Just checking in everyone. Week two of the January Healthy Eating Challenge was just as I expected. Total. Epic. Failure. I am trying not to be too hard on myself. I just need to find foods that I enjoy that have whole grains. My picks for this week? Mini Wheats and Toasted Wheat Thins. That's all I got. My tortilla with carne asada earlier this week was corn, not whole wheat or whole grain. I went to lunch and the tostada was definitely not whole grain. I am determined!! I just need to re-evaluate my taste buds, I guess...

I realized the other day that I haven't been keeping up on my posts as much as I could have. I've got good reason though. I'm in school full time getting a 4.0 and I'm pregnant. I'm also working full time. This leads me to another dilemma.

Weight gain.

I've gained 10 pounds over the last year, and I haven't been taking care of myself. This was very apparent to me when I announced my pregnancy to the ladies in the front office of the school I work at. The first thing the attendance lady said to me? "You look pregnant. We knew you were."

The problem? I was only 10 weeks along. I wasn't even showing yet. YIKES!!

A complete stranger looks at me and assumes I'm pregnant because I'm not model thin? What is this world coming to? I mean, talk about rude!!

But! It was the wake up call that I needed. My doctor says that I should be between 145 and 150 based on my height which is 5'7''. He also said that I should gain 30 pounds or less with this pregnancy.

So! The game plan:

Give my baby all the nutrients it needs while preventing excess weight gain. First step is the Food Network's January Health Challenge.

Week One: Eat breakfast every day. This is not hard for me, since I can't function in the morning without a little fuel.

Week Two: More Whole Grains. This is going to be the most challenging week, I fear. I don't really know what a whole grain is, let alone what is made with whole grains and what isn't completely processed out. I did buy a box of Frosted Mini Wheats though....

Week Three: Cook at Home. Well, the husband and I were doing great at this! But we have kinda gotten lazy and relied a bit on Papa Murphy's pizza to bail us out. Since I am on vacation right now, I am planning to go back and hit this one strong with menu planning and lots of crock pot stuff that I can prepare the night before and cook while I am at work.

Week Four: More Fruits and Veggies: This is a must for myself and for the baby. Fruit I am good at eating. It is the vegetable area that I struggle with. Here's hoping I can find more veggies that I like to eat.

Week Five: Stay on Track!! Self explainable. This is the biggest challenge I think. At least they didn't have six weeks. Week six I bet would be called: Get Out and Move!

So I was asked to contact Larry King Live to send my questions to the President of Iran. However, when searching through Ocean, I found this:

Contacting National Media:
Local Spiritual Assemblies, local committees and individual Bahá'ís should not contact national media (e.g. television or radio networks, national or international wire services, newspapers or magazines with international, national or statewide distribution) without first contacting the Office of Public Information.
When the Bahá'ís find that programs or articles in international and national media contain errors about the Faith, it is essential that they inform the Office of Public Information which will then determine the best way to handle the matter. Individuals should not contact editors or program directors to correct the errors.

(Compilations, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Baha'i Communities)

So. I decided to phrase my question generally:

When will everyone in your country be able to have the basic human rights they are allowed and deserve? This includes the religious minorities such as Christians, Baha'i's and Jews...

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I've been catching up on my Baha'i reading lately.
First I read A Love Which Does Not Wait by Janet Ruhe-Schoen, which is about some of the early pioneers. In the book she tells the stories of their lives, and explains that despite the challenges that they faced, because of their love for the Faith and Baha'u'llah, they persevered. Some of them rode on trains with the cows, one couple spent a large portion of their marriage only seeing each other a few times a year, and one of them was asked to wear the same outfit every day.... Now I am reading Lua Getsinger Herald of the Covenant by Velda Piff Metelmann, and there is a section in chapter 7 (page 72) that quotes a tablet given to Lua from 'Abdu'l-Baha during a time when she was experiencing difficulty. It reads:

"The more difficulties one sees in this world the more perfect one becomes. The more you plough and dig in the ground the more fertile it becomes. The more you cut the branches of a tree, the higher and stronger it grows. The more you put gold in the fire, the purer it becomes. The more you sharpen the steel by grinding, the better it cuts. Therefore, the more sorrows one sees, the more perfect one becomes, That is why in all times the prophets of GOD have had tribulations and difficulties to withstand. The more often a captain of a ship is in the tempest and difficult sailing, the greater his knowledge becomes. Therefore, I am happy that you have had great tribulations and difficulties; -of this I am very happy- that you have had many sorrows. Strange it is that I love you and still I am happy that you have sorrows!"

After reading this and thinking about the recent challenges I've faced, I believe that 'Abdu'l-Baha is very happy now. I've often wondered why we face the particular tests that we do, and I wonder why the tests I am given seem so monumental at the time, yet in retrospect or compared to other people's trials, they are minuscule.

I had a very nice, very long conversation with my friend the other day, and she, too, is being tested. She's being tested in ways that I could not even imagine...my heart was breaking knowing that I couldn't give her a hug, or go with her to do the things she needed to do.

My fiance has been in another state for a little over a month now, and will be in another state for at least another 17 months and it's proven to be very difficult for both of us. Not that I make things any better by whining and crying about it all the time....but I know it could be worse! He could be in another country without any communication with the outside world. He could still be in the military and be deployed to somewhere "off the grid." I could not have a fiance at all....He could live in another state permanently and not have a solid idea of when we could be together....I could be one of those women who gets beaten everyday and is afraid to leave...I could be on drugs and unable to get clean....my pre-cancerous cells could mutate into full blown cancer....so many other things could be happening to me right now!

My mom works with a lady who has severe osteoporosis. Because of this she has a hunchback.This woman has two children, ages 8 and 10. She lives in low income housing. One day, shortly after moving in to her apartment, she heard a knock on the door. She opened it, and a man with a large knife pushed through, slicing her neck. He then went in and raped her 8 year old daughter and gutted her 10 year old son....all three of them survived, and I am pretty sure they caught the man....but I don't know what I would have done if that had been me....I don't know if it's wrong to look forward to the day that man meets our just God...or should I just fall to my knees and cry, "Ya Allah'u'Abha!!" and thank Him for protecting me from the evil in this world, and ask Him to bless that woman and her children, and heal them, physically and emotionally.....

What I'm trying to say here I guess, is what I need to remind myself always.....God tests us so that we may grow, and learn...and despite how bad it gets. How hard it is. How much it burns like the fire. It could always be worse. It could always get worse if we aren't careful and thankful for our blessings.

I am thankful, God. I am thankful that there are people in this world that love me. I am thankful that in this economy I am blessed with not one, but two jobs. I am thankful that I am able to go to the grocery store once a month and buy groceries. I am thankful that I have chosen my friends and peers wisely and that I have not fallen into the drug trap that so many of my former friends have. I am thankful God, that I was given the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land and to walk where Your Manifestations walked. I am thankful that I have a bed to sleep in and a roof to keep me dry. I am thankful for my overall good health. Lastly God, I am thankful for my Faith. My Faith that You will keep me safe and happy, despite my fears and uncertainties.

Ruhiyyih Khanum said the following about Faith:

To walk where there is no path
To breathe where there is no air
To see where there is no light
This is Faith

To cry out in the silence,
The silence of the night,
And hearing no echo, believe
And believe again and again
This is Faith

To hold pebbles and see jewels
To raise sticks and see forests
To smile with weeping eyes
This is Faith

To say: 'God I believe' when others deny,
'I hear' where there is no answer
'I see' though naught is seen
This is Faith

And the fierce love in the heart,
The savage love that cries
Hidden Thou art, yet there!
Veil Thy face and mute Thy tongue
Yet I see and hear Thee, Love,
Beat me down to the bare earth
Yet I rise and love Thee, Love!
This is Faith.

So now, the challenge.
Remember! It could be worse! HAVE FAITH THAT IT WILL GET BETTER!!!

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when I need to make sense of something. Sometimes this may come in the form of jokes, and sometimes it may come in the form of rambling. Other times it may actually become more clear the more I write, which is of course the goal.