I picked up a voluntary tag from my friend Marlene over at "A Country Girl on the Chesapeake Bay".
For this tag Marlene asked me 5 interview questions.
I answered them and it turned out kind of long.
So just in case you didn't already know everything you ever wanted to know about me, please read on and enjoy getting to know me a little better, thanks to Marlene's questions.
My Blog tag interview questions
1. Being relatively new to Virginia, what would you say are the biggest contrasts to your state of origin?
I’m from Utah, and I think anyone who has spent much time in Utah would say there is no other place like it.
One of the first and most obvious differences between Utah and Virginia is that Utah has a black population of maybe 1%.
While there are many Hispanics and Polynesians in Utah, There were 2 black kids in my entire high school.
Here in VA the black population is much higher. Which adds cultural flavor that I love and think is great for my kids.
The other obvious difference is the presence of religion.
Religion and beliefs are very strong in both states, but manifest very differently.
In Utah, LDS, or Mormonism, is the primary faith, being that over 50% of the state’s population are LDS.
However, I think because Mormons are afraid of offending anyone they rarely discuss or share their beliefs outside of church or related groups.
This also leads to a sense of “Mormon Cliques” because many mormons just don’t know how to relate to others without fear of being offensive.
Here in VA there are different churches all over the place. It is hard to find 2 people who actually attend the same one. But, many people, even complete strangers, will gladly talk with you about Jesus.
It is very common to hear “God bless you”, or “Have a blessed day”. One day I asked someone “How are you?” in passing and received the answer “Too blessed to be depressed. Too anointed to be disappointed!”
If a stranger becomes aware of another’s problem or concern they readily offer to pray for them. One time I had an employee of a store in the mall “lift me up” by praying with me out loud right in the middle of the store. (I wasn’t ready for that one).
I love that people here are so willing to share their faith so openly. It is very welcoming and really, Utah would be an even better place if people did that more.
Oh, and mountains. I miss Utah’s mountains. But I love the beach too.
2. Della, you run marathons and log a lot of running time...Have you always been an athlete? How did you get your start in being physically fit and what advice would you offer us couch potatoes out there?
Have I always been an athlete? Hahahahahahahaha!
Uh, no. I used to hate any kind of physical activity.
I started running, oh, about 8 months ago. In that time I have run 2 half marathons and try to run 2 or 3 times a week. But honestly, I’m pretty new to this.
I got started being active by getting a dog.
That wasn’t really my intention when I got the dog, but I found that my dog was happier and my furniture remained more intact when Toby got walked everyday.
Before long Toby was keeping me accountable. He knew when it was walk time and expected it. So I walked. Slowly I worked my way up from ½ a mile a day, to 1 mile, to 2 to 3.
Then I sped up and walked faster.
One critical component was my Nike+, (read about it here). It motivated me to increase my distance and speed.
Then I was walking so fast I was working up a sweat, so I started changing into workout clothes, and once I was in workout clothes why not run?
I started small, a mile at a time. And even when I increased my distance to 2 and 3 miles, I would still stop to walk every mile.
Someone told me about an upcoming half marathon, I signed up, downloaded a training schedule and stuck to it.
I think the trick to any exercise routine is #1, do it at your own pace. Don’t try to live up to someone else’s standard or compare yourself to anyone else. Encourage yourself to step up the volume and intensity, but only as you are comfortable with, and can stay committed to.
And #2, just stick to it. Find a schedule you are comfortable with and keep with it. No excuses.
Let me add that last year I lost 30 pounds and have kept it off. But I didn’t start running until after I lost the weight. I lost 30 pounds by eating less and walking.
3. You are such a busy "Della", involved in a multitude of activites...can you share with us your favorite healthy eating tips for "life on the go"?
I can tell you what I do, but they are pretty much the same things you have heard already.
I eat 1 bowl of low sugar, whole grain cereal for breakfast every morning. (Honey Nut Cheerios and Rice Chex are some of my favorites).
This jumpstarts my metabolism and holds off hunger during the morning. I also tend to eat a smaller lunch when I’ve had breakfast.
One of my favorite lunches is a can of brothy soup. Campbells Selects Italian Wedding Soup is awesome.
Soup takes a few minutes to eat and has a lot of hand to mouth motion so I feel like I am eating a lot. Plus the warm broth helps my tummy feel full.
One rule I have for myself: If you can get it through a drive through, you shouldn’t get it at all.
One of the critical components to my 30 pound weight loss was that I went from eating fast food 3 or 4 times a week to never.
If I know I am going to be out and busy at lunch time I grab a Special K Protein Meal Bar. I like the Chocolate, chocolate chip ones. It tastes a little like a candy bar supplemented with sawdust, but the chocolate makes it worth it.
They help me feel full and tide me over till I can have that bowl of soup.
I also love Subway.
Subway does not count as fast food.
I have made changes even in my sandwiches though. I now get spicy mustard instead of mayo, and instead of eating the whole footlong like I used to, I eat half and save the rest for another meal.
I do load my Subway with veggies and never feel bad about the oil and vinegar.
How to not snack during the day: Don’t have any snacks available.
You can’t eat what’s not there.
Or make yourself a list of approved snacks. Pick something from the list when you are peckish. This way you still have choices, but aren’t eating things you shouldn’t.
Another good snack is Special K protein water. I get the little powder packets and add it to a bottle of water. (This is much cheaper than the whole bottles).
For dinner: cut you calories in half by not having seconds. It takes a little willpower to not load your plate again, but you really don’t need it.
My last tip goes against traditional weight loss ideas. Some people say you shouldn’t eat after 7, but I always have a bedtime snack, and it’s usually chocolate.
No full size candy bars, no bowls of ice cream, (okay, maybe once in a while). I usually have a small handful of Hershey kisses to savor and reward myself at bedtime.
I can’t speak for you, but I need chocolate. Maybe I would be 5 pounds lighter if I didn’t do that, but it’s a trade off I am willing to make.
4. What motivated you and your husband to become professional teaching parents and do you feel this is a life long calling?
When I was a teenager I received a special blessing from a Patriarch at my church. The blessing gave me a lot of guidance for my life. One of the things he said in the blessing was “You will be called to work with the youth”.
I didn’t really understand what that meant. I thought it meant I would teach the teenage Sunday school class, (which so far I have never done).
I understand now that it meant I would do what I am doing: Being a foster parent or teaching parent.
Because I didn’t know what God had in mind for me specifically I had no plan to get here. But God did and he led me along the way.
It started, I suppose, several years ago with a desire to be a foster parent.
Chris and I went through training and became foster parents. We found out pretty quick that we had a natural knack for it, and really liked it. Enough that Chris started wondering if it would be possible for him to quit his regular job and work with kids full time.
The agency we did foster care through had an opening for teaching parents in one of their group homes. We applied, were hired, and we haven’t looked back since.
We lived and worked in 2 group homes, (owned by the same agency), in Utah for about 2 ½ years. Then one day Chris saw an ad in the paper for an agency in Richmond, VA that used the same teaching model we were certified in. We interviewed, and next thing we knew we were moving 2500 miles away from my home.
We worked at that agency in Richmond for 3 years.
After 3 years in Richmond I got a phone call from a caseworker in Virginia Beach that we had been working with. She asked me if Chris and I would be interested in moving to the beach and opening what would be a pilot home for a new kind of foster home.
We jumped at the chance and have been here for a year and a half now.
There are now 3 homes that are doing what we are doing, which is basically having 2 full time parents who are trained to work with tougher kids. A fourth home is getting ready to open next month.
We love it. There are some really hard days, but we are very happy here.
All along the way, with every step and every move, I knew God was taking us where he wanted us to be. And I tried very hard to do the work as well as I could.
I know I am not perfect and I make mistakes at my job just like everyone does. But I believe that I am doing what God wants me to do.
As for this being my lifelong calling, I think in one way or another it probably is. Down the road God may have different ideas for me, but I expect he will have me use these talents that he gave me to do whatever he calls me to do.
I feel so blessed that I have found my calling and that I get to work with these kids. I have worked with some absolutely amazing young men and women and I have seen miracles happen in their lives.
People tell me all the time how much they admire me for what I do and the time and love I give to these kids, but they don’t understand that I am the one who is on the receiving end.
I am so blessed in my job, my life, and my home. I don’t have to do this, I get to do this.
5. Tell us something that the average person might not know about you that would completely surprise them.
Do you remember when you were in Junior High there was that obnoxious kid who dressed funny, looked funny, always said weird things and was generally annoying? Kind of a “Screech” from Saved by the Bell?
That was me.
I was the most obnoxious, annoying, geeky, naïve adolescent ever.
I had confidence, so I wasn’t afraid of saying and doing what I wanted, but I really was trying to figure out how I fit in to the world, and had to deal with my share of teasing along the way.
In the end I am grateful for the person I have always been.
I always had good friends and I am glad that I never conformed completely to what others thought I should be.
That’s my interview.
I hope you had fun reading it. I had fun doing it, even though it took 2 days to finish, (partly because I have been sick).
If you want to be tagged with an interview leave a comment that says “Interview me” and I will send you 5 interview questions for you to answer and post on your blog.
Love you all.