Wednesday, March 5, 2014

20 Precious Minutes.

At 6:10 AM I get 20 precious minutes.

I get up between 5:30 and 6:00 AM every morning. It is a habit that developed because of my previous job and it is one that I have chosen to continue. Caitie also gets up at 5:30 so she can shower before Tim gets up. Their bus comes at 6:50. It is nice little routine they have established. Caitie gets out of the shower at 6:00 and Tim gets in.

When I first get up I get online and see what is going on with Facebook and what not until right at 6:10 and then I go into the kitchen start the coffee and make Dan's lunch.

And then it happens ... Caitie comes out of her "cave". She hops up on what has become her spot on the kitchen counter (I know right, ON the kitchen counter) and she talks. Usually first about why it is too early and why she doesn't want to go to school that day. But then, about other things. The latest bands. What her friends are doing.  What she is thinking. For 20 minutes it is just me and her in the quiet of the morning and we TALK. Do you have any idea how wonderful that is.

At 6:30 I have to say that it is time for her to hurry up and finish getting ready. Then she usually has to rush to make the bus. Tim will say something like "You get up at 5:30 how can you not be ready" (insert huge exasperated 16 year old sigh). But it is worth the last minute hassle to get that time.

She is 13 almost 14. I have no idea how much longer these mornings will last. These 20 precious minutes that I wouldn't trade for an extra hour of sleep for all the money in the world.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Good Bye February

So what did I accomplish this month? Pretty much what I set out to accomplish so that is pretty amazing. In words my hustle was to do something productive every day. But in spirit it was to quit sitting around feeling sorry for myself and make a plan to get my life back on track which was what I  knew the result of being productive every day would be. It worked.

I have had 2 job interviews, turned down one job because of pay, have another interview today and looks like one next week. I went to two classes on searching for a job and read 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller.

48 Days to the Work You Love

I have started to dream again and my husband and I talked about how we could work towards our longtime dream of living a more self-sustaining lifestyle. It is fun to dream a dream with someone you love. We decided to start a blog about our Journey and I am having fun getting that ready to launch.

I made the decision to help with the AWANA group at church (this was a bigger one than you can imagine as I did it for years at our church before we moved and said no more) and am begining to form community a this church here.

I made some big decisions about the food I choose to put in my body and changed the way I think about exercise because of a few good people on here who have talked about getting fit. I am going to choose to exercise because I love my body not because I hate it. (That was a big one for me but I don't remember who posted it) and I have found a beginners bike trail I can ride on and identified a safe walking trail near my house.

WOW! When you list it all out like that I would say February was quite a month. So come on March BRING  IT ON!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hustle Report

So for the month of February I joined Jon Acuff in the 30 days of Hustle Adventure. The point behind this is simple. Take 30 days, set a goal, work towards it. Okay well it sounds simple anyway.

So here we are at the end of the first 30 (which is technically 28 because it is February) and I thought I would answer today's challenge question here and talk about how the month has gone.

I picked what I am sure seems like a simple goal for this first month. My goal was to do something productive each and everyday. Now that really wasn't as simple for me as it sounds. I had found I was having more and more days where the dragon won and less and less days where I was able to fight him off. I decided that for me to truly set a goal and be excited about it I had to dig myself out of that pit first.

It hasn't been an easy month and I wasn't 100% successful. Some days I just didn't have the energy or will to fight but most days I did. Most days I felt more like me and that is a good thing cause truth be told I kinda like myself. Through out the month I adjusted what it meant to be productive. I began thinking about what I was moving toward not what I was moving away from. I found ways to do what I needed to do versus what I felt like doing (which most days is nothing BTW).

But this month was important. I was reinforcing the foundation for my real Hustle. Making it strong and preparing it to build on. I am pleased with what I accomplished on the inside even if it doesn't look like I accomplished anything on the outside.

I know it was a success because I am excited about the next 30. I am ready to make something happen. I am dreaming again. Feeling hopeful again. I feel like I am on the right track for the first time in probably 7 months because the truth is I shut down months before the company I worked for did.

So that brings me to today's questions:

If you do another 30 days of hustle, where do you want to be after the second 30 days?

That is hard for me to answer today because I am so excited. I need to narrow down my focus a bit and choose my main hustle for next month. I have a few more days to do that so I am going to bit a bit vague here. After a second 30 days I hope to have continued to strengthen the foundation but I also hope to have clarified exactly what my goal is and to be working towards that.

 If you hustled for 12 months, what do you hope is true of your life next year?

This one is easier for me to answer. What I want to be true of my life next year is to be working with purpose towards my goal not floundering to figure out what my goal even is. I want to be working in a job I enjoy. I want to have formed community here where I live. I want to enjoy the present while I build the future.

So here's to the next 30 days!

Monday, February 10, 2014

And we thought she was crazy.

So when was the last time you paid attention to what is on your television? I mean really actually paid attention. The language, the sexual reference, the inundation of unbiblical principals and lifestyles that are both subtle and unsubtle; it is everywhere.

It is in the commercials, the sitcoms, the dramas, even in the game shows. The idea that the abnormal is normal. That sin is not so bad. Values and morals are presented as old fashioned and silly. Faith is presented as fodder for those intelligent enough to realize how silly it is.

I remember when I was a very little girl my Great Aunt Ruby pronounced TV as evil. She, and her church I think, believed television was from Satan and she wasn't allowed to watch it. Now keep something in mind here, I am from Texas where football is king.  So every Sunday everyone watched the Cowboys play ball. I remember everyone sitting around in the living room of my grandmothers house watching the game and there Aunt Ruby sat. In the room with us. With her eyes closed because she was not allowed to "watch" TV.

We loved her but we all thought she was a little bit crazy. There wasn't really anything "bad" on TV in the 70's so none of us could see what was so wrong with it. Now in hindsight I realize that was the deal wasn't it. It took 30+ years but here we are. Right were my "crazy" Aunt knew we would be.

It happened slowly. Kind of like the old how do you boil a frog analogy. Very slowly our very ideals and values were replaced with an alternate view of what is acceptable. Slow changes to what a family looks like. Slow changes to what justifies bad behavior. A slow normalization of things we know are wrong.

By showing us everyday that EVERYONE else believes these things are good and proper the media turned a majority into a minority. Even if we still have the numbers we don't have the platform.

I don't have any solutions. I am worried about the direction we are headed. I fear it is like a snowball already headed the mountain. It has momentum and I don't know how we can stop it. Especially when it has so much support behind it. All I do know is that while I don't really know that much was gained by sitting in the room with her eyes closed, I don't really think she was Crazy after all.


Family watching television, c. 1958. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sounds Yummy!

Herbed Seafood Mac & Cheese
8 oz. elbow macaroni
2 tbl butter

½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground fine black pepper
2 cups milk
2 tablespooons fresh chopped mixed herbs OR mix your own: dried thyme, sage, chives, rosemary, basil
1 package 5.2 oz. Boursin Cheese with garlic & herbs (in the gourmet cheese coutner)
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup shredded Parmesan Cheese (2 oz.)
1 cup soft breadcrumbs (make your own from day old bread)
2 cups of your favorite seafood: crab, lobstah, shrimps, etc.
2 tbls. buttah
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2-1/2 quart baking dish. In saucepan melt 2 tb butter over med-low heat, add the flour & stir (over low) until well blended and bubbly. Add salt & pepper, milk. Cook, stirring until thickened. Add the herbs, Boursin cheese & Cheddar & Parmesan cheeses. Cook stirring until cheeses have melted. Stir in raw seafood and sauce into the cooked/drained macaroni. Spoon evenly into baking dish. In a bowl soss the bread crumbs with the melted butter & sprinkle over casserole. Bake 25-30 minutes until macaroni & cheese is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Serve with (garlic, if adventurous & both eating it, lol) toast.

Sandra Jackson Lewis's photo.

Thanks for the recipe Sandra

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rice Krispie Treat or 5K

I was inspired by Ryan Eller to write a bucket list this morning. You can check out his blog here Live Your List if you dare. He has some great ideas about ... well about bucket lists.

So anyway I was making my list on Pinterest of course because that is where I do everything and I set out to put at least 30 pins in my Bucket List in Pictures board. As I searched Pinterest I am thinking about the things I want to do, things I want to learn, and places I want to go. So many ideas. So many thoughts.

I pinned art I want to make and places I want see. Then I remember thinking last fall that I really wished I was in shape to do the Color Run. It just seems like such a fun idea. At this point in my life I have High Blood Pressure, am over weight, and just walking up a flight of stairs winds me so the Color Run really wasn't an option last fall. But the next run isn't until July so I think "Hey I could maybe be ready to do one by then". So as I pin a picture of the Color Run the irony just about knocks me over. I am pinning about how I want to do a 5K while sitting on my couch eating a Rice Krispie treat, drinking a cream soda, wearing my baggie sweats (believe me it ain't cause I am headed to the gym), and doing what I normally do....nothing.

Okay. Might be time to put down the Rice Krispie treat and GO DO SOMETHING!

Thanks Ryan!

Friday, January 24, 2014

What's for dinner: Baked Reuben

Reuben Crescent Bake

2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 pound sliced Swiss cheese
1-1/4 pounds sliced deli corned beef
1 can (14 ounces) sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
2/3 cup Thousand Island salad dressing
1 egg white, lightly beaten
3 teaspoons caraway seeds

Unroll one tube of crescent dough into one long rectangle; seal seams and
perforations. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake
at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Layer with half of the
cheese and all of the corned beef. Combine sauerkraut and salad dressing; spread
over beef. Top with remaining cheese. On a lightly floured surface, press or
roll second tube of crescent dough into a 13-in. x 9-in. rectangle, sealing seams
and perforations. Place over cheese. Brush with egg white; sprinkle with caraway
seeds. Bake for 12-16 minutes or until heated through and crust is golden
brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 8 servings.
Source ~ Taste of Home

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Some days the Dragon wins.

For the most part I am positive person mostly just because I refuse to be any other way. For ages the kids told me "It is what it is" should be my tag line. I figure there is no point in worrying yourself to death over things you have no control over so why bother. Why not just make the best of what comes your way.

Most days even now with my job just gone. I have a pretty good outlook. I figure I will find something else. Who knows maybe it is time for me to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. So I plan and I job search and I enjoy this short time I have at home because it really isn't something I have done before. Maybe I should start a business, write a book, move to a new place, go back to school shoot my options seem almost unlimited. Most Days.

But some days getting dressed seems like a waste (it isn't like I have anywhere to go and it is cold outside). Some days I am sick of career builder and indeed and monster looking at a ton of jobs I don't want (even though I realize the job I want doesn't exist anymore because with no notice they closed the door). Some days doing anything but sitting on the couch reading or watching TV requires more than I have to give.

So as I have been having one of those days today I was thinking you know what that is okay. More days than not I am the victor. I get up get dressed and find something productive to do. Most of the time I feel pretty good all things considered. So maybe I will take today and have a little pity party. And that is okay cause tomorrow I will get up and start again. Today maybe the Dragon wins but tomorrow I will be victorious.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

17 years

So today Dan and I have been married 17 years. I meant to post wedding pictures on here but I haven't unpacked all the boxes and the album with our wedding pictures is one of the boxes I haven't unpacked. Yes I know we moved last May but I just haven't made it that far yet.

So anyway 17 years.

I don't even know what to say to be honest with you. Some days it seems like there is no way it has been that long and then again I can't imagine a time when it wasn't the two of us. So I think what I will do is just make a list of 7 things I like about being married to Dan. Why 7? Cause 10 is just too main stream LOL

1. He is funny. Seriously funny. People underestimate the value of being with someone who makes them laugh but they shouldn't cause it is awesome.

2. He knows what I mean even when I don't know what I mean.

3. He is great dad.

4. He is so good when I get a little crazy and kind of lose my mind. He is the calm to my storm.

5. He has a way of keeping my feet on the ground without making me feel tied down.

6. He will let me go on and on about stuff I know he doesn't care about. Like chickens and scrapbooking and Montana and pinterest.

7. Because being married to my best friend is the very best possible way I can think of to spend the next 17+ years!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Spoken Word Poetry

I have always loved poetry. Now I feel like I should clarify the whole love poem type thing people usually think of isn't really my cup of tea. I don't have collections of "How do I love thee let me count the ways" kinda poetry. I like things a little darker. A little more macabre. I think it probably started with Poe. Because I loved his stories I read his poems and from there I was hooked. Then I read In the Desert by Stephen Crane. Most people know he wrote Red Badge of Courage but have no idea he wrote poetry. But In the Desert is my all time favorite because it was the first poem I loved enough to memorize. 
Here it is for anyone who hasn't read it:

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter", he answered,
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."

Over the years I haven't had the time to read much poetry. It isn't mainstream. It isn't published much anymore and it takes time to search out new stuff. But being off work right now and having nothing to do but peruse You Tube for part of the day I have fallen in love with Spoken Word Poetry. I wish I lived near enough to a large area so I could go to some of the Poetry Slams. So here are a few of my favorites so far just to give a taste of what I have found. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

For Just Such a Time as This

Do you ever wish you were born in a different time? 

It seems to me that things used to simpler. I mean I am talking like Little House on the Prairie or Mayberry simple. Back when values counted for something. When innocent wasn't a bad thing. I know it wasn't really easy then. I do. But I also think it is harder now. Harder to be a kid. Harder to be a parent.

I just saw a post on Facebook about girls posting nude pictures of themselves on Instagram and someone mentioned guys taking pictures of other guys in the locker room without them not knowing and posting them online.  Seems like I read a similar story once a week now.

Technology. Man the geek in me loves technology. I love the internet. I love Facebook as a way to keep up with family and friends who are far away. I love it to pay bills and to get info immediately. For me, I love that everything is right at my fingertips. I love my smart phone. I have Pinterest while in the store to look at recipes and GPS so I never get lost. My music and books all in one place!

As a mom I hate technology. The internet is like inviting strangers right into my house.  It provides a scary way for others to hurt my kids and a way for my kids to unintentionally hurt themselves. Cell phones can be great. I love being able to get a hold of them any time I want. But the fact that pictures and texts can be sent instantaneously with no time to think it through . No time to wonder if posting that was a good idea or not. No time to wonder if the person you are communicating with is who they say they are. No do overs. Once it is out there it is out there FOREVER!

I wish this wasn't the world I was raising my kids in. It is crazy out there. As I was reading those post I was thinking that I wish it was a different time. A time when it doesn't seem like everyday things are spirally further and further away from what is good and closer and closer to what is ugly. But then I remember:

For just such a time as this.

I think of Esther 4:14 when another woman thought she was the wrong person at the wrong time. But Esther was placed in exactly the place God wanted her in exactly the time He wanted her there. Did God "need" Esther to do what she did? No of course not. God could have used what ever method He wanted to accomplish his plan. But when the call came Esther answered.

I wasn't born in the wrong time. My kids were meant to be kids right now in the middle of this craziness we live in. I was meant to be a parent right now. We are right where we are supposed to be. Don't get me wrong things are going to happen the way they are supposed to with or without me.  But I pray as things get crazier and as things get harder that I will be open to being a part of God's plan because I know I was born for just such a time as this.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Today I want to say Happy Birthday to a very special man. I love you Bill and I am so grateful that you are a part of our family and a part of our life. 


I know a lot of people make New Years Resolutions. I never really have been much of one to make them. However this year is a little different. I am planning to make some changes. Big changes. Not because of the New Year Year but because of the change in our life style now that I no longer employed. Now don't get me wrong I am not making these changes because I am unemployed because I hope that situation will not last long :) I am making them because the last weeks of being at home have given me time to look at our life and see how being so busy has allowed us to get off course.

So that said here are my New Life Resolutions:

1. Dinner at 6 pm. At the table. Everyone!

2.  I am going to use my membership at the YMCA. The class times for what I wanted never worked with my work schedule but for now (at least until I find a job) I can go what ever time I choose.

3. I need to plan our meals and go to the store for 2 weeks at a time like I used to. Not only was it cheaper but it was way less frustrating.

4. I am going to get involved at church. We have been going but not really plugged in. We chose a church 30 minutes away from the house. I really do believe this is the church we are supposed to be at but that said I have to stop using the drive as an excuse not to go for extra things.

There are other things I need to change and other things I want to do but I figure this should be enough for now. We will see how these go.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Word of the Year

So some of my friends are choosing a word of the year. I thought about doing that. I like the idea of having a single word I could use as a touchstone. The closing of the company I worked for has left me at lose ends. There are options to weight and decisions to make. Decisions. I hate making decisions so having a word weigh these choices against might be good.

Then I remembered... I chose a word of the year last year. I am pretty sure I did. I am almost positive I did. What was the word you ask? I have no idea. I only remember choosing one I don't remember what it was. So I guess I forgot it as quickly as I chose it. That is so like me. I chose a word last year to be the thing I would weigh my actions against and I can't even remember what it was.

Then I decided just because I didn't use the word last year doesn't mean I can't chose one this year. Also so like me. So I decided to try it again. I AM choosing a word this year. But it is more of a goal than a touchstone. I might even say a mission of sorts.

We have lived here for 2 years now. The kids love it here. The worst thing they can think of would be for us to move back to Virginia.
It. Is. All. I. Can. Think. About.
I have held myself apart from this place wishing for home, wishing for my friends, wishing for my church, wishing for my family.

I HAD an excuse. I worked from 5 am to 8 pm pretty much 5 days a week and had to be available on Saturday to take calls. Then on Sunday afternoon I spent a few hours each week setting the schedule for the next week. I didn't have time to meet people. To join clubs or groups. To establish relationships. And even if I had the time I was hesitant. It is hard to be part of a group when you have to excuse yourself every 10 minutes to take a phone call.

Dan and I had discussed how all encompassing the job was. We had talked about the fact that it might be time to move on to something new.I just hadn't decided for sure when the company made my decision for me and closed its doors.

I didn't lose myself because of the job. I knew who I was I just didn't have time to BE myself. I have missed that person who loves people, volunteer work, scrap booking, crafts, and book clubs. Two years I have lived in this place and I don't even know if those things exist here.

This was all brought home to me yesterday. This town I live in is small. Very small. I decided to run by the library to get something to read and I couldn't find it. I know generally where it is but I just wasn't sure which road I needed to turn down. Two years. I have been in this town two years and I have never been in the post office. I have been to the library once.

I have time now. Time to do things. Time to meet people. No excuses.

So my word of the year this year will be COMMUNITY. Its time for me to find one.