the groundwork for a possible master’s later on. Yes, UTA is more expensive, but it’s not nearly as steep as the private nursing schools in the area (gulp). And it will require more classes. For her, the BSN requires about four extra classes that she needs to take prior to entering the nursing program. At this point, she’s not sure when those classes will be offered. She should start the nursing program either next fall or in spring 2014. Either way, nursing school will take four semesters in all, and we think the BSN will be worth the extra time and money. Go Jenny Go!
Science vs. Religion
As you’ve surely noticed, sometimes scientific knowledge conflicts with one’s religious beliefs – not necessarily the core of one’s faith, but the interpretation of certain passages or concepts. Moreso than in most Western countries, it seems much more acceptable in America to choose religion over science when the two seem to conflict. I was like that in high school. But then as I grew older, I started wondering why I expected the Bible, written thousands of years ago, to serve as a science textbook rather than a religious text. When writing the Bible, the authors came from their own culture and their own level of scientific knowledge, and they were writing for an audience from the same culture and the same level of scientific knowledge. It doesn’t seem fair to expect the Bible to be absolutely accurate from a scientific perspective by 21st century standards. Many aspects of our society (think iPhones, TVs, atomic bombs, heart transplants, space travel) are so radically advanced compared to Bible-era technology that the Bible’s writers would probably consider them absolutely miraculous…and probably quite difficult to describe in ancient Hebrew. So when I see a conflict between science and my faith, I generally assume that my interpretation of the Bible was flawed in some way, probably because I’m expecting the Bible to be something it was never intended to be. God gives us all a brain, and I’m pretty sure He expects us to use it.
- Have I mentioned lately how glad I am that I’m not famous? Among other perks, no one wants to publish topless pictures of me.
- We have almost all the details worked out for our trip to Disney in January, and we’re all very excited. I think Jenny and I are more excited than they are because they don’t really know what to expect. I can’t wait to see their reactions to all the amazing things they will see.
- Last Sunday, Baylor alumni Robert Griffin III had arguably the best debut by a quarterback in the history of the NFL. He already has a starting job, tons of fans, marketing deals with Adidas, Subway, and Nissan, the respect of his teammates and coaches, and a bright future ahead of him. History holds numerous cautionary tales about the dark side of fame and fortune, but everything I know about RG3 tells me he will handle the craziness and pressure just fine. Sorry, Jerry, I’m a Redskins fan now.
- Whenever I’m around Jonathan, if I start singing or dancing, he tells me to stop. Sometimes he covers his ears. Apparently, I’m embarrassing him even if no one else is around. Or maybe I’m just that bad.
- I took the boys to play tennis this week after Jenny got Jonathan his first racket, a tiny blue Spongebob one. Jonathan got bored quickly, but this time Brenden actually tried to hit with me for a while. Tennis is a hard game to learn and nearly impossible to master. Brenden always gave up quickly in prior outings, but this time I changed the rules. Basically, if he got it over the net, he got a point, and I cheered for his every point. He likes that kind of tennis. Here are some pictures.
- Jenny and I did two yoga classes last week. I like to think it will help me stay loose for running and cycling, plus it helps me relax. I sorta did a move called Side Crow for the first time. Google it if you want a picture. It was definitely NOT relaxing, rather quite difficult and a bit scary, but I did manage to hold it for a second or two without falling on my face.