Sunday, May 31, 2009

Life Lists

Several years ago I worked with a young man, who was just out of high school. He had made a life list. One of the things on his list was to run a marathon. He had been working toward that goal and was going to travel to Florida to run in his first marathon.

I had heard of Life Lists before, and had read of people making them, but I had never actually made one myself.

Yes, I have made lists of things that I would like to accomplish, but not a list set in stone of things I definitely was going to work toward before I died. Most of my lists were just dreams I had about doing things. They were always flexible, and often times I would forget about them.

Anyway, reaching toward the ripe old age of 43, which I will be in November, I have decided to try my hand at a Life List. I plan to write down things that I would really like to do, things I want to work toward accomplishing before I am either to old, or dead...

I think the old or dead part is why I never made a list like that before, because I didn't want to think about being old, or dead! I want my list to be a living list, one that continues to grow and expand as I mark some things off as accomplished. I know one thing that I plan to put on that list...

Hang gliding! I have always wanted to hang glide. When I was a child and we came to North Carolina one of the first times, I saw someone hang gliding and I was hooked. I wanted to do it so desperately...but life comes and things get in the way of those childhood dreams, and sometimes we forget what they were.

The other day I was looking at things to do in North Carolina and there is was; Hang Gliding. Something re-awakened within me. I spent many years in fear of those kind of things, that I had forgotten that I did have an adventurer spirit about me at one time. So I got the information and have set in my mind that I will go hang gliding before we leave North Carolina. I am sure that you can do it many other places, but because it was here that I first acquired the dream so many years ago, I think it is only fitting that I fulfill that dream here.

So I have the first item for my Life List. Not that it will be the first I accomplish and mark off, but it will be the first added to the list.

The second item is to run in a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, and eventually a full marathon. The exercise and weight loss will go a long way in getting me there.

Every journey no matter how long, begins with the first step. This is my first step toward that journey...

Wow! All of that from just a few sessions at Curves! That place is amazing! It is just what I needed at this moment in my life. I have thought about change, I have talked and written about is the appointed time to do something about it...

So, what's on your Life List if you have one, or what would go on one if you were to start one?

No matter where you are in this journey called Life, it isn't to late to accomplish things you want to accomplish.

My Mom and I were talking the other day about this, how as you get older, you have to start dropping some things off your list...Somethings are impossible to accomplish at some points in life. I know that I will never be able to accomplish some of the dreams I had a 18, or 25...even some of the dreams I had at 35 won't be accomplished, because they were things that as you get older, you are less likely to be able to accomplish. You could probably still do some of them, but because of where you are now in your life, you may not desire to work toward those things. You may want to spend your time on other dreams. After our conversation she did something she has wanted to do for years; she participated in a small way in the Relay For Life walk in a town near her. She walked in the survivors walk... She is a two time breast cancer survivor! And she gives all the glory to God for bringing her through! Knowing that her life mission is not complete, because He chose to let her stay here instead of taking her home...I am thankful for that...maybe the fact that I still need my mom, is one reason He has allowed her to stay here...

Anyway, there will be dreams that we have to drop from our lists because of age, health, time, life circumstances. I can let some of mine go now without the bitterness I once felt toward the unaccomplished goals in my life. I came to understand that some dreams and goals weren't for obtaining, but bringing us to a new place that we get on a different path.
That's okay. I can deal with those dreams that are behind and I can no longer attain, or no longer care to do what is required to attain them.

I don't usually quote movies, I rarely watch them, but one of my favorite quotes from a movie was quoted by Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) in The Bridges of Madison County.

"The old dreams were good dreams; they didn't work out, but I am glad that I had them."

That is how I feel about some of the dreams I had in my early years. I had to drop some; like the backpacking around Europe thing. It's kind of hard to do that with a family. I am sure you could, but that was more of a before kids thing...However, some of those dreams are coming back around and are still achievable, like hang gliding.

Let's face it. The life you dreamed of when you graduated from high school is usually not the same life you dream of having when you reach 40. I know mine isn't. That is why it is so hard for someone to decide at 18 what they want to invest their life doing in a career for the next 40 years of their lives. Some people do, some people are just born knowing what they were here to do...others of us, like myself, still don't know! We just move through the days and years doing those things that life brings us. Sometimes I feel like a boat on open waters with no way to steer and no set destination...just moving along with the tides and currents.

The difference is, by giving myself over to God, I have faith that He is guiding my vessel and that He will take me where He wants me to go. He will bring me to the places and in contact with the people that will somehow impact my life and help me to become what He wants me to be. We don't become and then do, it is a journey we are on until God calls us home. When we become, then He takes us home to be with Him. When we accomplish what He put us here to accomplish, our mission is complete. So I am glad that I haven't accomplished mine yet. I am still trying to find mine, but in the process, I am living each day trying to move closer to that goal. Maybe Life itself was the mission----

So with all of that said; I am thinking of things that I would really like to spend my time working toward. Some are large, important things, some are small unimportant to the whole scope of life things, but things I find enjoyable anyway. Some will be personal in nature; inside work; as I spoke of before on this blog. Others will be just for fun type things, like hang gliding. Some will have lasting impact, others will just be for the moment things...

With two things to put on my list, now I have to decide what do I write this list on? It seems like such a special, life altering list should be written on special paper and displayed so that it would be visible...where do people keep a Life List? Some people just write things down on paper and keep it in their wallets, others put it on their computers...

Since I have a tendency to misplace lists, I don't know about the whole paper and wallet thing. And with computers crashing like they do, maybe that isn't such a good idea either...

I suppose I will write my Life List in my journal, that is the one thing that I will hold on to and will always know where to find it.

There are actually web sites devoted to this very thing. Check out

Abundance blog will help you get started on your Life List.

And check out this book; Creating Your Best Life.

Hopefully this will inspire someone to remember the dreams they once had and begin to work to make them a reality. Remember a Life List isn't about just marking things off, like a grocery list, but the enjoyment of working toward that goal and enjoying the moment while you are making it a reality...

Life really is short! My grandmother who passed away at 94, looked back over her life and expressed how quickly it passed. So even if we are blessed with 94 good years, it gets by quickly and often we put things off and say, "I'll get around to it sometime." Often times we get caught up with raising a family, working, paying bills and seeing to others that we forget to see to ourselves. Don't get me wrong, I don't advocate selfishness, and neglecting responsibility. But I don't think even the busiest of us can't take out a little time to enjoy ourselves...

I am beginning to ramble; surprise surprise; and this post is getting entirely to long, so I will just end with those famous Nike words: JUST DO IT!

Shout out for Curves!!

I am loving Curves! I joined Wednesday and I have been every day since, except today, because of course, today is Sunday and they aren't open. I am feeling a little burn in my muscles, but not to much that I can't continue to do the exercise. It is amazing how just a little effort makes so much difference. No there isn't a visible difference in my weight or my body, but there is a mental difference. I feel much better about things; about my weight and how I look. Just making the effort to start is the hardest part, but there is such a big payoff in just my attitude and the way I feel about so many things now.

I know that exercise is such a mood lifter. I can remember when I use to walk a lot. I would get so pumped up and feel so good after a long walk. Exercise is the best cure for mild depression there is. It just gets you feeling good and gives you an attitude adjustment!

So I highly recommend Curves if you are near one, and can join. It works great for me, because I am much more motivated to go up the street a couple of miles to exercise for thirty minutes, than I am to get outside and walk in the heat or go into the garage and get on my exercise equipment. Hopefully after going to Curves for a while, I will find the motivation to do those things too.

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Soap Box for Today....

What is it with some people who just love to wag their tongues about things that aren't true?

What is it about girls that make them so spiteful that they will out and out lie about another girl?
Complete untruths!

I am forever amazed by the depths that some girls will go to destroy another girl. They are like wolves! Trying to draw can people live with themselves, how can they look in the mirror and know that they spitefully lied about someone?

I guess I had better raising than to treat people like that. My mama taught me better and it is just a foreign concept to deliberately try to hurt someone else. And especially someone that was once a friend...

Like my granny use to say, "It wouldn't do for me to be God, I'd put a quick end to it all!"

It's a pity they don't realize that by trying to destroy someone else they are actually destroying themselves...

I just pray that God will keep us in the midst of the enemy and will prepare a table before us...

I just pray that their evil deeds will be revealed for what they are and God will turn it around for good.

That's my rant for the day. I will step down from the soap box...

Another day in paradise...why not?

I went to Curves again yesterday evening. When Andrew got in from work, I was ready to go. I had cooked supper before hand and left it to finish. It had been the most awful day I have had in years...

When I got there I just worked all my frustrations out on those machines. I had a good work out and felt pretty good afterwards. I plan to go again this evening.

Megan's birthday is coming up soon, so I have to get to making plans...

Lauren is flying up here the end of June, so I have to get started planning our family vacation. I know with the economy like it is, we really should keep it low keyed. Maybe a trip to D.C. or even closer to home; The Outer Banks. But I am just not into it yet, to much other stuff rattling around in my head. I really don't know where everyone wants to go, so I suppose we all need to get together on some plans.

We are planning a trip back to Arkansas in August for Camp Meeting and then, Wow, by that time summer will be almost over and we will be getting ready to start school again. Time just seems to fly...We've been here for two and half months. In someways it seems much longer than that, but in other ways, time has flown by...

Well I sound like an old timer, talking about how quickly the years seem to get by...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Its a mad, mad, mad world...

You ever wake up and find yourself in the middle of some crazy dream, but your really awake...

Ever feel like Alice must have felt when she went down the rabbit hole, or like Dorothy when she discovered she wasn't in Kansas anymore?

Makes you wish you could just go back to bed and wake up on the other side, because it is apparent that you must have accidental crawled out on the wrong side...

Surely while you slept, the world begin to spin backwards, or instead of its usual orbit it decided to orbit in some alternate universe where things are upside down and completely mixed up.

How do things get so crazy and completely out of the realm of your normal world?

Do you ask yourself, How did this happen? Like your a witness to a terrible thing happening in front of your eyes, but your feel powerless to stop it...

Like a runaway freight train, there is no bringing it back...

Ever wonder what happen, how did you become a part of such madness...

Oh my, here come those awful flying monkey's...and what? Is that the Mad Hatter and Willy Wonka running after them with scissors!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

First Visit

My first visit to Curves went well, other than the fact I had a bursting headache. I woke up to a migraine day...

I knew it couldn't be good when it started with a headache and a sore spot the size of a half dollar on my forehead.

I immediately got up and took something, the wrong thing apparently, because it didn't work.

A few hours later I took something else, and it didn't help. The headache has progressively gotten worse as the day wears on.

I had the appointment at noon today, so I went for my weigh in, measurements and first workout. My weight was no surprise, I weigh sometimes on a daily basis. The scales are right there in the bathroom, so each morning I usually stumble over and weigh, as though I think maybe just maybe somehow it will be different, better; less...but it stays pretty consistent--FAT!

The measurements were a surprise. I don't do measurements...I just know by the size of my clothes that the measurements are too large...

A 12/14 may not be much for some people, but my body structure and my build doesn't need to be that big. I don't carry weight well...I am under tall and over wide!! I should be wearing an 8 and no larger for my bone structure.

My goals are to wear a 6/8 and be 40 pounds lighter...we will see if I can achieve it and how long it takes. A couple of years ago it only took me three months or so to lose 20 pounds. All I did then was cut my caloric intake to 1200-1500 calories a day, quit drinking Dr Pepper, started eating fruits and veggies and lean meat. I cut way down on the bread and pasta's, and didn't eat after 7:00 or so at night. If I did eat anything after then it would be a light snack, like an apple or yogurt with a little fruit. I rarely exercised...I almost seemed to easy...I suppose because it was to easy to take off, it was even easier to give up those good habits and gain it all back in half the time it took to take it off.

I would once and for all love to get rid of this demon...this monkey off my back...I started thinking, what if? What if I could lose it, what if I could actually be happy with my body and my weight again after all these years of fighting with it?

I think I need to start asking myself every day---What if? What if I did this or What if I did that? Then what? Could I change my life that way? Could I accomplish things I have only dreamed about?

Those Forty Pounds are my what if?

What is yours?

For a little motivation I have these photo's of myself from 20 years ago. I was wearing my bathing suit and I can't believe I looked like that. Not that I had a perfect body, far from it, but I was at a good weight for my size and height. I was in fairly good shape because I walked a lot back then.

These photo's are going to be my inspiration. I am going to look at them every morning and at any time through out the day that I feel tempted to snack or eat something I shouldn't. Especially when I am tempted to drink Dr Pepper by the gallons like I tend to do. Hopefully they can be the push I need to really follow through and make it happen this time.

Battling the weight demon is one reason I want to get into better shape, but another reason has to do with getting older, and feeling older. I want to feel better physically and mentally. I got to thinking one day that Noah weighs 40-41 pounds and for me, it is like I am carrying Noah around everywhere, because I have this extra 40 pounds on me that I don't need. No wonder I stay so tired and I am dragging. Because when I do actually carry him around, I get very tired...Having an extra 40 pounds on my body is just that, carrying around my child everywhere I go all the time. That is very hard on my body and I need to get that off so I can feel much better. It is bad enough just with the normal getting older syndrome, but going into it with extra pounds, makes it much worse...

Hopefully today's momentum will continue and carry me through. If I could get through the exercise routine today, when my head is splitting, surely I can do it without much problem on the days I feel fine.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I finally did it!

Well after much debate and not being able to come up with a good excuse not to do it, I finally did it!

I joined Curves...

I have to lose some weight. I have to get into better physical shape. I have to start exercising again...

There is a Curves about 2.5 miles from my house. It isn't to expensive. It only takes about 30 minutes at a time...

So no more excuses. I am going to do this. I will lose weight and I will get into better physical shape. That is my goal and I will do it...

I go tomorrow for my first weigh in and workout. I plan to try to go at least three evenings a week to start. I am sick of feeling tired and draggy and I am tired of carrying this extra weight around. So this is my first step to change all of that.

Thoughts for the Day
There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self
~aldous huxley~
You are the change that you seek!
I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better
~Georg C. Lichtenberg~

Memorial Day weekend

Well the Memorial Day weekend came and went without much fan fair on our part. Andrew had to work on Saturday and had to go open up the gates on Sunday. So much for us going anywhere.

The kids and I went to church on Sunday morning and they weren't having service Sunday night, so we just came home and relaxed for the evening. Except for a while that Andrew and I got in the garage and went through some more boxes and divided it up: Trash, garage sale, re box and keep. We actually got a lot accomplished. I discovered that even though I had given tons of stuff to Goodwill before we left Little Rock, I still have enough stuff to have a yard sale soon.

Monday was a lazy type of day, except I was edgy and wanted to get out and do something different for a change. Since we've moved and gotten settled in here we haven't done anything fun! I am not one that likes to travel on holidays when the roads are full of crazies and the attractions are over crowded. So going somewhere yesterday wasn't my idea of fun, besides it rained off and on most of the day.

Megan's birthday is coming up soon and we are planning a little trip during that time. Also Lauren is coming for a visit soon and we are going to take our family vacation while she is here. So there will be plenty of time to go do something fun at those times. But I was still when I am like that, I usually end up fretting the day away, accomplishing very little. I did catch up on laundry, the usual Monday chore...

I also spent time reading. I finished reading a book called Home Grown Stories and Home Fried Lies by Mitch Jayne. If any of you happen to be Andy Griffith fans and watched The Andy Griffith show through the years, Mitch Jayne was one of the Darlin's. They were actually the Dillard's, a Bluegrass band that hit it pretty big. The Dillard's played The Darlin's on the Andy Griffith show.

Anyway, the book was a compilation of stories about Ozark people and Ozark language that he called "the mother tongue." It was a very humorous book that reflected the Ozark lifestyle and reminded me of people I have known. Many of the stories and the way of speaking was not just confined to the Ozarks, but was representative of many areas I have known.

I was looking for something to read the other evening and begin going through my library upstairs and ran across the book. Andrew had gotten it somewhere a few years ago and neither on of us had read it. It ended up being the perfect read for the Memorial Day weekend.

Well, rain and more rain for this week, so there won't be much going on around here that requires being outside. I am going to run to the store after while to pick up a couple of staple items that we are out of, and maybe run to the library to find something else to read.

Right now I am going through some travel books on North Carolina, getting familiar with the state and fun, interesting things to do. I am also reading about the Outer Banks, planning another trip out there. When we lived in Kentucky, we took vacation and went to the Outer Banks. I love lighthouses, I collect them, and I wanted to go see the Lighthouses of the Outer Banks. We were able to visit Bodie Island Light, Currituck Beach Light, and Cape Hatteras Light. Megan and I actually went to the top of Currituck. And I am deathly afraid of heights. Going up was ok, but when I got to the top and realized I had to go back down...I panicked! Megan was five and she and I gripped each others hands with a death grip. Every landing we would step to the side and wipe our sweaty hands and catch our breath and go down another flight of stairs.

If you haven't seen the inside of most lighthouses, the stairs are spiral. The worst problem is that you can look down and see all the way to the bottom. That was the scary part!! But we made it!! I would never try it with Noah! Megan was easy, but Noah would be all over the place with no fear....I would have a heart attack or end up falling down trying to catch him. So no climbing a lighthouse with Noah. He will have to wait until he is quite a bit older.

Next trip, I plan to see Ocracoke Island Light, Oak Island Light, and Bald Head. Those are in the souther part of the North Carolina coast and Ocracoke is on the southern part of the Outer Banks.

These are a few of the lighthouses I have collected through the years. I have downscaled my collection to only the smaller ones. There is also a Brown Pelican in there. Andrew bought that for me when we lived in Kentucky. The Brown Pelican is the Louisina State Bird. And of course, I am from Louisiana...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Goodwill-ing

I found these photo's a few months ago at Goodwill. The frames had been painted; poorly at that; red. However, the photo's are old paintings that were distributed by Orgill Bros. in Memphis, Tennessee. I would like to know how old they may be, but can't seem to find out anything about them. If someone knows anything about them, please let me know. They may be worthless, but I found them interesting.

The Story of the Pepper Man

Once upon a time, many, many years ago, in a small village in Mexico, there lived an old man. No one knew his name they just called him The Pepper Man. The Pepper Man lived alone, high on the hills just outside of the village, in a small hut.

He had no material possessions to speak of. His little hut had dirt floors and his chickens roamed in and out of the hut as did his one goat. But what the little man lacked in possessions he made up for with his gift, he could grow giant peppers.

He would carry the giant peppers into the village and sell them to the villagers. Everyone marvelled at his ability to grow such large peppers. Not only were they large, but they were the best tasting peppers they had ever tasted...

Okay, so I am pulling your leg, that isn't the story of The Pepper Man. Oh, I am sure there might have been just such a man, but that is not my Pepper Man story.

Here is my real Pepper Man story:

In 2003 we moved to Corpus Christi, Texas. While there a friend and I took a day trip to San Antonio. We did the usual sightseeing things and we went to the outdoor markets and picked up some souvenirs. I bought this little Pepper Man and some hanging clay pots. The clay pots were broken in a storm but the little man survived. He survived because he sits safely in my kitchen.

Against my better judgment, I paid for the items with my debit card...

You know it isn't going to end good with just such a beginning...

A couple weeks later, I begin to notice odd charges against my bank account...

One such charge listed a business phone number beside the charge on my statement. I knew we had not made the charge. So I called the number to find out what it was for...

It was a 900 number... need I say more?

So I explained the situation to them and they actually looked up the call that had made the charges and allowed me to listen to the voice that had made the call...
They also gave me the phone number where the call originated from.

Wasn't us! It was a Hispanic male voice...It was a San Antonio telephone number.

So I called the number...yes I did...and guess who answered. The same guy who made the call...I even had his name...Some people are real idiots!!

I told him I knew what he had done, he got scared and at first begged me not to call the police. Then when he realized I was seriously going to report him, then he threatened me; said he would call the police on me...

I called the business where I made the charges. Turns out, the guy who owned the business; it was his brother...

I told the man what had happened. I called the San Antonio police, and they say that he has called an reported me for harassing him... Crazy...

So I had to press charges against him. Because of the police report, my bank covered the charges on my account. I was refunded all the charges, and got a new debit card...

I don't know what ever happened to the man who stole my card number. Once I was refunded for the money the police told me I no longer had a claim against the man, that it was a police matter and they would take care of it.

It was just as well, I really didn't want to get involved with all of that...Just wanted my money back.

So, The Pepper Man has had a special place in my kitchen ever since. I look at him often and he reminds me that there are some bad people in the world; to protect myself, be aware and alert. But he is also a reminder that there are good things in the world.

Someone actually sat down and fashioned this man from his hat down to his shoes. He is handmade with paper, hardened by an acrylic finish of some sort. His basket is fashioned from particle wood and the peppers are real dried Cayenne peppers. He stands upon a block of particle wood and looks sadly at me as though he knows the problems I suffered through to bring him here. He is holding his offering of peppers to me as a consolation for my trouble.
I plan to keep The Pepper Man always, in his special spot in my kitchen, as long as he can stand there on his tiny legs, holding that basket of peppers...

I only wish that one day I could look at his face and see a smile there. Wouldn't that be a hoot!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On Books

I just read The Prince of Frogtown by Rick Bragg. It was a great read. But before you read this one, I suggest that you first read his other two books about his family: It's All Over But The Shoutin', and Ava's Man.

They are stories about his Mom and her family and about his life growing up in poor rural Alabama. The Prince of Frogtown is about his father who was absent most of his growing up and a drunk.

The stories are humorous and sad. You will laugh and you will cry. At least I did. I have known people like he tells of my whole life. My family wasn't like this, but I knew of families that lived exactly like he talks about. I found so much humor in his stories, but I also felt the tragedy of those lives as well.

I am trying to find his book, Redbirds memories from the South. The local library doesn't have it, so I suppose I may have to buy it.

I highly recommend these great books. Hope you enjoy them...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Making a House a Home...

I finally have living room furniture again! They delivered it this evening. I was so glad I decided on this set after I saw it in the house.

Saturday evening I wanted to get out of the house a little bit; alone. So I drove into town and went to a furniture store we had gone to a couple weeks back. I didn't find anything I really liked so I decided to go to Barnes and Noble and look around. As I was driving there, I passed a big furniture store and they just happened to be having a sale.

I whipped the car into the parking lot filled with other prospective furniture buyers and walked in, not knowing what to expect.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw some of the sale prices. I found a couple of sets that I thought I would like and started comparing them. There was one, a leather set, that I loved, it looked awesome! But after sitting around on it, putting my legs up under me, and laying around on it; (yes, I actually did that in the store!), I decided that it looked great, but was not comfortable a bit. We need something that is comfortable so we can lounge around on it. We're big lounging around kind of people.

I called Andrew, thinking he could drive over there and look with me. When a salesman came by for like the tenth time and asked if I need help, I asked what time they closed.

They closed at 6:00! It was 5:30! Only thirty more minutes and the sale would end!

Talk about pressure. I hated to make a decision like that on the spur of the moment, alone at that. What if no one else in the family liked it? What if I got it home and it looked hideous? I just didn't trust myself in that situation... I really had only planned to look, I wasn't prepared to buy. But how could I pass up this deal?

I was tired of not having living room I did it.

All week I worried whether I had made the right decision. By the time the delivery truck arrived today, I had forgotten what the set even looked like. I just bought the sofa and love seat. I didn't like the coffee table they had with it, and didn't have time to look around for more before they closed. We will buy those later.

I was actually pleased with it once they put it into the living room. I think I got a good deal on them, and that makes them even better.

Now I have to get drapes for the windows and a coffee table. Even without those things, it actually looks like an inviting living space.

They aren't in their final resting places, but for now until I have time to move things around and try different arrangements, this is where they will be. And yes, the fire place has papers in it. It is a gas fire place and has never been hooked up or turned on. I hope this winter we can put a gas tank out there and use it some.

Speaking of something warm and comforting:

How about a soothing bowl of Lentil Soup?

Yum! I love all things soup! This is a great recipe. Quick and easy with only a few ingredients.

Add a little cornbread to it and it is a great, filling supper.

For dessert, how about a slice of just out of the oven,

Banana Walnut Bread. Yummy!

Yes, I know there is this whole needing to diet and lose weight thing, but I had some banana's that were going bad and I needed to do something with them so they wouldn't be wasted. I happened to have a bag of walnuts and bam, Banana Walnut Bread!

I was pulling it out of the oven when they came to deliver the furniture, so I sent some home with the two nice gentlemen. They both commented about how good the house smelled, so I couldn't not offer them any. Besides, I don't need to eat the whole loaf! I plan to send some to work with Andrew...

Saving the planet- One Glass Straw at a Time!

With all the talk about saving the planet, and the health warnings about plastic, I have started buying glass items used in the kitchen.

Instead of storing leftovers in the usual plastic containers, I have started using Pyrex when I can, or other glass containers. I have seriously considered using large mouth canning jars to store leftovers in the fridge.

I got rid of a lot of my plastic drinking glasses, (I kept only the ones with a 5 in the recycle triangle on the bottom), and have tried to be more conservative with my use of plastic bags, by buying reusable bags to take grocery shopping.

We bought a filter for our sink for drinking water instead of buying all of those water bottles. We use to buy a 24 pack of waters twice a week! That is a lot of plastic bottles! But that is also a lot of money.

Growing up in the country with our own well, I would have never dreamed I'd be paying for water one day! But for $5 bucks a 24-pack, times 2 a week= over $500.00 a year for drinking water! On top of that, we pay for water into the house every month. So we decided to buy the filter and save some of that money and cut back on plastic usage. I do miss the convenience of grabbing a cold bottle of water out of the fridge to take with me wherever. I have been looking at stainless steel water bottles and plan to buy each of us one.

So to set up this next statement you need to know that I am a straw drinker. I think everything taste better when sipped through a straw. Just as I still believe that Sonic ice makes things taste better, but that is another post.

I use straws most of the time when I drink from a glass. However, I have been wondering if all of that straw sucking is going to lead to wrinkles around my mouth, similar to a smokers wrinkles from dragging on cigarettes for years? Anyway, for now, I plan to continue my habit of drinking through a straw.

So with all of this in mind, I ran across a link for this great place that you can buy glass straws! Yes, glass straws! I had never thought of that before. I am sure you can buy them other places, but I had never seen them before. How neat!

I decided to order one. I love it! It is so great. That little clinking sound it makes up against the ice and the side of a the drinking glass, it is music to my ears! It must be a familiar sound from my childhood that brings comfort by hearing it again. I also love the feel of it; perfectly round, smooth, cool, and solid. I think I will order more.

If you are interested, here is a link to this great place called the Glass Dharma. Check it out. They have these great little straw cozies and cleaning brushes for your straw. I got the simple elegance straw, but they have a couple of other choices.

Even if your not that into "saving the planet", these glass straws are great. They are also a fun conversation piece when you take it with you out to eat. Just don't leave it behind, they are a bit pricey, but well worth it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Trying to Find Motivation

For years I have battled with extra weight. For those of you who know me you will know that I am not tall. I am about 5'3". My body frame is small and shouldn't be carrying this much weight.

I am an emotional eater, or should I say, an emotional grazer. I don't eat huge meals, but I do snack throughout the day. I know I consume more calories than I need, because I am not a regular exerciser. I hit it in spurts, but that is no way to achieve results. Exercise needs to be on a regular basis. Daily or at least three days a week. With a little one I find it hard to work in some me time to exercise. Noah is an extremely early riser, and by the time I get him down at night, I am too exhausted to do anything, much less exercise. Throughout the day, I am usually busy with household activities and other responsibilities that I just don't make the time to exercise. Andrew works long hours; he leaves at daybreak and often doesn't get home until 5:30-6:00. At that time everyone is starving for supper and who can exercise after eating supper.

I think it is very important that we all sit down together for at least one meal a day and eat as a family. So I wouldn't think of skipping out on supper to exercise. Because of all of the above, I just don't fit in regular exercise. I know, I know; excuses, excuses!!

Anyway, for years I have just been packing on a little more and a little more weight much to my dismay. Last year I lost 20 pounds without really sacrificing much. I started eating healthy and watching my calories. I wrote down everything I ate and keep close watch on calories. I never went anywhere without something healthy to snack on or to drink. Speaking of which-Dr Pepper's have always been my vice! They have been responsible for packing on much of the extra weight I carry. I have quit them several times through the years and lost weight by doing so. But again, it is hard to do, especially when your motivation is waning.

For me, I find that I have to get my mind motivated and get it in gear. It is like my dad use to say; Mind over Matter. Once your mind is on board with what you are doing, then you can do anything! At least I am that way. I can't find motivation, or lasting motivation, should I say, from outside sources, it has to come from inside. I have to have my brain ready to do it, and have my mind made up that I am going to do it, then I can do it...whatever the task is.

Last year after losing those 2o pounds, I did something really foolish...I started taking a cake decorating class with Megan. I had been wanting to do that for some time, but never had the opportunity. So when I found a class nearby that was at a time I could do it, we took the class. Which meant having lots of cakes around all the time! Cake=sweet=my weakness!! So before I knew it I had packed those 20 pounds back on.

With the turmoil of trying to decide whether we wanted to uproot our lives again and make a big move, I started my stress eating thing again. Eating comfort foods, drinking Dr Pepper again, grazing throughout the day...Those bad habits are usually just waiting around the corner, waiting for the right moment to jump back on you! It is easier to go back to the old bad habits than it is to maintain the new good habits. At least it is for me.

Then with the stress of the move and all that goes with picking up your life and completely changing it, I can't seems to get back on track. They say that moving is one of the top ten most stressful events in your! No wonder I have spent my life stressing out! I thought it was just my personality type...

So here I sit, in a new house, a new town, new people, new church, completely new everything except me. I am still the same old me, battling those same old pounds!! Time to do something about it, right?

I think with all the stresses my instincts kick in; that whole fight or flight thing that we learned about in freshman psychology. My instincts were that I needed to use all my energy fighting this thing that was stressing me, so that left no energy for anything else in my life. I had everything focused on moving and all the things that go along with that, I couldn't fight the food cravings and the desire to graze and find comfort in food.

Yea, I know, I think things through way to much!!

But with all that said, I am back to being miserable with my weight. I would love to lose 35-40 pounds. I think I would feel much better physically with that extra weight off. I would have more energy, and God knows I need more energy to keep up Noah! I will also be able to fit into my clothes! I have battled the clothes thing for some time now.

I love clothes! But I am one of those who has a hard time buying for myself. I always talk myself out of buying things. I usually think of something that the kids need so I don't buy for me until I just can't go any longer and I am just about having to run around naked! I am also not one of those people who keep my fat clothes after losing weight. I know people who have a closet of clothes in five or six sizes! I have maybe two sizes in my closet. I just don't have room to keep all of those things if I can't wear them. So when I lost weight last year, I got rid of my "fat" clothes and bought new things. Now that my weight is up again, they don't fit!! So I have had to make myself go buy a few things in my new/old larger size...

Which I despise having to shop for clothes at this size, because I feel like nothing fits decent and I feel fat in everything!

I feel like Garfield--I'm not over weight, I'm just under tall!! If I were just taller, I would be so fat...

Such is the saga of my life...

So, I need to find motivation to get these pounds off again!!

I know what I need to do, it is just making myself do it. I thought of joining Weight Watchers or Curves, but it goes back to that whole thing of finding the time to be able to go and do it.

I have a garage full of exercise equipment, so that isn't the problem. Time and motivation are the issues. I suppose if I found the motivation, I would find the time...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Dog Days of...Spring?

This week we celebrated Cinco de Mayo by having Tacos, Enchiladas and Spanish rice. I didn't get a shot of a taco, but I'm pretty sure we have all seen one!

Noah has enjoyed spending time in the back yard, playing around and just exploring like little boys do. I hear him out there just talking and singing.

The other day I saw him in the back yard lying in the grass with Sadie lying at his side. By the time I got my camera and took a shot, I was spied by both of them. In the quiet of the day, the camera clicks were loud enough to be heard across the yard.

I woke early this morning. Andrew had an 8:00 tee time on the golf course and left around 7:00. I slipped out and sat on the front porch, listening to the birds serenade me as I ate my morning bagel with cream cheese. I actually finished breakfast and was reading a magazine when I heard Noah calling me from inside the house. He joined me on the porch for a time and when he threw a ball into my Gerbera daisies and one broke off, we brought it in and put it in a bottle vase.

Above is a photo of the original daisy.

Below is what it looked like after I photoshop-ed it. I am just getting use to using photoshop and don't know a lot about it yet. I like the look of these so I ordered the four prints. I plan to frame each in a simple black frame and arrange them in a grouping and put them on the wall in "my space" in our bonus room. I want to add some color splash to the area and since it is mostly a functional space and doesn't offer much in the way of style, I thought these would be a great addition.

I know it isn't an original idea, I have seen these in stores before. But the difference is, these are self made. I grew the flowers, took the photo and edited it myself. Adding this to a creative space should be a bit of self-produced inspiration at a minimal cost.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Long Time No Blog...

Wow! It has been almost a week since I blogged. I don't know why, but I just haven't had it in me to sit down at the computer and blog. I have been doing a few other things, reading mostly. Trying to get that stack of books dwindled down.

I have also been working on my space in the bonus room. Andrew put me up a couple of shelves and I brought in my sewing table so I am using the space as more of a functional area. I have my desk to sit and read, play on the computer, blog, write, or just look out the window. And I have an area to sew, craft and whatever. It is a small space but it gives me something I haven't had in a long time; a space to call my own.

I can actually organize my crafting things and my sewing things, so when the urge hits, I don't have to go out in the garage digging for this and that. It is all right here at my finger tips.

I am still unpacking my craft and sewing things and trying to organize them, but so far, I am liking what I am seeing.

I also bought some of those magazine organizers. You know the little plastic upright things like you see at the library that houses older editions of their magazines. Anyway, I bought six of them, but I grossly under estimated how many magazines I had...I will have to go back next week and get that many more and then some.
I keep subscriptions of certain magazines; Coastal Living (when we lived on the coast, and because I wish we still did, only not South Texas coast), Country Living (because that is the best place to live), Cottage Living (because I love cottage style), Cooking Light ( I have stacks of those, because I love all things food related, and God knows I need it light), Sunset (for the beautiful photos and I love the pacific northwest), Mother Earth News ( because it is the authority on homesteading), Victoria (back before they went out of business and now they've come back again), Everyday Food (again its about food, and has some great tips and photos), Southern Living (because it is all things Southern), Hobby Farm, and Hobby Farm Home (they are the best), Writer's Digest (because it is every wannabe writers bible), Real Simple (who doesn't want to simplify).

There may be more I have forgotten about, and haven't unpacked yet. These have mostly been stored for some time now. These are only part of what I had, when we moved from Arkansas, I threw away several boxes of magazines just to appease Andrew. He has gripped for years about moving those boxes of magazines around everywhere. So I lighten the load somewhat. But these I have now, I won't budge on them. In fact, this week I have been going through and rereading my Cottage Living and Country Living, looking for decorating ideas. These I plan to keep.

I did get good news this week. I got a good report from the doctor's office. I am so very thankful for that. God answers prayer!

In other news, Sunday is Mothers Day. I am thankful that I still have my mother with me. Even though she is 900+ miles away. We talk on the phone daily, sometimes more than once. I am also very thankful to be a mother. My children have brought so much joy into my life. I can't imagine what my life would have been without them. I thank God for them everyday! I do miss Lauren so very much. I talk to her daily, multiple times a day, but it isn't the same as her being here. I miss seeing her. She wrote a very nice blog about me on her photo blog site.

I feel like there is so much that I didn't give to her, so much yet to teach her and show her. They grow up to fast. Before you know it they are grown and on their own. I just hope I taught her the important things. I hope that although I never taught her how to roast a turkey or how to make Maw maw's homemade dumplings, I hope that she knows that I love her. I hope that I gave her truth and showed her how a Godly woman was suppose to live. I know I failed in many ways. The first born is always the guinea pig, they are the one we have to practice on. By the time the second and third one comes along, you have learned from the earlier mistakes. Hopefully you have worked the kinks out and gotten your life on a straighter path. But the first born has to go through the rough times, the lean times, and learns at an early age that Mom and Dad don't know everything, that sometimes they are just winging it and hoping for the best.

I know that Lauren has gotten me through so many times, if it hadn't been for her, I don't know what I would have done. She gave me a reason to keep going, to keep trying. Having her when I did, gave me a drive to get back up when I fell and not give up when things didn't work out the way I had hoped. She was my "angel girl", still is...I am very proud of her. She has become a beautiful young lady, and I know that she will succeed at whatever she puts her mind to do...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Antique Fair

Just a quick post and a photo of today's events. I actually did go to the Antiques Fair in Cameron. It was something. Wow! Not enough time or money, but we had a great time. Noah did get tired and fussy, so we cut the day short.

Saw some great things, and got some wonderful ideas. If I can just remember them all.

Here is a photo of Noah holding one of our great finds today. It is a metal star that was made by the Amish in Pennsylvania. I am going to hang it on the porch.

I actually forgot I had my camera with me until just before we started to leave. These are just some quick shots of what was nearby when we started to leave. By this time, Noah was trying to climb out of the stroller. I was hot, sweaty, and dirty from walking through dirt and sandy areas. I just snapped a couple quick shots to have something to put on the blog.

This was so amazing. It is bamboo! It was like a forest of bamboo. It was big around and tall as the pine trees nearby. I have never seen bamboo this big in my life. We had some growing behind our house in Little Rock, but nothing like this. It was awesome. The photo really doesn't do it justice.

I found a few more items but I will save those for later. I am working on how to put it all together to make the front porch of my dreams, or at least something that will be inviting and cozy.

They have another Antiques Fair there the first Saturday in October. You better believe I will be there again. Hopefully then the weather will be cooler and this time, I am going prepared! I have already told Andrew to get ready, he will be babysitting that day, so I can go and really take it all in. It was hard pushing that stroller around all the booths and into the stores that were set up. But come October, I'm gonna get serious!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Personalities and Family Traits

As if my desk wasn't piled high enough with books to read, I got three new ones in the mail. I order a lot of books from Amazon. These were out of desperation. I started the first one immediately.

Don't get me wrong. Noah is a sweetheart. He is very loving and so polite at times, saying please and thank you from the time he was very small, without really being prompted to do so. He can be a dream smart and attuned to the feelings of others. He is loving and will just out of the blue say "I love you mommy!" and he is free with his hugs and kisses. But there are times when he can be very strong-willed and demanding. Especially when we go somewhere; church, town, someplace we are suppose to be quiet...

My girls were easy...With Lauren, I just had to look at her and she obeyed. The slightest hint that she shouldn't do something and she didn't do it. She was quiet and sat very still when we would go places like church or a doctors office. I would even take her with me to college classes at times, and she stayed very quiet and still, coloring or just listening.

Megan was easy also. I did have to do a tad more discipline with her. She pushed the limits a bit more than Lauren did, and still does...She is a little more sneaky with her defiance. I remember once when she was about five, there was a cartoon on television that she wanted to watch, but I just didn't like it and didn't want her watching it. One day in town she got a happy meal that had a town of that cartoon character in it, and I threw it away. She was upset and wanted to know why she couldn't have it. I told her that I didn't feel it was a good thing for her to watch and she didn't need the toy. She looked at me and said,
" I can still think about it!"

In other words, I could stop her from watching it or playing with the toy, but I couldn't control what went on in her head! She knew that I couldn't control her thoughts! Those were her own and she could think whatever she wanted. LOL!

But Noah, well, he is a boy and energetic, and loud!! He has an inside voice, but doesn't like to use it. He doesn't like to sit still for long periods of time, and he not only pushes the limits, but shoves them as far as possible. He knows he is pushing the limits when he looks at me and smiles or smirks as he does just what I told him not to do. I do love my boy!!

We have been in a power struggle for some time now. He is physically very strong and very active. He is forty solid pounds and almost more than I can handle at times. So you could say that I get flustered and frustrated. I know the move has something to do with his behavior lately. There have been a lot of changes in his life and it takes a little time for a child to adjust to life changes. Sometimes they will act out. So I have tried to be patient. But we've gotten very concerned with his safety. When we would tell him to stay beside us, or not to do something, he would run away from us or do exactly what we told him not to do. I had nightmares of him running out in front of a car or doing something that would seriously hurt himself.

So at my wits end, I ordered a triple dose of Dr. Dobson.

Just after a couple days of reading the Strong-Willed Child, and following his advice, I can see a little difference.
Even after almost 20 years of parenthood, you realize just how little you actually know about child-rearing. I think the older I get, the more I feel that way about life. The older I get, the less I know. When I was younger, I was cockier and thought I knew so much about it all. But with life experience and age, I am wiser in the understanding that I really don't know that much at all!
Each of my children are very different and unique. They each have talents and abilities all their own. They have personalities that set them apart as individuals. I enjoy watching them as they have grown and seeing the differences in them. I also see the thread that binds them together as siblings. Those things that are alike. The traits that they share. Some of those I can say are like me, some like Andrew, and there are some that remind me of my brother. I am sure there are things about them that come from great-great-great uncle Charlie or whoever. It is funny to see how some things that seem unimportant tranfer from one generation to the next, and go together to make their personalities.
An example is; Noah never wants ice in his drinks. If I put ice in his cup, he will not drink it. I have to pour it out and get more drink without ice. If it is a drink from a fast food place or a restaurant he will drink it with ice, but not at home. One day while setting the table for supper, I had accidently put ice in his cup and he said he wanted water without ice. Immediately I recoginzed that was something he got from his Grandpa Thomason. I knew Andrew's dad for almost twenty years when he passed away. And in those twenty years everytime he ever ate with us he would ask for water, no ice. Noah was two when Andrew's dad passed away, and he had not been around him much to know that he didn't take ice in his drinks. So he didn't learn it from observation, but I suppose it is an inborn preference.
Today's Quotes
The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together ~Erma Bombeck~
Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future ~Gail Lumet Buckley~


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