Sunday, January 30, 2011

Remember the Sabbath Day and Keep it Holy

Earlier this year, Don and I took on the responsibility of teaching Confirmation to a wonderful class of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at our church, Faith Lutheran, in Bellingham. We're both passionate about Confirmation and loving this opportunity to share with the youth of our church about our Lutheran faith and theology. For the last several weeks, we have been talking about the 10 commandments. My favorite class so far has been the class on Remembering the Sabbath Day and keeping it Holy. Mostly because it touched an exciting place of inspiration for Don and I.

Of all the commandments, this is the one commandment that is truly and purely for our benefit. God saw fit to build in for us, a day of rest and rememberance. So for the past few weeks, Don and I have actively been trying to build into our lives observance of the Sabbath. It's not initially an easy thing to do. We both lead fairly busy lives and with Don being self employed and me working from home, our work constantly threatens to invade our personal lives. So often our Sundays are filled with chores, errands, and anxiety and stress about the work week ahead. We've been slowly trying to transition away from this, focusing on getting our weekend obligations out of the way on Saturday, and truly treating Sunday as a day of rest and communion with God and each other.

Today was the first real successful Sabbath we've had I think. We started with a great Confirmation class, followed by church, our annual congregational meeting and brunch, on to an afternoon nap, then an outing to the pier with the dogs in the gorgeous cool crisp sunshiny air, a light trip to the mall for some exchanges including a new game for Don at Gamestop, then Happy Hour at Dos Padres, and now back home for evening entertainment of PS3, movie watching, homemade Chinese Food, and some fresh baked cookies later. The best part is that it was all on our own schedule, with no where to rush off to, with love and gratefulness in our hearts, with deep thanksgiving of all that God has blessed us with, and with no massive piles of laundry, dirty dishes, bookkeeping or a miriad of other obligations hanging over us.

It all reminds me of a saying Don used to quote from his Grandfather: "If you have to work, work five days. If you can't do it in five, work six days. But if you can't do it in six days, you're not going to be able to do it in seven, so you might as well take a break." There really is something to this Sabbath, Day of Rest thing and Don and I are so excited about building this into our lives. How many marriages, families, and individuals would be better off by practicing this simple day of rest and worship once a week. If I have any new years resolutions in 2011, it will be to observe the 3rd commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Don & Cindy's Amazing Cioppino

2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup diced red onion
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
4 ounces tomato paste
28 ounce whole tomatoes, hand crushed with all their juices
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped green olives
3 chopped hot jarred peppers (with seeds)
1 package frozen mixed seafood blend from trader joes (shrimp, scallops, and calamari), defrosted
1/2 cup graded parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 package small cheese tortellini

1. Melt butter over medium high heat in large stockpot. Add olive oil and onions. Saute two minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and cracked black pepper. Saute 3 minutes. Add tomatoes & stir to incorporate. Then add whole tomatoes, chicken stock, white wine, salt, thyme, basil, olives, hot peppers, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add seafood mix, and cook for 5 minutes over medium low heat until done.

2. In a separate pan, boil hot water and cook tortellini to al dente.

3. Serve cioppino over Tortellini and garnish with fresh grated parmesan and cilantro.

The recipe made quite a lot of stock, so we portioned off about three cups of the tomato broth and saved in the freezer for future use before we added the seafood mix. Can't wait to enjoy it again soon with the first few steps already done. In the future, adding a nice fillet of white fish portions would be a really fabulous addition and add some more depth. But no complaints with the finished product. We used Mount Baker Vineyards Viognier for the white wine which was absolutely divine, both in the broth and on the side. Most of all, we had a blast making it. One the best date nights in a long time.

Don has a few words to say about this also:

Just to be clear, Cindy and I didn't set out to make this today. This is not one of the recipes she so diligently plans ahead for. No, this was pure improv. Cindy didn't get around to doing the crockpot recipe she had planned, and so we began milling around the kitchen. She pulled out the package of mixed seafood from the freezer and asked, "Can you do anything with this?"

So we got to looking at perhaps an alfredo sauce with pasta... except we ran out of cream. We had the makings of a tomato-based something, but I wasn't sure if we had the stuff to do anything exciting. Then, as my palate usually does, I thought of spicy, and I was reminded of my favorite dish at our favorite Italian restaurant in Sherman Oaks. They make a Cioppino that was over $30 a bowl, and served with a half lobster in it.

Cioppino, except we still were thinking pasta. So maybe it would turn out thicker. Cindy started pulling out kalamata olives, and stuffed green olives from the fridge. We also had this jar of awesome hot peppers, the thin kind, almost like green beans. From there we printed off a couple recipes from the internet for a base, and began the great improvisation. By the time I had reached the point of reducing the heat in the broth to cook for 30 minutes, we stole a taste... and nearly cried at its true marvel.

Sometimes when two people love each other, they get together and make something truly special. And when it's all done cooking... they eat it.


Thursday, January 27, 2011


This was a challenging workout, which included a work interruption (after hours but important call). Had a hard decision about whether or not to go back and finish it, but finish it I did. Rome wasn't built in a day. Just have to keep sticking with it one workout at a time. Here are my workout results:

Back Knee Lunge Up (Left) 8; 10; 9; 9
Back Knee Lunge Up (Right) 10/10/10/10
Plank Jumps: 5/5/6/4

2 Walking Pushups & Step Touches 6/6/5

Jump Forward, Back, Tuck 7.5/7/7/8
Side Plank & Pushup (Left) 7/6/6/6
Side Plank & Pushup (Right) 6/4/5/7

Click here for the full workout details:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I can feel myself getting stronger. Tonight's workout was a time challenge, but I am focusing on each end every move targeting the right muscles and keeping very good form, so speed is not my focus. Also, I was limited on time, so while I got a solid 25 minute workout in, I only made it through 2 of the 3 sets planned.

Round 1: 30 Lunges and high knees (right leg); 30 lunges and high knees (left leg); 30 upright rows (5 lb dumbells); 30 dancing crabs

Jumping Squat Intervals (8 rounds, 30 seconds each): 10, 11, 9, 8, 9, 8, 8, 9

Round 2: 30 Lunges and high knees (right leg); 30 lunges and high knees (left leg); 30 upright rows (5 lb dumbells); 30 dancing crab

Jumping Squat Intervals (8 rounds, 30 seconds each): 8, 8, 10, 8, 9, 10, 11, 10

127 Hours

I had a great evening out with friends which I have met through some meetup groups tonight. We met for a glass of wine and some lite bites and then went and saw an amazing movie called "127 Hours." The movie chornicles the real life experience of a guy who was out hiking by himself and got his arm pinned underneath a boulder and was stuck for five days before he ended up having to cut off his own arm to free himself. The actual scene was not as bad as I thought it was going to be in terms of gore, but it was pretty intense. More so, I found myself very much rooting for him. But it definitely is one of those movies that makes you think. An experience of being so close to death, and realizing all of the things that you take for granted and all of the things that you yet want to do but haven't done. It has me thinking and wondering, in the same situation, would I have been able to do the same thing? Or would I have given in to death (the permanent solution) for fear of pain (a temporary fleeting moment)? So the movie has me thinking about how we are capable of so much more than we really think we are, and how a little courage goes a long way.

And on that note, tonight's workout was 300 squats. It was tough but I'm glad I didn't give up on myself or I would have thought myself quite foolish that the burn of 300 squats tumbled me when I just watched a man have to cut off his own arm.

Monday, January 17, 2011


I had another great workout tonight full of Bad@$$ery. Oh my. I think I am starting to fall in love with this girl Zuzana. Her workouts are just phenomenal. I have had a rough week. I'm balancing exciting results in my professional life (very rewarding) but exhausted from the hard mental and physical work of it all and some late nights, while at the same time struggling through some growing pains in my personal life. It makes for one depleted Cindy who very much needed a good workout but didn't have a lot to give. I'm so thankful for Zuzana's workoutS because they are short but intense and get right to the point. As tired as I was, I knew that I could at least give it my all for a short 20 minutes before I retired for the night. It was great to have a chance to sweat it out and I feel so STRONG and PROUD of my accomplishments. The moves are challenging and although I can't do all of the moves to the full extent that Zuzana can, I'm excited about the idea that someday soon I will be able to. So I'm focusing on getting the max out of every single exercise with her, really targeting each and every movement so that I can be as efficient as possible and achieve maximum results because I CANNOT WAIT to be the powerhouse I know I can be.

Checkout if you want to try this workout. My results are below:

Snow Boarder
- max. reps during each 30 second interval
: 7 / 10 / 8
One Leg Squat & Side Kick (left leg)
- max. reps during each 30 second interval
: 5 / 5 / 5
One Leg Squat & Side Kick (right leg) -
max. reps during each 30 second interval
: 5 / 5 / 4.5
Push Up/Lunge Combo Exercise Challenge -
8 minute count down
Shelf Butt Exercise
- max. reps during each 30 second interval
: 16 / 20 / 18
Half Pistol & One Leg Pike Press (left leg)
- max. reps during each 30 second interval
: 3 / 3 / 2.5
Half Pistol & One Leg Pike Press (right leg) -
max. reps during each 30 second interval
: 2.5 / 3 / 2.5

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Today's workout was a 12 minute challenge of alternating reps of 10 Sandbag Squats and 10 Reverse Pushups. We were supposed to do as many sets as we could in 12 minutes. I found an online timer since I don't have a stop watch to help out. I was able to do 8.5 sets in 12 minutes. The reverse pushups got really difficult at the end and I wasn't able to come all the way up on some of the final reps, so I just came up as high as I could and held the position for a second. I also did a 3 mile run/walk for cardio and 5 minutes of stretching for a total calorie burn of 490.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Today's Workout

Another great workout today by Zuzana. I modified for my own activity level and it was still a push. The workout alternates 10 Squat Thrusts with 10 burpees. I could not maintain all the jumping with the burpees so I did one legged getups with a knee lift. Still an awesome manuever but with out the high impact. I did 15 rounds intermixed with treadmill running and walking for a total of 66 minutes of intense cardio workout. I followed again with 15 minutes of yoga and stretching. Total Calorie Burn was 490 calories.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ultimate Workout Playlist

Today's workout was appropriately Titled Suicidal Sweat Workout.

Luckily, I've been putting some work into building the perfect workout Playlist to help inspire me and keep me going during these brutal workouts. I recently discovered on YouTube that you can actually create and save playlists so I've been bookmarking music videos like crazy and below is what I came up with. A 66 minute playlist that I've titled Ultimate Workout. (Thanks to all on Facebook who contributed awesome suggestions.) It's got all the important components -- warm up, cool down, up beat, strong tempo, brief rests, and inspiring lyrics.

Madonna - Ray of Light (great warm up song, bright, positive, sets the right tone)
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc (a good follow up warm up, helps you get loose and lucid, like right before a boxing match)
Motley Crue - Kickstart My Heart (doesn't get any more literal than this, the first power song, fast tempo, really gets your heart racing)
Black Eyed Peas - I Gotta Feeling (great beat, positive, puts you on top of the world and makes you feel like you can do anything)
Black Eyed Peas - Let's get Retarted (Now we're getting serious, starting to dig deep and push)
Aerosmith - Angel's Eyes (Heavy Guitar and sex appeal, pick the video on You Tube set to Charlie's Angels Clips)
Drowning Pool - Let the Bodies Hit the Floor (Hard, Edgy, the counting is awesome too when you're doing reps)
Destiny's Child - Survivor (Tempo slows down a bit, time to catch your breath but great lyrics to still keep you focused and on track)
Kayne West - Stronger (Another inspirational, motivational, get you moving song)
Eminem - Lose Myself (This is a great song to put towards the end of your workout when you might be tempted to slack off or give in early, this song reminds you that you might only get one shot and to not wast chances. GREAT song for digging deeper and pushing harder)
Europe - The Final Countdown (Oh Yeah, This is just pure fun, great reminder that you're almost done and give it every last thing you can)
AC/DC - You Shook Me All Night Long (The victory song. You did it you sexy beast.)
Citizen Cope - The Son's Gonna Rise (Cool Down song #1 - yes, that was a very hard workout, but you're almost there, there's a light at the end of the tunnel)
Beyonce - Halo (Cool Down song #2 - like a breath of fresh air)
James Blunt - You're Beautiful (Cool Down song #3 - one last reminder of how terribly awesome you are)

My workout results for the day:

Warm Up - 2.09 Miles Walk/Run

Combo #1 - 15 Reps (TIME 5:52)
2 Jump Squats
1 Jump Tuck (modified two knee lifts)
2 Push ups
1 Power Up

Combo #2 - 6 Sets (TIME 3:37)
10 Kick Ups (modified no jumping)
10 Mountain Climbers

Combo # 3 - 4 Sets each Leg (TIME 4:01 left leg, timer didn't work on the right leg
10 One Leg Press Pike (modified on knees)
10 one leg jump squats (modified no jumping)

#4 20 Breakdance Push Ups (Time 3:57) - (modified on knees - this one was ridiculous and I almost skipped it but I figured knee push ups were better than nothing and would help me build my strength so I can do less modifications over time. My turnover turned into a clumsy log roll after a couple of reps but I decided to at least add two leg lifts so I would get something out of it. I'm glad I workout at home because if anybody had been watching me they would think it quite sad! But I am glad I did what I could and got some benefit rather than skipping it entirely)

Cool Down - 2/3 Mile Walk, 10 minutes of Yoga (I meant to do more yoga but my arms were too fatigued to hold the downward dog position)

Total Workout Calories Burned - 493