The Year of Cycle-ing

I can't believe that I've been blogging for almost a year. When I started out, I didn't know that I would explore personal musings, add a deal page to my blog, stop deal blogging due to time, start another blog for the cake business I co-own, Plum Crazy, and eventually get so busy, that I slacked off on this blog.

But, I've missed it. I've been continuing to think deep thoughts. And, instead of releasing them to the world, they've been stewing around in my brain.

Of my goals for this year (see how I didn't use the word resolution...thereby releasing me from legalism of sticking with a decision I've made) is to be better about blogging. So, here goes.

Last year for my first post, I talked about the ear infection I experienced on Christmas Eve/Day and how the refrain of a song (Your Love Never Fails), "there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning," felt like the theme for my year. I didn't imagine how true that would be for me -- maybe more in the little pains of life (injuries, discouragement, discontentment), rather than the bigger ills of life. But, pain nonetheless. However, the joy of God was truly a strength to me. Whenever I felt like a task was just too overwhelming and that I was in over my head, God always reached down and grasped my hand and pulled me out of the muck. His joy was truly my strength.

I ended the year in a bit of a funk. My season of training for the annual November half-marathon here in town started off great. I was faster than ever. More motivated than ever. This was going to be MY year. However, a few months in, I was injured. It came on gradually -- more than a little nuisance than anything. But it became more and more painful. Because I'm stubborn, I continued pushing myself and didn't seek medical care or even a diagnosis. I didn't want them to tell me to stop training -- even though I knew I probably should. So, I kept on -- in terrible pain -- trying everything to taping up my legs with physio-tape every few days for months, to ingesting Aleve daily, to wearing ugly compression socks the day of the race just to finish.

I didn't finish well. I didn't even beat my first year's finish time -- when I was 4 months pregnant! Discouragement for sure. After the race, I decided to go in to see a specialist to make sure I wasn't going to injure myself if I kept on running. Sure enough, there was something terribly wrong. My little injury turned into a BIG problem: a stress fracture. If I would have put my training on hold and allowed it to heal, the injury wouldn't have progressed into my ligament and tendon literally ripping away from the bone and creating a fracture.

Let's just say, I learned that lesson the hard way. There's a time to push and a time to heal. I now know the difference. And, changing things up is good. If I hadn't injured myself and HAD to rest my leg, I might never have experienced the joy and challenge of Spin!

I tried a Spin Cycling class several years ago. I was 6 months pregnant and a weeble wobble. Even the extra cushiony seat didn't help my rear-end from feeling like I was sitting on twin boulders. Needless to say, I did not enjoy it.

Flash forward to late November. Once again, I fumbled around as I tried to get my legs to cycle to the beat and my body to move back and forth to the music like everyone else in the class. But, once I got it, my running-conditioned body found that endorphin rush it loves so much. I was surprised to realize I was pushing myself just as much (if not more) cardio-wise when I was running. I have found a lot of simple joy and release when everyone in the class is moving to the beat and hitting that sweet spot. (I have another post in mind for that.)

And that joy of cycling has spilled over into 2011. And that's not all the "cycle-ing" that I've been doing. As always, we recycle as much as we can. However, I am just starting to love "upcycling." This happens when you take an item that was maybe destined for the recycle bin or trash can, but you add other elements and embellishments and turn it into something else. Something classy or functional. You've probably seen items in Real Simple or other magazines. I've seen a lot of my friends doing this as well. My friend, Amy, ingeniously took a roll of leftover white butcher-type paper they used to protect their carpet when moving into their new home, and stamped it with paint-covered Christmas-shaped sponges, and voila....Christmas wrapping paper! It was too cute.

So, inspired, I've been looking around for things I can upcycle.

When I was cooking dinner a few weeks ago, I found that I was oogling the empty Market Pantry pasta box. It had a cute see-through window and was the perfect shape for the letter box I'd been thinking of buying to put by our door to the garage. I usually drive our mail through the post office since it's down the street from us and our current mailbox set up at home is not conducive to keeping the elements out of our house. Most of the time, letters to be mailed end up getting lost under my purse and the toaster, etc. So, I was thinking of buying something to put them in above where we hang our keys.

I cut the top off the box and then cut the sides of the box at an angle. Here's what it looked like.

Of course, while functional, it wasn't very pretty to look at really. So, drawing upon a recent experience at our church's ladies' Christmas party, I bought some Mod Podge and pulled out my scrapbook paper and got to work.

And, a little while later, here's the finished result.

I added an extra piece of cardboard at the top for checks that need to be deposited
I can't wait to try something else. I've been saving out the most random only fear is that I will become like one of the people on Hoarders who keep saving stuff to "use someday." I'm going to have to really watch myself.

So, this is my self-proclaimed Year of Cycle-ing. I wonder what other ways I can get that word in...stay tuned. Oh, and if you have some Upcycle ideas or projects you've done, please share. I need a new project!

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