Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Feeling the Burn while Feeding the Brain: What a concept!

As I said in my post yesterday, I started a new daily devotion.  I actually found the devotional book in my husband's nightstand, a gift to him from my mother-in-law, Lesly.  Although I'm only a few days into it, I'm LOVING it, and I highly recommend you pick it up if you are ever looking for something to jump-start your day.  It's called The One Year Devotional: Walk with God by Tiegreen.  It's simple, applicable and easy to read - and I love that it doesn't require a huge time commitment (although that's not really important, I KNOW.)  It's good.  Read it.

Anyway, as I was finishing up with my reading this morning I realized something.  As a kiddo, we all learned the Books of the Bible's New Testament by singing the song, right? "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Acts and the Letters to the Roooooomans!"  Well, I may have the occasional mix-up, but I am usually right on track with these.  However, I never learned the Books of the Old Testament - did you?  This morning I realized that I can only recite the first five in order: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

SOOOOO... I decided that I'd make a memory card, similar to those you'd make if you are trying to memorize your favorite Bible verses.  Only this time, I made it with the Books of the Old Testament.  I even had room for the New Testament, so I put those on there, too - just in case I can't remember the old Sunday School tune.

AND... I took my new card to the gym with me this morning.  I'm now proud to say that after 3.7 miles on the treadmill, I can recite the books of the Old Testament.

All of this before 9 o'clock in the morning - I feel quite accomplished!

PLUS... it made the workout go by sooooo much faster.  Could it be because my mind was working as hard as my body on that treadmill?  I'm thinking so!  I even zoned out a little, timing my running pace as I recited each book.

This, my friends, is a good thing!

Now I need to decide what else I can study on the treadmill - my "Treadmill Trivia," if you will.  Any suggestions?  Maybe I'll learn how to count to ten in various languages, or the periodic table of elements (Mr. Nauert would be so proud!)  How about the State Capitols (no, I never learned that either.)  Or maybe I'll make it fun and memorize the list of all of our Miss Americas!  FUN!

Here's a photo of my card, in case you want to see what I stared at for an hour.  I know it's blurry, but the camera on my iPhone really isn't all it's cracked up to be:

Rana's Memory Card for the Books of the Bible

And in case you want to make one of your own, but don't know where your Bible is (or how to use Google for that matter), OR you want to put me to the test, here are the Books of the Old Testament, in order - of course:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

How'd I do?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Miss New Mexico 2010: The Other Side of the Table

Last month, I had the incredible opportunity to serve as a judge on the panel that would select our newest Miss New Mexico.  What an exciting experience!  I have to admit, however, that when Carol Henry, (Executive Director of the Miss NM Organization and my surrogate mama during the year I held the title) called to ask me to judge, I was a bit taken back.  I know that according to Miss America rules, a state titleholder must be "out of the system" for a number of years before she is eligible to sit on a judges panel.  Had I really already met the Out-of-System requirement?

Wow - Yes, I had.  It's just crazy to think that it's been seven years since I wore the Miss New Mexico crown.

Aside from the initial shock and following excitement, I turned into a nail-biter (figuratively speaking.  Well, literally speaking, too.)  In the months and weeks leading up to the pageant, I began to get nervous at the task at hand.  I had such an amazing experience as Miss New Mexico, and I desperately wanted to select a girl who would really take advantage of the title and learn and grow from it.  I wanted to select a girl who had worked hard to earn it, and who would be a gracious winner.

A few weeks before pageant time, I received my judges book in the mail.  Ah yes, the golden judges book.  I remembered how I had spent days - DAYS- perfecting my paperwork, looking for typos and asking everyone I knew to read over it for me.  I wanted to make sure that the information I submitted to the judges gave them the most accurate description of me, and gave them the clearest idea of what I was like as a person.

From the moment I found the box on my front porch, I poured myself into that judges book!  I meticulously read over each contestants information, making notes on things that were interesting - making notes on things I wanted to know more about.  I studied each girl's platform issue, and I looked to make sure each contestant had a true passion for that issue.  I made sure I had a list of educated and insightful questions to ask during the personal interview portion of the competition (no, this is not the on-stage portion the public gets to see.)  And yes, I looked to see if each and every one of those girls was on Facebook, and I looked at their pages.  (And no, I didn't find one bit of incriminating evidence against any of them - these were truly girls with great character.)

I was ready.

In the end, our judges panel selected an excellent titleholder, Madison Tabet.  It wasn't easy, though - we had a considerable number of contestants who would have made amazing Miss New Mexico's, and I hope that they each come back to compete in the coming years at their shot to wear the crown and more importantly, serve as a role model for people everywhere.

Madison Tabet, Miss New Mexico 2010.

Still, when the top five were being called out, I sat with my hands over my mouth, speechless, with a knot or ten in my stomach.  I was so nervous!  It was like I was competing all over again!  Needless to say, I knew how each one of the Top 5 were feeling at that point.

Miss New Mexico Pageant 2010 Top 5.

Madison met all of my criteria - she will make a fantastic Miss New Mexico, and I can't wait to see where she will go next.  In fact, Tiff and I are headed to Miss America in Las Vegas next January to watch.

What a wonderful experience - one that I will never, ever forget.  Special thanks to all of my Miss New Mexico family, and my new friends who served on the panel with me.

Fellow judge Phil Kimmi, with the Miss Missouri Org., and I goofing off backstage.

The other added plus?  The HUGE added plus?  My best gal pal in the world Tiffany Jewell was there too, and she was recruited to perform in the production numbers with a few of my Miss New Mexico sisters!  "You can't stop the beat!"

Tiffany Jewell (Miss Idaho 2003), Blake Marvin (American Idol Contestant) 
and Jenny Marlowe (Miss New Mexico 2007).

Best of luck to Madison at the Miss America Pageant this coming January!

Ta ta for now!

Now... where were we?

Okay, first and foremost, let me just go ahead and apologize for not blogging sooner.  I know that I said I would blog often, and I promise I thought I would.  But the past 3 months have been a flurry of activity and travel, soul searching, sale searching, body bronzing (and burning) and Rock Star toes.

But I'm back.  (Shout out to Mrs. Lewis!  While I was visiting my family in Fluvanna earlier this summer, she actually asked me if I had posted another blog - evidence that SOMEONE reads this!  Thanks, Mrs. Lewis!)

So yes, lots happening since my last post back in... April.

First off, I turned "Almost 30" -  29 to be exact.  And to be quite honest, I had a bit of a freak out moment when I realized that this time next year I'll be turning 30, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!  Shouldn't I have this all figured out by now?  I mean, I've got two college degrees hanging on my wall (and the student loans to prove 'em), and a professional background that is - um - diverse.  DIVERSE, I say.  Believe me, you should try reading my resume.

When I was a wee gal growing up in Dream-ville, I remember thinking that 22 was the age that I would really be an adult.  I'd have it all figured out by then.  I'd be married with babies, a thriving career, a spotless home and real, grown-up friends.  Ha!  22!  Realistically, 22 found me wrapped up in the whirlwind that is the Miss America experience, traveling across the state of New Mexico on a speaking tour and waving from a convertible in every small town parade you could think of.  WOW - If only I could have been Miss New Mexico at 29 instead of 22!  If I had only known then what I... blah, blah, blah.

ANYWAY, on the morning of my 29th, 
I woke up in a tizzy, and I realized, 

Since then, needless to say, I have found myself at a bit of a personal and professional crossroad.

Who do I want to be, and what do I want to do?

As far as my professional tract goes, I'm taking a break.  Thankfully, I've got a super supportive husband who is encouraging me to take the time to really decide what is going to make me happy.  During this time, I've been praying for an incredible experience to reveal itself to me, and I believe the Lord has opened my eyes to something I once dismissed.

One of my favorite reference books.

Once upon a time, while I was in grad-school, I decided that I'd go ahead and obtain my teaching certification, just in case I ever wanted to teach.  Well, I'm super glad I did!  While sitting still and listening for God to tell me where he wanted me, the idea of the education field kept popping up.  I'll be teaching Speech and/or Journalism, and although I'm not sure if I'll start this fall or next, I'm pumped about it.  I'm truly looking forward to such a rewarding experience.

Next up, my personal life.  Bradley and I celebrated two years of wedded bliss in April.  TIME FLIES!  The two of us finally decided to get ourselves healthy and back in shape, and I've been hitting the gym, and he's hitting P90X early in the mornings.  I think we will reward ourselves with a beach vacation sometime soon.  (And no, babe.  I'm not referring to the beaches of Lake Amistad.)

My new runners, and my new best friends.

But perhaps my most important adventure over the summer has been my personal quest to reconnect with my God.  I've started a new daily devotional that is helping me get back into the habit of trusting God and listening for him to direct me.  I even jazzed up my new devotional journal with my "prayer word" - Joy.  It definitely keeps me inspired. :)

The Joy of the Lord is my strength.  Nehemiah 8:10.

Oh yeah, this brings me to another point.  In case you didn't notice, I've changed the title of my blog.  The old one was boring and didn't inspire me at all.  The new one is better and more relevant, I think.

Okay, so those are a few points of interest for the past few months.  On top of this, however, I've had the wonderful fortune of traveling a lot, and spending a great deal of time hosting company at our home here in Fort Worth.  More details on more adventures coming up next...

Ciao, friends!