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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I am Not a Closed-Minded Person

I have been reading in Chapter 2 in my PSY 120 Intro to Psychology book about the parts of the brain that make up "you." It's pretty cool. Different parts handle memories, emotions, motivated behavior, thinking, etc.

Thinking about the mind got me thinking that I have been accused recently of being closed-minded. That could not be farther from the truth. There are a couple issues that I have my mind made up about, and if you catch me on a day when that's the topic of discussion, then you might get that impression of me. Those issues are drinking and it's related vices (smoking and drugs) and abortion. Until Proverbs 20:1 no longer says that wine is a mocker and beer is a brawler and whoever is led astray by them is not wise (among many other similar verses), I'm not drinking nor am I supporting it. Until the Ten Commandments no longer say thou shalt not kill, I'm not having an abortion nor am I supporting it. It's that simple.

But that doesn't make me a closed-minded person, it makes me a person who sticks to my beliefs. I don't try to be politically correct or popular, I try to be real.

That being said, there are definitely issues that I'm not 100% sure about. Like the death penalty, for instance. Part of me says that it's an appropriate punishment for the most heinous of crimes, but another part of me says that rotting away slowly all alone in a cold, metal jail cell is much more appropriate. I'd hear out arguments for either side. Just as long as they don't release the ones with high recidivism rates back out into society, I'm cool.

Another big one: gay marriage. I don't really see why we don't allow it. Sure it's a biblical sin, but there are plenty of other sinful things that are perfectly legal (LIKE drinking and abortion) that are much more harmful. I mean, unless gay people getting married suddenly starts causing car crashes and the deaths of babies, I've really got nothing against it. Again, I'd hear out arguments for either side.

So I hope no one's gotten the wrong impression of me due to hasty conclusions or sweeping generalizations or anything else of the like. Have a nice day!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

So I was perusing Wikipedia out of boredom this morning and learned a whole lot about my own religion's forgotten traditions. The Twelve Days of Christmas, a.k.a. Christmastide, actually BEGIN on December 25 and continue through January 5, with January 6 being known as the Epiphany - the celebration of the revelation of God in human form. Today is the eleventh day of Christmas, or more commonly, the Twelfth Night.

It got me thinking about how much Christmas today has gotten away from the celebration of Christ's birth and life it used to be and how commercialized it has become. Christmas Eve, which itself was no special day in the original Christmastide, has become a holiday in it's own right to Americans. We have adopted a view of Christmas painted by 19th century writers, such as in Washington Irving's A Visit from St. Nicholas. From Wikipedia: "Irving's stories depicted harmonious warm-hearted holiday traditions he claimed to have observed in England. Although some argue that Irving invented the traditions he describes, they were widely imitated by his American readers. The poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas popularized the tradition of exchanging gifts and seasonal Christmas shopping began to assume economic importance."

I would like to start my own Christmastide tradition for next year. I want to START celebrating Christmas on December 25, not finish it. Imagine how much money you could save if you did all your shopping at the "after-Christmas" sales and gave everyone gifts on January 6! (Which also happens to be my dad's birthday, so there's a plus, lol.)

Here's my general plan: give gifts and have a big dinner with family on the 25th. After that it'll be low-key for a few days, reading the Bible and reflecting on Christ's birth and life everyday. On New Year's Eve (which also happens to be about half-way through Christmastide) have another big party, this time with friends. Continue the low-key reflection period until January 6, at which point small gifts will be given to immediate family only and all the Christmas decorations will come down. (Some modern traditions hold that it's bad luck to keep decorations up after Epiphany). Then it's back to life as usual.

So who's with me? Anybody want to celebrate Twelve Days of Christmas next year?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Losing my Weight

My freshman year of college I gained 22 pounds. In August 2007 I went on a 1200 Calorie per day diet, with a once a week "blow it day" built in that would allow me to eat however much I wanted for one day so that I would be more likely to stick to it for the other six. I ended up losing 30 pounds by July 2008. Unfortunately, I've spent the last semester gaining 5 of that back. So now I'm sitting on a fence where I will literally be considered "overweight" some days and "normal weight" the next, depending on how much I've eaten. I'm borderline healthy, but I hate the teeter-tottering. I'd like to drop 19 pounds from where I currently am to a nice, even 130. That will put me smack dab in the middle of the healthy range for my height and it'll probably drop me another dress size, which will do wonders for my self esteem.

So what I'm up to right now is I'm going back to the 1200 Calories per day thing. I'm also making sure that I add in a snack. I used to snack but had stopped doing it, which caused me to overeat at mealtimes. Now I'm going to be eating breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, and dinner. I'm also going to be creating meal plans for up to a week in advance. When you try to wing it, you often end up eating more Calories than you should because you don't realize how many Calories are in the things you're eating. You also tend to overeat because if you don't have a plan, you'll eat whenever food becomes available - like everytime you pass a vending machine. You'll pass that machine up if you know you've got a protein bar in your purse or a bag lunch waiting for you at the office.

I went to the store today and stocked up on my old reliable survival foods - the 100-Calorie packs. I've got them in a bunch of different varieties. I also bought some Vanilla Coke Zero (I LOVE Vanilla Coke), some water, and some protein items. I got some pink lemonade protein water packets to put in my water. They have 30 Calories but they also have 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, which is not only good for you but it makes you feel full. I bought some double chocolate protein bars too. They taste amazing, have 180 Calories, and have 10 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. This probably sounds like a diet food advertisement by now, but I'm serious, this stuff is good for dieting.

Last but not least, my favorite video game ever: Wii Fit! I love playing my Wii Fit and it helps me set goals, keep track of my weight, keep track of my BMI, and feel accomplished for completing each exercise activity. On top of exercising regularly with that, I'll be doing simple things like parking farther away from the door at the grocery store so I have to walk farther, taking the scenic route across campus between classes, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and staying more active in general.

So here's hoping I can lose that extra weight for my health, my self esteem, and for the feeling of accomplishment.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Future Goals

So, I've decided to add a new resolution to my list: write notes/blogs at least once a week. I used to blog on Xanga practically everyday when I was in high school and for a little bit after I started college, and I think it really did help me get out alot of feelings and alot of stress. I also really enjoy reading other peoples' musings, so perhaps writing some of my own would be a worthy pursuit.

People tend to succeed more in life when they make goals for themselves, so I thought it would be a good idea for me to set some goals for the next year, five years, and ten years. Here are my goals for the future, organized into manageable little chunks.

Between now and 2010
  1. Try alcohol once - maybe - and then probably never drink again.

  2. Get engaged? You never know! ;-) Haha.

  3. Make a 4.0 for both Spring and Fall 2009 semesters

Between 2010 and 2014
  1. Graduate from college at least Magna Cum Laude

  2. Get a career started

  3. Get married

  4. Get a house

Between 2014 and 2019
  1. Have my first child

  2. Start working from home

  3. Have my second child

  4. Go on my second honeymoon

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

So here they are, those infamous promises I make to myself at the beginning of the New Year. Let's see if I can stick them out.

1. Stick to my diet of 1200 Calories per day (I gave it up for the holidays)
2. Read the Bible (I bought a daily read-me-in-a-year type Bible, so it should be a little easier)
3. Work out every Wednesday - and any other time I have time for it
4. Relax