Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The iPhone Chronicles

I am the kind of person who likes change. I love the 4 seasons. I love that education brings a whole new batch of students every year. I love re-arranging my office. I love the excitement that comes with change. Last week, I took on a new change with my phone.

I've had a Samsung Galaxy SII for a year and a half. For some people that doesn't seem like a long time, but I usually get a new phone yearly (part of my contract), so it seemed like an eternity. I honestly loved my old phone, but the battery life had gotten out of control and it had obviously been dropped once or twice (or 12 times). It was time for a new one.

Most of my friends are iPhone users, so I decided to take the plunge. Even though Consumer Reports ranked it #3 of the Sprint Smart Phones....and I don't usually go against Consumer Reports. Last Friday night I got an iPhone 5, and my feelings are decidedly mixed. I am trying really hard to be open minded. There are a lot of things that are simply habits that need to be changed, but there are a lot of things that I'm flat out missing.

Let's talk about the good....

1. iMessage - I like the idea of group messaging, although I hate that it is locked down to other people with iPhones. Seems a little Monopolizy to me. (Yep, that's a word!)

2. Overall Design - I love how sleek it looks and feels. It feels classy. It also makes me feel like I'm part of an elite club of iPhone users. 

3. Apps - There are a couple of apps that I can get on iPhone that I don't have on Droid. So far the only one I care about is the Chipotle app.

Let's talk about what is tripping me up....

1. Ringtones - Customizing ring tones and alerts is a pain. On my droid, I could download a sound that I liked (such as the sound of a whistle) and it asked if I wanted to set it as an alert. It took a minute if that. On the iPhone, I either have to go through an app, use my computer, or something I haven't figured out yet.

2. Keyboard - I used Swype on my old phone. Granted, it caused some auto-correct issues, but that was my fault. And once I changed the settings, I got much better about not sending ridiculous texts. Additionally, I didn't have to switch between the letter screen and the number screen. That has been highly annoying. I used to just hold down the Q key for a second to get a 1. Or I'd hold down the N key to get a comma. I hardly ever switched between keyboards.

3. The Back Button - This is hands down the hardest thing to give up. If I was flipping between apps, I could just hit the back button to go between. If I needed to get to an app that I was in multiple apps ago, I could double hit the home button to get to my active apps just like on the iPhone. However, the back button allowed me to toggle between the app I was previously in. Additionally, inside of apps, the back button worked to get me to the previous screen. On an iPhone it is up to the app designer where the back button goes. Sometimes it's the top, sometimes it's the bottom, sometimes there isn't one.

4. Exiting Apps - On my Droid, I could hit "Exit All" to get out of all active apps. On the iPhone, I have to go into the active app drawer, hold down one app so they start wiggling, then exit each app individually. It's time consuming.

5. Additional Storage - I always added an SD card to my phone, so I could have unlimited storage. My last phone had 64 gigs. I hate being locked into 16 gigs. I love listening to podcasts while I work out. You'd be amazed at how much storage that takes, so it's nice to have options to expand my storage. Not a huge deal, but annoying.

6. Multiple Functions at Once - My iPhone definitely can run multiple apps at once, but sometimes I'm downloading something, and it stops because I open a new app. I don't feel like it's true multi-tasking. I could be wrong here, but I feel like when I have a ton of apps running (like streaming music, checking Facebook, and uploading a photo to Instagram) it gets bogged down. 

7. Settings - My Droid had a menu button as well, so inside an app, I could just hit it and go to the menu. On the iPhone, I have to go into settings, and drill down into the individual apps. Once again, time consuming and annoying.

8. The Headphone Jack - Why does the iPhone put the headphone jack on the bottom? When I'm at the gym, I like to set my phone in front of me in case I need to check Twitter, but with the headphone jack on the bottom, I can't.

9. Screen Size - This one isn't a huge deal, but when surfing the web, I can definitely tell a difference. The iPhone screen is small, and not ideal for the ratio of a lot of web pages. I am not a fan of the huge screens of some Droids, but it is nice to be able to zoom in and see some images really big.

10. Apps Talking to Each Other - I'm sure there is a way to do this on the iPhone, but I haven't figured it out. If I want to send a photo to Instagram, I have to go into the Instagram app on my iPhone. On my Droid, I simply tap share the photo, and every possible app that can share a photo pops up. 

Like I said, I really am trying to be open minded. There are just little things that are annoying me so much! So iPhone users, help me out. Why should I continue to give your device a chance? What exactly do you love about your phone? And Droid users, remind me of the annoying things. I know it's not a perfect phone. I'm trying to be fair and balanced here. Help me out, Internet!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Working Out and Prayer

A few weeks ago I blogged about working out, and how I've started enjoying going to the gym.

The thing is, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I have absolutely no desire to get out of bed, lace up my tennis shoes, and head to the gym. Sometimes the elliptical machine is pure drudgery. There are even times that I'm literally angry about the fact that my sleep is being interrupted. And I don't get angry easily, Internet.

Usually, I have to do something to get my mind off working out. It always includes music and lately it has also included prayer. Somewhere along the line, I got the idea to make a list of 30 things to pray for during my workout - 1 for each minute.  I have a note on my phone that I update from time to time. The last few minutes are all more specific prayer requests from the previous week's conversations. The first few minutes rarely change.

This gives me something to focus on instead of the fact that I don't want to work out. It also helps keep my mind from wandering while praying. Granted, it still wanders. Some minutes get skipped because I lose track of time. Some only get a short prayer and then I'm back to rocking out to my music. Regardless, it gives me a great workout partner for those times when it's just me and the treadmill. I encourage you to try it, and I hope you love it as much as I do....and if you have anything you want me to pray about during my morning workouts, let me know. I'd love to add you to the list.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The part of singleness no one tells you about....

There are times in my life that I absolutely love being single. I have an entire list in my journal of reasons why I love singleness. They include....

"Being able to sleep however I want."
"Eating cereal for dinner and not worrying about making someone else's meal."
"Getting to choose the radio station, TV channel, and things of that sort."
"Naming my own pets."
"No real reason to shave my legs."
"Being able to use all the closets in the house."
"No one hears me talking in my sleep, so they can't use what I say against me."
"Making my own decisions."

That last one seems like a good thing, but sometimes I realize it makes life really hard. I love being able to choose my own paint colors or social events, but when it comes to life decisions, it's not so fun. Big decisions like buying a house, getting another degree, changing jobs, etc, are really tough in their own right, but I add a degree of complexity to it with my singleness.

Sure, I can go out and buy a house, but what if I meet the man of my dreams next month and he owns a house? I could easily go get my doctorate, but why would I incur thousands of dollars of debt, if I'm going to get married in the next few years and want to stay home with kids? It's a whole different take on "what if?" It's more concrete than just worrying about things that could possible happen because odds are, if you are single, you will get married, but that "when" question is always lingering.

It could be tomorrow. It could be next year. It could be never. So do I just continue making life decisions with no regards to my future family, or do I let it paralyze me from living life now?  I know there must be a balance, but what is it?

I know it all comes down to trusting God's timing. I'm extremely grateful that I get to learn this lesson through singleness, but that doesn't make it an easy lesson to learn. I have to trust that God knows who, when, and where. I have to live my life today. It's amazing when you think about it that our days are cut into 24 hours. It just shows that God gives us exactly what we can handle. It's His design. I don't have to know about tomorrow. I've been given today.

So my decisions need not be my own. They are made by taking steps based on prayer, wisdom, and counsel. It doesn't make it any easier, but it does bring comfort.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." -Proverbs 3:5

You know, it's funny. So many times, I try to blog a rant that I'm having in my head, and then I get to writing about it, and it turns into a personal Come to Jesus Moment. I honestly expected to sit here and tell you about the perils of being single, but my fingers had different plans. Yesterday, I planned to tell you about gaining weight, but I took a totally different path once I got to writing. I love that about my blog, you never know where it's going to go.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Weight Loss Episode 16

It's been a month since I wrote a weight loss post. Tonight I finally went back to the scale, and yes, I've gained a little --- 2.4 pounds to be exact. Which honestly is not that much weight. I easily could have gained a dozen pounds, and I think the only thing that kept me from that was my dedication to the gym.

Regardless, when trying to lose weight, the last thing you want to do is gain weight. It's moments like these that I have to remind myself that it's just a number. Sure, it's a little indication of my health. No, it's not good on my heart and joints. Yes, I would like to weigh less. In the end though, it's a number.

I'm reminded of a quote from my very favorite book, The Little Prince.
Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?". They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him
We do like numbers. In the last 2 days alone, I've been asked 9 times how much weight I've lost. Which doesn't bother me in the least, but it does make me wonder what they thought of me before the weight loss. Did they think I was ugly? Do they think I still have a lot of weight to lose? What will they say if I'm not able to keep the weight off? Don't get me wrong. I know the people asking were simply curious, but if I place my value in their hands, I'm going to come up short.

I've lost 64 pounds overall. My Easter dress this year was 4 full sizes smaller than the one I wore 2 years ago. My waist is 8 inches smaller. All of these are simply numbers, ones that I'm quite proud of, but what I don't talk about are the other things I've lost. I've lost feeling sorry for myself because I was the bigger girl. I've lost hiding behind my weight because it's easier. I've lost my disdain for trying on new clothing. And most of all, I've lost placing my value into the hands of others. I'm still working on shedding some of this excess, but I'm learning slowly.

So here we are. I know this isn't an easy post to read. It requires me to be very vulnerable and hits a little too close to home. I really don't want to write it, but I think it's important because our value comes from God, and not from a number on the scale, a number on a tag, a number on a paycheck, a number on driver's license or a number on a grade card. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, "You were bought with a price, therefore honor God with your bodies."

When I take the time to step away from the scale and think about my value in Christ, I realize that I want to become healthier because it honors my creator. I want to be able to serve Him until I'm double and triple the age of those around me. I want to be healthy enough to do whatever He calls me to do. I don't want my ministry weakened because of my fitness. In the verse above, Paul is specifically talking about sexual sin, but I think it applies to all areas of the body.

I could weigh 450 pounds and eat nothing but greasy, fried food all day long, and God would love me just the same as when I am at a healthy weight and working out everyday. My value in His eyes would not change, so we honor God with our bodies because He values us, not to make Him value us. You don't buy a $40,000 sports car just to let it sit in the yard and rust. You take care of it. Clean it. Maintain it. God put value in me by buying me with a price, therefore I'm going to honor Him with all I have, including my body.

It's not about the number I see on the scale, it's about continuing to get healthy, so I can serve Him better. Sometimes when I gain, I just have to take a step back to remember why I'm doing all of this in the first place, so thanks for listening as I walk through that process.