Friday, October 31, 2014

As the World Turns: recap of the past week

What have we been up to lately? Let's break it down by revealing all the dirty secrets stored up on my iPhone....

On Saturday, I led some communication and teamwork workshops for Sigma Alpha, the professional agricultural sorority. Shout out to my sistas! (I'm a proud Alum from the ISU Delta chapter) [right? aren't we the Delta chapter?] :)

I had such a fun time working with these young women and helping them process the experience and discover the importance of each member and how to encourage active participation among all involved. I look forward to working with them in the future.

On the way there, I did a dumb thing. I thought I was running late (I wasn't really).
I was driving east on a street where a parking garage is located right near the Student Union. All was well. Until I realized that I cannot enter the garage from my lane. I thought, "Ugh. I don't want to drive all the way to the Union to drive the circle and come back; that will make me late." I looked up and noticed a No U-Turn sign and reasoned that must only be when students are present because on this narrow street, congested with student foot traffic that would be dangerous.
So, I did a U-Turn, slammed the curb and came back down. As I drove toward the entrance, I noticed my car moving less efficiently. I hobbled into the parking garage and thought, "UM...I think I popped my tire." (I have never driven with a flat tire, so I wasn't quite sure what it felt like.)

Sure enough, it was popped.
So, I did the most logical thing and I took a picture and sent it to Dan (who was in Texas at the National Block & Bridle Convention) - and asked him to take care of it.
My amazing husband came to my rescue and called roadside assistance, the tire place and took care of all the details. God wonderfully provided a student at the retreat who wasn't in SA, is a current student of Dan's, and was able to be the go-between for me, Dan, and the tow-truck driver. I was so grateful to know I could just concentrate on the students I was with and everything would be fine!

Fall has come to our house! Above is our mantle. (Sorry I couldn't rotate it.) Below is the grapevine wreath I made with 2 garlands - one of fall berries and one of bronze, green, and gold sparklies. The wreath hangs in our carport on the brick which used to be covered with ivy (and then it was covered with dead ivy).

On Monday night, we carved pumpkins. We actually had 3... On the third, I was going to draw out the Wildcat face. Dan decided to do a Spartan rather than wait for me to draw it out...the Spartan did not turn out. So, then, he was going to carve the state of Michigan...and it ended up being a circle.
Oh well...we got lots of seeds to roast from the endeavor - which is the best part!
One thing I love about Dan is that he takes the initiative to scoop the guts AND roast the seeds. One of my TSFL clients is really into Halloween and posted the other day that the trick to great pumpkin seeds is boiling them first. So - we tried it and Dan is a fan!
Boil seeds for 12 minutes. Rinse in cool water. Toss with seasonings. We went with "Chex-mix Seeds" - tossed in Worcestshire sauce and Lawry's seasoning salt. Roast for 30(?) minutes at 350; let cool in oven.
Delish - and yes, I've been limiting my snacks of them...I could devour the whole bag if I wanted to - but I'm not.

Last but not least: Go out and VOTE on Tuesday!
If you live in Adair County, remember to VOTE ROHRIG!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom

As I was reflecting and writing this letter to the editor (found here) about the lessons I have learned from my dad, I became overwhelmed with emotion.

The notion that people - individuals - have the power to change their life is a foundational truth that I have built my life around. I have chosen my major, my career path, and my husband based on this idea. The belief that people working together can change their communities guides my leadership principles and practices. I long to engage with others to bring about change - and I believe that working together changes will result.

Until reflecting on the lessons observed from my dad, I hadn't realized just how deeply my parents' lives and choices played a role in my development. ...and I almost started crying in the parking garage because I was so grateful.

After I wrote the letter, I was still feeling that deep gratitude of humility. At times like that, I often begin to ask, "Why me, God? Why did I get such great parents?" I think of the lessons gleaned from the lives of my parents and grandparents as my inheritance. Their character, habits and choices have shaped mine.

...and then, as I began to ponder "Why me?" It hit me.

This is not about me.

This is actually the inheritance that God intends for all. I stand upon the shoulders of those who've come before me, and those who came before them - because this is the inheritance of the elect. To walk with God, to be faithful to the call to be his friend - this is the commandment with a reward. Deuteronomy 7:9 - "He is the faithful God keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments."

My inheritance is not a special blessing upon me - rather, it is what God intends for all. His intention in sending Jesus to show us how to love, to live, to interact with the Father - was to bring about His kingdom on earth. When we have marriages and families and lives that are faithful, we bring about His kingdom on earth. Then, we pass along the inheritance of the saints to our children and our children's children.

May it be so.
Colossians 1:11-12

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Transformation Tuesday

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook know that last week I hit a milestone.

At official tally last Monday, I hit my goal weight right on the nose. After 19 weeks on the program, I lost 44.4 pounds and 43 inches. Those numbers astound me. It doesn't really seem possible. Especially when it hasn't been that hard! The program is so simple and easy to fit into our lives - but the way it has transformed my thinking over time is just incredible.

I am not the same person that I was at the end of May. In May, I was exhausted, frustrated, and powerless. I was exhausted because I wasn't fueling my body correctly (but had no energy to change) and I wasn't managing my stress well. I was frustrated because I thought I knew how to appropriately fuel my body and was doing that - and instead of losing weight, just kept gaining. The combination of exhaustion and frustration left me feeling defeated. I felt like no matter what I did, I could not change: in short, powerless.

I am SO thankful that my mom suggested that I try this program. I was skeptical that a program could work because nothing was working! I've done lots of programs in my life and have given up before reaching goal. She was right that this could be the one thing to turn things around for me.

I am SO thankful that Dan agreed to do this with me. We have both been able to make changes to our habits and see results. We have cheered each other on and kept each other focused on our priorities. He helped me get to goal.

I am SO thankful that this program paired me up with a free, personal health coach. Without Marie, I would have given up. I would have called it "good enough" about 7 pounds ago when my size 12s were all fitting, albeit loosely for some. I wouldn't have seen it through to completion. She kept me focused on what I wanted to create in my life - not just what I was trying to lose/undo. She taught me how to focus on my health and not just on the scale.

What I have learned most about weight loss through this journey is that what really matters (besides a good, safe, effective, and healthy program) is commitment. If there is no commitment to change, there will be no change. If you are already planning to cheat, you are sabotaging yourself. If you aren't willing to tell your friends or family that you are making healthier choices, then you aren't owning your choice to become healthier. You are letting others dictate your life choices. You may see success, but it won't be lifelong.

I had a rough month of September. I lost a total of 6 pounds. I thought I'd be at my goal by the end of the month, and instead I was 5 pounds away. I was really disappointed. I had become fixated on just reaching a number because deep-down, I just wanted to be done. I wanted to BE THERE already. I was fixated on a destination - not on a lifestyle.

What changed for me was that week's "Healthy Habit": breaking the yo-yo cycle. The image used to illustrate the yo-yo cycle and consumption with a particular number on a scale (or size of pants) is a rocking chair. As soon as you reach that goal - if you haven't determined that the changes you are making are for life, you will start to rock back up again. It may happen slowly, but it will happen.

However, if you focus on making those changes for life, you are emulating more of a racecar on a track. Your goal is just one stop along the way. When you reach goal (or near it), you set a new health goal to work toward.

This really helped me evaluate my attitude. I had wanted to be done; I had wanted to reach goal without having added a bunch of exercise. But, when I heard that, I realized my heart was in the wrong place. I wanted long-term health - not simply to tap the sign and then creep back up again. So, I am now running again - a few times a week. Is my goal to work toward a 5K? Sure. Really, my goal is to simply be healthy and be active. In addition to running, I do morning yoga - and still plan to do longer yoga sessions at night a couple of times. I walk during lunches when I can. I try to stand more and sit less. Choosing health doesn't have to be grand gestures.

If you want to lose weight and choose health - or know of someone who does, please let me know. I would love to help them.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reppin' for Rohrig

For those of you not in Adair County, my dad, Brian Rohrig is running for Supervisor to represent Orient and southeastern Adair County. Many of you know that I consider my dad to be very influential in my development personally and spiritually. He is my life advisor. :) This post is the letter that was published in the Adair County Free Press this past Wednesday.

Recently, a friend asked me, “If you could choose to live in a small town or a big city – which would you choose?”  

Without hesitating, I said, “At this point in my life, a small town.” She was surprised given that I currently live in a large city. However, I could answer so confidently because of the lessons that I have learned from my dad, Brian Rohrig.

After completing his degree at Iowa State, Dad returned to our family farm in Orient. My parents believed so strongly in the value of higher education that even during the farm crisis of the 80s, as young farmers – they invested in college funds for each of us. The foresight and sacrifice of my parents, along with grants and scholarships, allowed me to graduate college debt-free.

However, it wasn’t enough for my dad that his kids could go to college. Working with the members of the Orient Men’s Club, he helped establish a scholarship program for other Orient graduates to pursue higher education.  Many O-M grads have benefited.

Dad’s belief in educating students in Orient motivated his service on the Orient-Macksburg School Board from 2006-13. As an O-M graduate, I am thankful for the opportunities and education afforded me. However, as small schools began consolidating and creating county-wide schools, I became skeptical that O-M could survive. My dad, on the other hand, was not. He ran for the School Board because he recognized the importance of the school to our community. His commitment to Orient was impressed upon me as result.

My dad demonstrated to me the importance of community involvement. Beyond his years of service to the Men’s Club, he also has served in nearly every leadership role and committee imaginable at the Orient United Methodist Church over the last 30 years.  His service extends beyond the Orient community to the county: Pork Producers, Farm Bureau, Corn & Soybean Association, and Gideons. He has served in leadership roles and on several state committees. He taught me that community service was not something you fit in to your schedule IF you have time; it is simply a necessary part of being a member of a community: you make time for it.

Early on, my dad showed me the value of integrity – doing what is right even when no one else is. In the early 1980s, my dad decided to start no-till farming, even when everyone else was still tilling their land. He did so because he recognized the value of preserving the soil. He understood that being a good steward for the future meant enduring some criticism and skeptics in the short-term.

As renewable energy became a buzzword, Dad noticed opportunities for growth. He initiated a partnership between the Adair Co. Corn and Soybean Association and Honda Motor Co. LTD for cellulosic ethanol research. As wind energy swept the land, my dad, acting with a group of others, decided to invest. Putting in hours of grant-writing and planning, they developed an opportunity for investors across the county to capitalize on our abundant wind resource. Where many wind-farms profit energy companies, Adair County has 8 jointly owned wind turbines that benefit our communities.

As I think upon these lessons, I realize that the #1 lesson that my dad has taught me is this: people have the power to change their lives. People working together have the power to change their communities.  These two beliefs guide my life – and they are why I encourage you to vote for Brian Rohrig as an Adair County Supervisor on November 4.

Jessica (Rohrig) Kiesling

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I live for the applause-plause

Last Friday, at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Honors Convocation, I was honored with the A+ Advisor Award. This award is sponsored by the Alpha Zeta Honorary Fraternity, of which I was a member as an undergraduate at Iowa State. With this particular award, students select the advisor - by voting for their favorite advisor in the College.

Knowing that I received this award because of my students makes this very special. I am just so honored that they took the time out of their schedules to vote for me. It is just so humbling. I am just so honored and grateful.

So, to my students: THANK YOU for recognizing the effort that I put in to make your experience at Arizona better; THANK YOU for being you. I do work with some really wonderful students!

...and now, for your viewing pleasure - pictures from last well as, a couple of ways that students surprised me this past week!

A student stopped by the office on Thursday with this for me. There was a bake sale on the first floor of our building. When she saw two cupcakes, she decided to buy one for herself and one for me. I was so touched that she thought of me! Sometimes students really surprise me in the most wonderful ways.
[and for those of you following my health journey - no I did not eat this; I shared the joy with another.]

...and this showed up last week, too. So much thoughtfulness!