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The Rest of 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

One of our challenges for this week in Camp WannaBeFit is to share our plan for the rest of 2014.

For the past year and a half, I've been fighting a battle with food, weight, and body image. Well, the battle started when I was a teen in ballet, but it really escalated last year. I've been working with a registered dietitian, and we use the book Intuitive Eating. My plan for the rest of this year is to work on some of the steps.

1. The first thing I will work on is getting in touch with my hunger and fullness signals. Right now, I know when I am overly hungry. But I have a much harder time distinguishing what gentle hunger feels like in my body. I will keep working on tracking my hunger and fullness signals in my food journal.

2. Another thing I will work on is eating purposefully. I will make sure that the food I eat is really worth the time, effort, and calories.

3. I am also working to build a daily exercise habit. When I lived in Wakkanai, Japan, I had a gym membership and the schedule was just built into my mind. With my new job starting next week, I will have to rebuild those habits (and without a gym membership). Depending on my schedule, I want to get in a walk before work.

4. I have to start making nutritious lunches every day to take to work. Yikes! There are no school lunches in my new job, so I have to pack lunch every day. It's one of my LEAST favorite chores.

5. The final thing I want to work on is taking at least a few minutes of quiet time each morning to start the day off calmly. I've done that a few mornings this week, and it has been helpful.

I'm excited about the rest of 2014!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMITHKRISTI 9/21/2014 10:25AM


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    These are some great, specific goals and an overall terrific plan!

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PMRUNNER 9/21/2014 6:35AM

    A good plan to finish the year strong!

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ZRIE014 9/21/2014 12:39AM

  you know what you want to do

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Rebun Flower "Marathon"

Monday, June 02, 2014

Dear Everyone,

I would like to recommend that you start saving your pennies for a trip to Rebun Island, just off the far northwestern corner of Hokkaido, Japan. Or, you could get a job with the JET Programme teaching English and try to get assigned to this area where you work at schools on the mainland and on islands on different days. That worked out well for me.

This weekend was the Rebun Flower Marathon. Races in Japan are often called marathons, whether or not a 26.2 mile race is included or not. For example, this one was a 3, 5, or 10K run. I'm still dealing with achilles tendinitis and not running, but when the English teacher I work with asked if I wanted to join her in the 3K, I couldn't say no.

I did approximately one training run.

In the past, I always had race strategies and long training plans, but for this one I just decided to run like something was chasing me.

During the race, I thought I was going to die, especially when we turned around and I realized that we had been running with the wind. But I didn't die, and I finished in 15:45, which was better than I hoped.

We hung around the finish line and cheered for people as they came in from the 5 and 10Ks. The last 10K runner (and he was last by a good bit) finished right at 1 hour. That seemed kind of fast for the final finisher to me!

After the race, the teachers had a barbecue. I love Japanese-style BBQ. Everyone sits around the grill and helps cook.

We had all kinds of meat and fish and vegetables.

The next day, I said goodbye and went for a walk before my ferry home. Rebun is a gorgeous place for walking. I was going to hike up into the hills that have spectacular sea views, but my hill muscles loudly protested. I stuck to level ground.

Come on over to Rebun! You probably won't regret it (unless the weather is bad).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARIOLA 6/12/2014 9:08PM

    No wonder you love it in Japan--it's so beautiful! emoticon

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GYPSYGOTH 6/2/2014 10:38AM

    Lucky you-- looks gorgeous.
Good job on a faster time than you expected, especially with an injury and so little training!

I would love to visit Japan someday!
...Need to get a job so I can start saving those pennies, first emoticon

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MARYBETH4884 6/2/2014 5:50AM

    What beautiful views!!

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A tale of mud

Monday, May 19, 2014

I'm a huge fan of sunshine (on snow, on a warm day...yum!). That said, I also adore rainy and foggy spring mornings, especially when seen from the train. There is something wonderful about seeing green fields, bare trees, and mist slide by.

Last week, I had two of those mornings! Tuesday and Wednesday were both lovely rainy mornings. There's only one problem...it's REALLY hard to photograph the beauty of the morning from the train. You get power lines.

Or poles

I arrived at my school station half an hour early Tuesday morning, so I decided to try to take a picture of a tree in a field that you can see right before you get to the station. It just stands there alone, looking cool, so I went on a hunt.

I headed out of town, trying to keep my too-long pants off the damp street. The morning was so green and quiet.

Quickly, I discovered that the train - even the slow train I had ridden - moves a lot faster than I do. There was no way I was going to make it to the tree and back in time to get picked up and taken to school.

Selfie time!

I thought I saw a pretty picture (since I couldn't get the one I really wanted). I was too far away, so I carefully picked my way down into a gully.

SQUOOSH! My feet went right through the flattened winter weeds and into muddy water. Ugh! It was cold and gross. By this point, I was committed and squished on to take my photo. You'd think it would be a masterpiece, but...

It's just kind of a normal picture.

I carefully extracted myself from the mud.

My socks, shoes, and lower pant legs were sodden, and my jacket had picked up some drizzle. I made my way back to the station, trying not to look too bedraggled.

A few minutes later, the train I was originally scheduled to arrive on arrived, and my ride to school picked me up. I had fixed myself up a little, but I didn't bring up where I had been or that I had arrived early. A little mystery is always a good thing!

Boy, was I happy to change into my dry school shoes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GYPSYGOTH 5/19/2014 7:35AM

    Oooh, unfun to sink into mud, but sounds like a good adventure anyway! Lovely pics.

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CHRISTINEBWD 5/19/2014 1:59AM

    I love your sense of *schoolgirl adventure* and your style of writing puts me right into your *wet* shoes? Anyway Liz just keep writing okay??

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ALICIA214 5/19/2014 1:11AM


The poor tree looks as though it had one over the eight .Translation one beer too many.. I know what it feels like to step into cold muddy water,glad you were able to
get into dry warm clothes..


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Sunday, May 11, 2014

I was feeling so stressed yesterday. I spent so much time researching things to do in the future. Should I stay in Japan? Should I take some time to further my education to open more doors? Should I get teacher certification so I can work anywhere in the US? Should I work in Mexico, because it would be a short trip home? Should I become a PE teacher? That last one was a weird mental jump, but ever since coming to Japan, being a PE teacher looks fun.

I didn't get anywhere in my thoughts except more stressed, so I set my computer aside and headed off to the beach.

I walked about 3/4 of a mile by and on the empty beach, and decided to sit down and take some time for meditation. My meditation is mostly just resting my mind from negative thoughts and being present in the moment/soaking in my surroundings.

Here is a plug for my current favorite app - 8tracks. You can listen on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. There are all kinds of awesome music playlists. I highly recommend it.

Since it was Sunday afternoon, I pulled up a playlist on 8tracks called Christian Indie is Cool no. 2. I just sat, listened, looked at the water, and ran my hands through the warm sand. I was slowly relaxing when I heard:

"You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand"

I was a little startled. Lord, is that you? It was a song I had never heard before. I kept listening.

"And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine"

The song was just what I needed to hear. I don't know what's ahead. But it was amazing to be reminded that God has it under control. The path may be hard or fun or both, but He will be there.

If anyone (like me) hasn't heard this song, it is called "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong United.

I'm really grateful for the Making Connections activity! These times of taking time out to focus my thoughts have been awesome.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    And when you looked and didn't see your footprints in the sand; he was carrying you....

Sounds like an absolutely perfect day! emoticon

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PKCTTS 5/11/2014 11:56PM


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CHRISTINEBWD 5/11/2014 9:04PM

    Every time I thought my life was not going the way I wanted it to, it turned out that it was better than ever. God puts us where he wants us, not the other way around. At least that has been my experience. I hope *wherever* you land you find joy in your life.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

This is Normal Me. Hi, nice to meet you!

This is me when I get caught up in The Great Circle of The Future. It's where I find myself this morning. It's all a grand part of being a solo adventurer.

I love living in Japan, but there's also a part of me that wants to be closer to my family. But there aren't many opportunities in my field where they live. So then I think that I should do this or that or the other thing. I wind up spending a lot of time and mental energy and not figuring anything out.

Anyway, I've been feeling really stressed today, and I'm going to have to work on some healthy ways to deal with it. Maybe I'll go for a walk by the sea and do some meditation. If I do some art as well, I can earn a lot of camp points and feel better.

I love living in Japan, and I love my family. I wish I could figure out how to have both things.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PKCTTS 5/11/2014 3:18PM

    emoticon Life just comes with trade offs (unfortunately), when I've been given choices of either family or "this" opportunity - family (and probably comfort/safety) have always been my choice. Consequently, there are a lot of things I haven't seen or done.

Get out there and do the things that make you love Japan today. And, know that you can always go home. Relax and follow your heart, you will rarely be disappointed in where it leads you.

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ADARKARA 5/11/2014 8:49AM


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PMRUNNER 5/11/2014 5:46AM

    Hugs! Best wishes as you figure out how to balance two strong forces pulling you in opposite directions!

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MARYDSAN 5/11/2014 1:51AM

    Amen! My exact thoughts this week! I love Japan, but I have a 101 year old aunt, 3 grown children, 4 grandchildren, and a brand new great grandchild. They are all building memories without me! I ate Mother's Day lunch alone in one of my favorite places-beautiful, the lunch was delicious, but I was alone on a special day. My normal Sunday lunch partners did not come today. But I was still so blessed! I got a message from DD as she and her son were taking off for their trek across Europe, and an eflower from my son. Hope you soon figure something out (me, too!)

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STEVEN_D 5/10/2014 9:52PM

    Wow, Japan. That's a long way off from family if they are way over here. I understand the this or that or other thing and spending too much time worrying about the future. I have to find some way to bring me back to the present. Hope the stress passes.

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