My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

insert witty blog entry here

I'm completely worthless today and I don't care.
I haven't eaten healthy. I haven't eaten UNHEALTHY but I haven't done my 5-9 servings of fruit and veggies. And I don't care.
I woke up at 5am and realized there had been an earthquake in Chile.
I have been watching CNN and Fox News almost continuously since then. And I don't care.
I mean... I don't care that I've been news obsessed today. Not that I don't care about the earthquake. Obviously, if I've been watching the news for 13 hours, I have a mild interest.
I thought about going out for a biscuit and gravy for my usual Saturday indulgence.
And then I realized that I had been indulgent all week so I didn't get a biscuit.
I also realized that getting a biscuit would involved putting on clothes. And shoes. And so I didn't.
I thought about making a grocery store run but I remembered the whole clothes/shoes requirement... plus having to brush my hair... which I wouldn't have to do in the drive thru.
I'm totally in love with Toby on The Office. I love how calm he is.
Of course, I'm also in love with Jim... cracks me up how he makes those goofy faces.
Michael Scott just makes me feel sorry for him. Bless his heart. (which is southern for "why are you so stupid?")
People who are socially unaware are so sad.
It's getting dark and I need to turn on a light. But I don't care.
Today is a real essay in apathy.
I did, however, sweep the kitchen floor. That one act was the only thing that has separated my behavior today from the cat's behavior. Well, that and thumbs. And the fact that I use a flushable vs. scratchable waste disposal unit.
How's that snow working out for y'all?
We have forecasted snow on Tuesday and so I imagine that I'll get into my anxious snow watch mode some time tomorrow. Ugh. Can we do spring already? I'm ready for North GA BBQ to open up again.
The bakery is supposed to open in the next week. I had planned to be down 10 pounds by the time they opened back up. Maybe I should just avoid the bakery until I've lost ten pounds?
I'm sorta wanting Captain D's for dinner.
I'm not going to do it though, partly because I've indulged too much in the past week.
I'm also avoiding runts... which you can buy by the pound at the Ingles in town.
I'm thinking about having leftover soup from last week. Only. I'm not sure if it's still good after a week.
Aren't you glad I took the time to bore you today?
Have a great evening! Watch out for shaking earth and high water! And snow! The sky is falling!
Love and hugs!

Friday, February 26, 2010

my life is average

My life is average….

I was walking into walmart today and the wind was blowing strong. My thick, carefully straightened hair was blowing in my eyes. I crossed paths with a lady who had obvious issues with baldness. I felt guilty for showing off.

I was drying my hands walking back from the restroom and my wedding ring – which I wear on my right ring finger – slipped off. I thought it might be a sign.

My car wouldn’t start this morning. I brought the phone outside, called my brother and let him listen to the sound the car was making. It started. I was relieved but felt like my car was making me out to be a liar.

Was it impolite for me to correct the sandwich artist at lunch today when she put vinegar on my sandwich but not oil? Do you think she was trying to tell me I didn’t need the oil?

I rushed to my desk after lunch to answer the phone and was out of breath. I made sure the caller knew I had rushed to answer… worrying more about them thinking I was a heavy breather than them worrying about us not having enough people manning the phones.

I complained this week about NBC saving the marquee Olympic events until last and teasing throughout the evening. Last night they explained why they were doing it. Do you think NBC producers are reading my blog?

I wish I was in NYC to enjoy the snowstorm. Unless they lose power. I can’t imagine climbing 39 floors to my brother’s apartment. He had knee surgery a month ago. I bet he can’t imagine climbing 39 flights of stairs either.

That’s it for now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

sick thursday

Austin mentioned on Tuesday night that Devyn had gotten sick at school.
Yesterday morning Austin called my office at 9:45 to tell me he was sick. I left work, drove like a crazed woman to the high school to get him, ran the errand I needed to run on lunch and was back at work in one hour and ten minutes. I skipped lunch to make up for the lost time.
This morning I was all dressed and ready to go. The car was warmed up. I was putting my bag in the car and I felt a wave of nausea hit me. Great. I spent my work day... feeling pretty gross.
That was my day. How was yours?

A family in our church lost their home to fire last night. It's odd... I've been working on trying to get their insurance business moved to our agency. She's been putting me off. So... from a claims experience standpoint, I'm glad they didn't move their business yet. From the standpoint of being able to be there for them in a way that I know our agency would have been... I wish they had moved their business already. Our church, not surprisingly, has responded by gathering furniture for them, providing meals for them, giving them money, helping them to find a place to live. The local elementary school is holding a clothing drive. It's tragic... so sad. I don't know them that well but she's one of my farmville neighbors and she gifts often. *smile*

I'm still feeling sorta yucky and having trouble stringing together intelligent sentences...

Hope you guys are having a great day. Love and hugs!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

more about freedom

Ive been battling a headache all week. So far, today, I'm winning. It was a challenge yesterday... but I stuck it out, took some naproxen and went to bed early.

I'm worried about Andrew Koenig. He played Boner on Growing Pains. He disappeared almost two weeks ago. He was battling depression. People who are depressed need to be with people who LOVE them and who can help them keep going.

I fell asleep before seeing more than one of the women's figure skaters which is my very favorite Winter Olympic event. I hate NBC's coverage... they fill their broadcasts with random events that no one cares about and spend the whole broadcast teasing of the marquee events coming up... while complaining about losing money. I don't know much about television production but I do know that you need to know your audience and give them what they want.

Had a lot of hispanic clients this week. It's odd... my spanish is improving.

We're expecting NONaccumulating snow today. Where Ryan lives in Pennsylvania, they're expecting a lot of snow. I called Ryan yesterday to see where he was.... so I would know how high my mom-worry-meter should go. He's in Tampa, Florida for the next few days. Next issue...

Got to start the glam routine. Well... finish it... I just have to straighten my hair and put on war paint. Other than that, I'm good. Just had to share that awesome verse that the Lord led me to this morning while I was drying my hair:

Psalm 118:5, "While I was in anguish I cried out to the Lord and He answered by setting me free" (paraphrased from memory). Perfect timing. I needed to be reminded how I discovered this incredible freedom I've found. Christianity is not restrictive... it's liberating. No fear.

Gotta dash. Love and hugs.

Monday, February 22, 2010

free from creeps

It was a happy Monday that flew by for me today... I took a late lunch so I could take my sweet nieces to dance class and it was a lot of fun. I miss those days of sitting in the car riders lane at the school... getting kids into tights and leotards.... the excitement of those fresh moments right after school! I love those baby girls. Jamie wanted me to stay and take class with them.. but alas, Aunt Heather had to get back to work.

I had a weird weekend and I wasn't able to talk about what happened WHEN it happened... but it's all out of the bag now so I'm free to speak on the subject.

I have a couple of photo storage websites that I use... one that I rarely ever use is picasa. It's a great editing site, I just usually never make it to the point of storing my pictures anywhere other than facebook. But occasionally... every now and then... I do.

I was in my 12th hour of playing farmville (sadly, I'm not kidding) when I notice that I had an email notification from Picasa that someone had added me as a favorite. I clicked on the email and it was someone named Michael. I thought that it must be my friend Purple Michael in Chicago, as he takes quite a lot of pictures and doesn't mind looking at mine... so I clicked on the link to HIS picasa page and ... it was my ex-husband's page.

And not only was it HIS page... but he had used that page to store about sixty photos of Andrea (you know, the woman he cheated on me with) in various stages of undress. Mostly completely undressed.

My first thought was... this is an incredibly mean thing for him to do to me. My second thought was, "why is he even LOOKING at my pictures?" This is the man who screamed at me to move on and leave him and Andrea alone barely a month after we split up and were still legally married. Yet here he is... two months after our divorce is final, 15 months since I last saw him... and he's searching my photos online. Which almost creeps me out more than the fact that he's posting pictures of his naked girlfriend on the internet.

The other creepy thing is that he had pictures of her kids in between the pictures of her naked. I'm sorry... maybe this is a puritan way to think of things but it creeps me out to see naked mom and then see mom holding her sweet little babies and then see another naked mom photo. I mean... give the kids their own folder or something. Creep.

The ADDITIONALLY creepy and really scary thing is that he added a picture of Andrea's drivers license - including her very easy to read address - to the same folder. It was almost an invitation of - go to this address and you can have this mom and in the bargain, molest these three children. This was all in a very public internet photo site. ANYBODY could access these photos. Fortunately for her poor kids, those photos are no longer public, which is why I am not worried about talking about it.

Of course, this is the man who took photos of my naked, unconscious body and texted them to this same woman. She can't say she didn't know he was capable of this. I had enough sense, however, to never CONSCIOUSLY allow him to take nude pics of me. That's the problem with being someone's mistress... once you become his main girl, the position of mistress is open again... and you can be pretty darn sure that whatever he did against his wife (like cheat), he also will do to you.

I feel bad for her to an extent. However, I have been praying for justice for Dean. She has been trying to reduce him to only supervised visitation because she doesn't think the kids are safe with him. How safe are they with her with her sick boyfriend posting her nude pictures, name and address on the internet? WITH the kids NAMES listed on their photos! And up to this point they've never actually had to live with her boyfriend so they can get beat up, humiliated and abused like my kids did.

I know how y'all hate for me to be all bitter and stuff. I keep it light as much as I can but I also keep this blog as real as I can as well. I couldn't help but think how devastated I was a year and a half ago when I realized Michael and Andrea were on the dirty... and how easily I laughed this off. I let Dean know that this info was out there so that he could take appropriate precautions for his kids. And I checked out the rest of his pictures to see how Bobby is doing (apparently at some point he broke his arm). And I thanked God... out loud... for sparing me from the lifelong burden of being yoked with this man.

Ultimately... at best... he was stalking me on the internet... at worst... he was being malicious to me and to Andrea. Certainly she can't have agreed to him posting those pictures and getting them in my hands. I'm so glad to be free from him. I pray for Andrea every day for that moment when she finds herself in the same place I was... when the dreams that he convinced her to buy into shatter like glass between her fingers... when she wakes up and realizes that she has forever scarred her children for nothing. I pray for her kids, for their lack of security. I pray for Dean - that truth and justice will prevail and that he will be allowed to be the kind of dad he was destined to be. I pray for Michael... that whatever demons are driving him will let him loose... and that he'll be able to love and be loved without having to destroy everyone who loves him.

I'm going to go have a bowl of soup. Love and hugs, y'all!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

happy Sunday!

it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood....

I don't have firsthand knowledge of this because for me it's been pj and ponytail Sunday. Yes. I skipped church. I just couldn't get motivated to go through the semi-glam routine. I just wanted to stay put. So I did. Without guilt. I just needed a whole day off.

I did manage to clean out my closet and put away the mountain of clean clothes that had accumulated at the end of my bed. I even dusted and rearranged my Barbies and they haven't been moved since I moved in.

Yesterday I did my big cooking chores... made a huge pot of this awesome soup... and our usual turkey/veggie meatloaves. If I get extra motivated I'll type the recipe for the soup... actually.. I emailed it to my sister-out-law Candice. I'll just copy and paste:

sautee 1/2 an onion, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 a yellow pepper, 1/2 a orange pepper, 1 poblano pepper and 1 stalk of celery in olive oil
then add 2 cups of collard greens (or kale) and wilt it down a bit
once those are translucent, add 8 cups of water and 2 packages of onion soup mix
once that is heated, add 1 cup of lentils
after about ten minutes add 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, 1/2 cup of sliced green onions and 1 can of coconut milk
sautee one chicken breast - slice and add to soup

It was sooooo good! The coconut milk gives it sort of a thai flavor. I love thai food and haven't had any in sooooo long!

There is enough junk food left over from Austin's party to last us a month.. which means it will last a week. I'm doing a good job of staying out of it. I really just prefer the good stuff.

Austin was so burned out on junk food that he asked for tofu for dinner last night. So there you go.

I'm excited about my tv watching tonight.... Jeff and Jordan on the Amazing Race... the olympics (what little bit I'm watching of it)... and I've had fun playing online today too.

The Lord reminded me this weekend just how far I've come. It feels good to feel strong. it feels good to know that I was destined for much greater things than I had thought. Life is good!

Happy Sunday y'all!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

randomness

Evander Holyfield and his wife are turning to Dr. Phil to help save their marriage. I'm obviously no expert on marriage but it seems like the Jump The Shark phase of marriage when you go on Dr. Phil.

We're forecasted to have beautiful weather today. I'm excited. Inspired almost. I may even clean out my closet. Which ... of course... isn't exactly an outdoor activity.

Stasha - we probably won't be going into town today... Austin's guests aren't staying all day so we won't be playing putt-putt, etc. I imagine Austin will sleep all day. And when he wakes up... he's got a mess to clean up.

I would love to see Coppelia (it's a ballet) while it's in Atlanta. Of course... it costs a lot and is on a weeknight. But I love the story. I love ballet. So glad my little red-headed angels are getting their dance on! Can't wait until Monday!

I finally got my gravy biscuit from Glenda's for breakfast! Woohoo! It was every bit as good as I thought it would be and I'm totally satisfied. I pigged out with "junk" food last night so instead of my usual free-eating day today... I ended the feast with the biscuit. I'm back on track for the rest of the weekend.

I bought sausage biscuits for the three little pigs who stayed up eating and playing Wii all night. They're on the counter. For whenever they wake up. Lunchtime or whenever.

Aren't the Russians SORE LOSERS about the whole skating thing? When you watch the top two finishers in that men's competition that Russian guy looks stiff and sloppy. I think his remarks should cost him his medal... that's not at all what Olympic competition is about. Cry baby.

I adore Apolo Ono.

I'm sneezing this morning... a little stuffy.

I didn't sleep much last night... only about five hours. But I'm wide awake. There's always time for a nap later if I need one.

The Today show has a segment about Vancouver beers... the guy doing it is looking like he's got a buzz. Isn't it like... 5:30 in the morning there? Goodness.

I'm a huge believer in supporting local businesses, much more so since we've moved here to the mountains and have had the opportunity to plug into our community. There are only two degrees of seperation around here... if I don't know the owner of the store, my brother knows them or their sister delivered my niece (true story) or their daughter went to high school with me (another true story) or my niece is in their daughter's class at school (another true story). Around here business is personal. So... I try to, as much as I can afford to, use local businesses for the things we need. Austin has been asking me to stop at the little coffee market at the edge of Helen for a few weeks... and Wednesday night we had a few minutes before supper at church so we stopped in... go to www.jumpingoat.com . We had a nice chat with the owner and bought a few sample bags of coffee. I'm not a HUGE coffee drinker, especially since we don't live near Starbucks any more but this coffee is awesome. Austin said, "Mom... I'd rather have this than Starbucks!". High praise indeed! The only problem I've had is that my keurig single cup coffee maker does better with espresso grind. WELL... today I went to the website and found out that they can do espresso grind for you! So if you want a taste of the beautiful life we have here... order a pound from Jumping Goat! (this is not a paid advertisement!)

We had a busy week... had to run errands during the week as we were out of EVERYTHING but the cool flip side is that I don't have to run any errands today! My kid is fat and happy and sleeping. I can do as much or as little as I want today! Including nap... and although it's just nine am... I think a nap is coming up on the agenda pretty quickly...

have a great day!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Weekend countdown recap....

8 and a half hours to go: wearing purple today with my cute new purple scarf that Shirley made for me. I love it! Wish my mom and dad (hint, hint) would make me a REALLY long scarf out of really lightweight yarn… maybe a light pink…I love scarfs but I want them long enough to wrap around good. we’re down one person today but it’s slow… already quoted some life insurance today… hungry for a big sale! Breakfast was a smoothie with blueberries & pomegranates, greek yogurt, skim milk, flax seed. It was awesome! Still in that interminable four pound window on the scale. Determined to get moving!

7 and a half hours to go: sold a renters insurance policy! Cha-ching! I’m freezing. Our office is always cold. My bursitis in my left elbow is acting up. Need to eat more anti-inflammatory type foods. Just did a few changes on my dad’s insurance policies. Since Uncle Bruce has retired, I’ve been working to get the family’s business at my agency. Cha-ching!

6 and a half hours to go: just made up the staff meeting I missed due to the weather threat on Monday. Working on some new business… 3 cars… one hour until lunch and I’m hungry. Had part of a pear for snack. I’m coughing today and I’m not happy about it. It’s not bad… just a little tickle in my throat. It’s not in my chest at all.

4 hours left. Lunch was yellow carrots, navy beans, spinach and ½ a grilled chicken breast. I have the munchies so I’m eating some stale crackers. Yummy! Had a good prospect for life – only trouble was – he didn’t speak English. After he left I kept thinking about him… so I found a Spanish brochure about life insurance and mailed it to him. We’re supposed to keep our printing to a minimum but I printed two more copies to give to the next two Spanish speaking customers I see. Really, really, REALLY determined to meet my life insurance goals for the year. So far I’m at a big ole ONE policy for the year.

3 and a half hours – prospecting for life insurance with young people. Theirs is super cheap – if you can convince them that they aren’t immortal. BTW… my sons need to get life insurance. Just came across the name of a young man in our agency who died last spring. So sad.

3 hours – Theresa bought a bonsai tree at Walmart for $9. Austin has been begging for one for MONTHS. We’re going to pick up snacks for his spend the night party after work. I think we’ll check out bonsai trees.

2 and a half hours – time is flying by and dragging all at the same time. Time to do some telemarketing. And an orange. Not at the same time. Well, sorta.

2 hours to go – just sold a life policy – will be a huge bonus for me if it issues without any problems! Praying it succeeds! It’s finally warmed up around here. I’m still sporting my gorgeous lavender scarf that Shirley made for me. Don’t be surprised if I wear it to church Sunday! The weather is predicted to be nice and mild this weekend. I’ll have to get those boys out to enjoy the fresh air for a bit. There’s a game of putt putt in my future. Or in Austin’s. Ugh. Just got a call about a claim. Roof damage due to hail. I hate those. Waiting for estimate to come over.

Recipe I’m going to try this weekend:
Kale, sweet potato, coconut soup…
YIELDS: 4 servings
INGREDIENTS:
1.5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil3 large garlic cloves, minced1 small onion, diced6 cups raw kale (pictured, right)1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth1 can low-sodium chickpeas2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk2 teaspoons curry powder1 teaspoon ground ginger1/2 teaspoon paprika
INSTRUCTIONS:
1. Saut̩ garlic and onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium-high flame, until lightly browned.2. Add kale and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes.3. Add broth and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.4. Add garbanzo beans and coconut milk. Stir for 2 Р3 minutes.5. Add spices, stir for 30 seconds, and serve.
OPTIONAL: Top with chopped scallions
NUTRITION FACTS (per serving)
354 calories7.2 grams saturated fat (see NOTE)300 milligrams sodium10 grams fiber6 grams protein
Excellent Source of: Manganese, monounsaturated fat, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K
Good Source of: Calcium, copper, iron


One hour and fifteen minutes to go: Weekend! Here I come!
We had a hugely successful day at the office. The power of prayer!

First hour of my weekend: driving home... driving to Walmart to pick up junk food for Austin's sleepover. Poor kid... Devyn has a church thing tonight so they're coming around nine AND Devyn has to babysit tomorrow so he'll have to leave early. Austin is taking it in stride.

2nd hour of my weekend: I would feel sick over the amount of junk food we just bought but your kid only turns 16 once in a lifetime. It ought to be special. We got three different kinds of little debbies, a cookie cake, a 1/4 of a cheesecake, pringles, cheezits, chips and dip, beef jerky, fudgesicles, hamburgers and fries, two kinds of soda, arizona tea... tons of stuff.

I came home and fixed salmon and collard greens.
But then I ate some jelly bellies and a few multigrain pringles.
I'm so sleepy and Austin's company isn't even here yet.
Austin plans to stay up all night and sleep all day tomorrow so maybe I'll have a quiet weekend.
Hope y'all have a great one! Love and hugs~!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

thankful thursday

It’s been three days since I last posted so I thought I better make an entry. I know how y’all worry. I used part of my lunch to take photos for the office so I can spare a few self-indulgent moments to quickly catch you up.

I’m good. Life is good. The sun is shining. The bluebirds are hanging out at the little birdhouse outside my office window. I had lunch with Stasha today. I had dinner with Jim and Angie and the girls last night. I had a great time at bible study last night. Yep. Life is good.

I finally crossed over that ten foot high concrete barrier of four pound weight loss this week… making it all the way to 4.5 pounds. The next day… I was up 3 pounds. So there you go… once the weather warms up I’ll be out and about in the great outdoors and I’m SURE that once I get all the pieces put together, it will just melt off. And… once again… not to be a broken record… but if the only benefit I get out of eating better is feeling better, it’s still worth it. It’s just that those size ten jeans are calling my name…

Next week Sarabeth is starting dance class. Jamie started a few weeks ago and Sarabeth was going to just play soccer. Then they had family participation day at dance and Sarabeth LOVED it. She’s tall and lanky… perfect for a dancer. Jamie is so musical and free spirited… she’s also perfect. I love ballet and I’m so glad they’re taking dance! It just so happens that SB’s first class falls on a day when her mom is out of town… and her dad has a class (he teaches at the college)… so Aunt Heather gets to pick up her little ballerinas and get them ready for dance class… then do the hand off to Jim. I’ll just take a late lunch that day so that I don’t miss any work. I’m really excited… planning hairdo’s already!

I was so proud of Sarabeth last night. She’s really shy. It’s hard to be the daughter of two outgoing people in very public jobs and in very public positions at church when you’re shy. People have watched the girls grow up and love them dearly and always want to talk to them. Jamie will talk to anyone – provided she’s not flitting off after a butterfly. Sarabeth is much more reserved. Well… when we have dinner at church they set a bucket beside the trash can for people to drop their leftover drinks into so that the trashcans don’t get soggy and leak liquid. Sarabeth went to take her trash after dinner last night and noticed there wasn’t a bucket. (with only a little bit of prompting) She went into the kitchen and found one of the ladies who was working and let her know they needed a bucket. That was brave for any 7 year old, but especially for a shy one. Me, Jim and Angie just watched in amazement. It was like her Helen Keller “water” moment… transformational.

Austin is gearing up for his birthday party weekend. His birthday is March 1st – a Monday. Next weekend he has a retreat with the youth group so THIS weekend we’re having Cousin Devy and another of their friends over for the whole weekend. They’re planning to play xbox and wii and eat junk food and stay up all night and … whatever. I’ll just cozy up in my nest and only come out if I smell smoke. We don’t have a tenant in the other side of our duplex so we won’t disturb anyone. I don’t think. We’ll play putt putt in town on Saturday, weather permitting and I’ll probably take them out for pizza or Mexican or something. He’s turning 16 and he’s not getting a car – or a drivers license – so I figure I can put up with a weekend of gaming. Right?

Letsee… what else? I have a headache today. It feels like sinus pressure. I stepped on a tiny sliver of glass and it got lodged into my foot and hurts. Not horribly but it’s there. I am resisting the urge to google, “deaths caused by slivers of glass” and “thorn in lion’s paw”.

Been a crazy afternoon… my few minutes are passed. Just didn’t want anyone to worry. I’m fine. God is good.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents Day

I was late to work today. The forecast was calling for 3-5 inches of snow… then 2-4 inches… then 1-3 inches and turning colder and freezing up. The timing was such that the worst was to come in the morning hours… so I wanted to make sure that I knew I could safely get to work and home so I waited to leave for work until I had the all clear. All clear is an understatement – we barely had rain, much less a snowflake. So I missed an hour of work…

I had trouble sleeping last night. I guess it was all the anxiety over the weather. I don’t know… I saw 2am before I fell asleep… and was awake from about 5am on. That is NOT enough sleep for me. Consequently… I’m a little nauseated today. Being super tired makes me nauseous. And makes it difficult to focus. I did better this morning, still on the whole weather watch adrenaline rush. Now that it’s warm and sunny and I’ve been staring at a computer screen for six hours… I’m struggling. I’m trying to make calls and do quotes and stuff but I’m missing a little of my usual perkiness.

I do know that we’ll be instituting EBT* at our house tonight. Dinner is the VERY absolute complete last of the groceries… it’s frozen totinos pizza. Payday is tomorrow and God has been faithful. You simply would not believe how God has blessed us since the last payday. I worry and fret and stress and moan and groan and budget and stretch a dollar out of fifty cents… but then I sit back in absolute awe and amazement of how perfectly God works things out for us. Remember when I was really sick last summer and missed a lot of work and some of you very kind people sent me quarters? I used those quarters today for a fresco taco at Taco Bell! Yesterday morning I found $3 tucked in the pocket of a pair of jeans and we used that to buy our stuff to eat yesterday.

I don’t want to poor mouth too much… I’m a little embarrassed at just HOW broke we are but I also feel like I am blessed beyond measure in the way that He meets every.single.need.every.single.time. In a way, I think I owe it to God to be transparent about how He keeps us going beyond the end of the groceries or the bottom of a gas tank… how the lights and the water stay on and the car stays in my driveway and how I have the strength to get up and go to work every day and not just survive but THRIVE. I know that we are not alone in our struggles… and I know that even for those whose monetary resources may not be stretched as thin… may be facing other challenges to resources of time and energy or health or sanity or strength or … fill in the blanks. I no longer have a rock bottom… there’s always a cushion in the form of a God who loves me and provides everything I need.

Gotta regain my focus here and sell some stuff. I think I went over that ten minutes I saved from lunch… Y’all have a happy, safe, warm, beautiful, gracious, appreciative, wonderful Presidents Day!

*early bedtime

thought for the day

Just saw this at the end of an email and thought it was a good perspective to have:

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday...

Today has been a nice, restful, peaceful day. Church was nice-although Stasha and I are not loving the music lately... we agreed today that Angie needs to pick the music out but I wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. We've just been singing a lot of 1st Baptist kind of music. And although we're technically a first baptist church, we don't really worship like one. Usually. Except lately. But it's still good. We're doing an in depth study of the book of John and I'm excited about it. We're learning stuff... got lots of hugs from all my girls... got to sit with Stasha and with Abbie (our pastors daughter). Got to pick up my sweet nieces from their classes. They have a new thing where you have to sign the kid out... I signed "Aunt Heather" instead of my name and Sarabeth thought it was funny. That's my name, right?

After church me and Austin ran by the Ingles to see if we could squeeze out a few supplies out of the end of the paycheck minus child support which - once again - has not been forthcoming (don't worry, his day is coming!). We decided to make spaghetti - so I bought the canned spaghetti sauce (it's cheaper) to go with the ten packs of spaghetti noodles I had accumulated in the pantry. We also bought popcorn, frozen pizza (for a pig-out dinner tonight) a tiny container of milk and a two liter coke for him. Today is the first day in 2010 that I haven't gotten my fruits and veggies in... what can I say? End of the groceries...

While we were in Ingles Austin ran into a little metal guard around the corner of the frozen food section. He cut a big chunk out of his shin... it looks so painful. We probably should have filed an incident report but he was embarassed and in a lot of pain. Fortunately we were making a very quick run and were in and out in less than ten minutes.

They are forecasting 2-4 inches of snow for us for tomorrow. I have a huge dilemma in that the snow is starting around 7am... and then the temps are supposed to hover around freezing all day. Likely I would make it out in the morning but might not make it back home after work. I have this HUGE fear of causing damage to my car. I just really can't afford a repair bill on it - not in the form of a deductible and definitely not in the form of a total loss as there is no way I could get enough for it to pay it off and then replace it. I'm trying to be a good steward of my resources, which includes making sure I work as much as I can... but I also have to know that I can get back home - back to my kid - at the end of the day. Right now I'm planning to wait it out until mid morning before leaving for work... the snow is supposed to be a fast moving storm, in and out by 11am or so. It's got me slightly anxious... but I won't know until tomorrow anyways... so I won't worry about it until then.

I'm watching the "The Sky Is Falling" forecast now. Atlanta meteorologists are such drama queens! The storm warning is in effect through 1pm. I'll just pray for the wisdom to make the right decision. This is what I did on Friday and HONESTLY... on Friday I really believed that I would make it through the whole workday but I kept a cautious eye on things. I left work at 3:15 and by 5pm - an hour before I usually get home from work - our road was shut down and our driveway was so slick that we couldn't even walk down it. That was with one inch of snow.

I have this theory about southern snow. I think part of the reason that it's such a nightmare for southerners - besides the obvious points of not having the proper tires or snow plows and things like that - is because it's not that cold here. We start off with this wet snow and it freezes up becoming a sheet of ice. Nobody can drive on ice. As of 1pm today one of the roads out of my subdivision was STILL closed - it's a very steep road and completely shaded. The weather was mild today - in the 40's - but it stayed frozen.

Tonight is a big tv night for me... Jeff and Jordan on the Amazing Race... figure skating... I plan to veg right here in my cozy nest and enjoy it all.

Y'all have a good one!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

finally! got my snow!

I finally got my snow! We had a beautiful white blanket of snow that fell yesterday afternoon and evening. Nothing compared to the Snowpocoloypse depths... but enough to sufficiently cover everything. It's thawing... and then we're expecting another round over Sunday night. Once that thaws, I'm ready for spring. It's been fun... but I'm bored with it.

Because we had been told that our area would only get a "dusting"... I hadn't really prepared to be snowed in for the weekend. However... it is the last weekend before payday so we would have been living off the bounty of the pantry anyways... we'll survive. I've got an acorn squash baking, purple cabbage roasting and black beans in the crockpot. We've got frozen chicken breasts and turkey veggie meatloaf and - if worse came to worse - stuff to make pancakes. We could live another 3-4 days off the stuff we have in the pantry. I'm out of coffee creamer... but we have hot chocolate so I can always make a cappucino if it comes down to it.

I love nesting... I love not having to go anywhere. I love living off the bounty of the pantry and I thank God for how He has provided for us!

I haven't weighed today because I am still in my pjs. I'm glad that we're not snowed in with a bunch of junk food, though! Not one single sweet in the house. No risk of me derailing from my diet because there's nothing to indulge with. I've had to postpone my indulgence day... maybe I'll have some hot chocolate?

Anyways... not much else to share... just enjoying our snow!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

thankful thursday

I have, like, two minutes before my lunch is over. I just wanted to share some quick things.

My sweet friend Amy who worked for my uncle for ten years has been fired by the guy who replaced my uncle. Lots of politics involved... much like the politics I dealt with while choosing an agency in Jacksonville. Amy is awesome at what she does, she's a single mom and she is very afraid for her future. Please, if you pray, lift her up in your prayers. I can't imagine what she's going through. Well, I kinda sorta can because I've kinda sorta been there. My heart is breaking for her.

I'm doing the Beth Moore "So Long Insecurity" online bible study. I don't have time to do a link for you... google "Living proof ministries" and you should find it. Today we got our first questions and they were right in line with what Amy is dealing with.

One thing that really resonated with me is the concept of being able to take the promises God has made for us and actually apply those to my life... to believe that what He has said he will do, he will do, even for ME. Despite the wicked, horrid, sinful, broken woman I am. Despite my ill-advised decisions and bad relationships HE still wants to make me into the woman He wants me to be.

I think it's hard for us to accept God's unconditional love because it goes beyond the scope of our finite human capacity to love. We're insecure because we try to apply God's love through the filter of how we love others...

That time flew by... as usual, a few interruptions... just wanted to share while that was fresh and ask that my sweet mother hens send some of the love to Amy while she's in need of it.

*hugs*

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

snow envy.

I think God is sending me a message... that very clearly states, "my child... the snow is NOT FOR YOU!"...

How many times this winter have we have predicted accumulating snow and gotten nothing. zada. zip? I missed one big Atlanta snow while I was in Jacksonville... last year's big snow hit everyone EXCEPT my county in Georgia. We've had a dozen false alarms this year and now... NOW... with most of the country buried under three feet of snow... they're predicting snow for SOUTH Georgia for Friday.

Snow is not for me.

I know those of you who are up to your necks in snow think I'm crazy. I don't want what y'all have. I just want SOME!

I have finally figured out a link to all my symptoms today. I think it's an ear issue... I'm dizzy and sick to my stomach but not really expelling anything like you would in a virus. My ears hurt something fierce. I think it's an ear thing causing me to be dizzy. I've slept a lot over the past 48 hours. Sleeping helps.

Today I've eaten roasted brussel sprouts, turnips and peppers for breakfast. I had an almond butter sandwich on whole grain bread for lunch. I had blackened tuna with stir fried collard greens and brown rice for dinner. I've had some almonds for a snack.

Guess what I figured out? If I eat more veggies than fruit, I lose weight. So there you go!

But... having said that... I'm about to eat a nice juicy asian pear. And then... maybe go on to bed. I intend to go to work tomorrow...

I had a stressful morning but ... once again... God provides. It seems lately like I'm playing the Whack a Mole game and I'm the mole... but it always ends up ok. Life is much, much better than it was two years ago. It's better than it was a year ago. It keeps getting better... so I'm gonna just keep getting up in the morning and do the best I can.

Hope you have a great evening, stay warm and dry and SHARE some snow, already!

the unexpected...

"Mom... make sure you put flax in the meatloaf... I love the way it tastes!"

"Mom... starfruit is on sale! Can I get extra?"

"Mom... can I have money to buy Devyn a biscuit this morning, too?"

*sigh* Sometimes you realize that they are watching you... even when they're during that teenage rebellious stage. Of course... judging by the mess in his room... there are some behaviors of mine that I wish he wouldn't model.

I'm home sick. I am resisting the urge to self-diagnose or to allow myself to label this in any way. I don't feel good. That's the short version. I will feel better soon. That's the goal. I won't allow this to turn into any big derailment or discouragement or disability. I will be well. Period. No room for discussion.

I will admit to eating frozen pizza for dinner last night. I felt icky so Austin cooked. He cooked pizza. So there you go. It was good. I enjoyed every bite.

Breakfast this morning is out of the question at this point. I've got some good stuff. Our fridge is so packed with produce that I'm using the butter compartment to store sweet potatoes. Which... I guess don't really have to be refrigerated but that's what I do. We have turnips, brussel sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, asian pears, starfruit, kiwi, broccoli, onions... and so on and so on. I'm proud of our healthy options.

The wind is blowing soooo hard outside! I've never heard it blow this hard. The ground is saturated so I fully expect there to be trees down before the day is over. We're expecting these strong winds for the next 24 hours or so. I know that's nothing compared to a blizzard... but the wind is really crazy.

My head is killing me... gonna end this entry... hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

in search of...

I'm in search of spring.
There's a cold, cold rain outside the window and I feel the dampness in my bones.
I'm in search of snow.
Ok... maybe not three feet... but I'd take a nice 3 inch blanket of white.
I'm in search of health.
Got a little cold/sinus/flu-ey thing happening. I worked half a day and then came home.
I'm in search of that 5th pound.
Losing weight shouldn't be so hard. Eight inches gone... but only four pounds.
I'm in search of a clean kitchen.
But I refuse to do Austin's chores for him.
I'm in search of a nap.
But I'm afraid that it will make it hard to sleep tonight.
I'm in search of a good turnip recipe.
One of my clients bought me a bag of organic turnips from his farm. They look gorgeous. I'm thinking I'll roast them... seems to work with most veggies.
I'm in search of a trip to the ATM.
Austin had to clean the change out of my ashtray for lunch money. We have money - just no cash. I just don't feel like getting out in the rain.
I'm in search of a good online bible study.
Beth Moore is having an online discussion group for her new book, "So Long Insecurity". I joined.
I'm in search of....
I think it's time for that nap.

Monday, February 8, 2010

monday drive by...

Hey! Monday is almost over!
I came back early from lunch today so that I could write a quick blog entry… and it was busy from the minute I walked in the door. So I’m taking those last ten minutes that was supposed to be on my lunch now… so I can share my exciting news with you.
Except… well. There’s nothing really exciting or new to share.
Just a normal, every week kind of Monday.
I did have a visit from two sweet little red haired girls this afternoon… so the taller redheaded girl could eat some grapes… and the smaller redheaded girl could get her hair braided for dance class and change into her little dance outfit. They didn’t buy anything… but they did give me lots of smooches!
What else is new? Hmmm…
Still no snow for us. Lots of rumors of snow that never materialize. I guess I shouldn’t complain… those folks a few hundred miles to the north will still be digging out when we’re in shorts in a few weeks. There’s a threat of “wintry mix” at the higher elevations over the next two days but no real heavy white blanket threatening to envelope our little part of the world.
My garmin says we live at 1535 feet above sea level. I wondered how that compares to where other people live? I would ask for audience participation but y’all are no good at commenting. (hint, hint)
If it weren’t for the viagara sales spams I’d never get comments. Not that I’m complaining… I’m glad y’all at least read.
Here’s the skinny on what I’m eating today:
Breakfast: plain baked sweet potato – no butter – nothing!
Snack: blueberry greek yogurt
Lunch: chicken & tomatoes cooked in coconut milk – over brown rice with celery and laughing cow cheese
Snack: grapes (the ones that Sarabeth finished for me. I love being a positive nutritional role model for a change!)
Dinner will be….? I don’t know. I saw a recipe for jicama fries so I thought I’d give that a try. Basically you just cut jicama into a French fry shape and bake it. I have also been craving cabbage. Austin is wanting some turkey meatloaf so I guess I’ll make one of those.
Just a little over an hour in my day! Woohoo!
My ear is bothering me some but it’s just a distraction – not a disability. Ibuprofen helps.
Ok… my time is up. Happy Monday, love and hugs!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

more super bowl sunday

Seriously... the Tebow ad was two seconds and all it did was point people to the Focus on the Family website. How could ANYONE be offended by that? That's just letting people know that the story is available for viewing.

This is a perfect example of how Christians are persecuted in today's society. It's offensive for a Christian to so much as direct people to how to receive their message. No guilt. No judgment. No pictures of unborn babies in the womb. Just - "here's our story if you'd like to see it". And THAT caused a huge uproar.

Beer commercial after beer commercial... kid slapping an adult... woman sending photos of herself in the bathtub... and so on and so forth but a sweet Christian family giving information of where people can find more information is offensive.

It makes me sick to realize that free speech no longer exists for Christians.

super bowl sunday

I'm really trying hard to care about the Super Bowl.
For me it's a matter of picking between Kim Kardashian and Kendra Wilkinson and NO true E! fan can do that!
No, seriously. I just don't care.
If not for Tim Tebow's ad, I would probably be watching a chick flick.
My son, Ryan, called to try to persuade me to pull for New Orleans.
Yeah. I mean... I know New Orleans has suffered and so on and so forth.
But they're the team that always beats up on the Falcons and I find it hard to root for them.
I do think Drew Brees has a cool come-back story.
But seriously. I don't care.
Incidentally, it's a little unsettling that my son's blog page has an adult content advisory.
Not that I mind him expressing himself. It's healthy.
Wanna know how I spent my Sunday?
Austin and I went out for breakfast... always good to have that time to reconnect.
He was scheduled to help with the audio/visual stuff with children's church this morning so we headed on to church.
There is snow/ice at the tops of the mountains... really beautiful. We admired that on our way to church.
After church we came home and he napped... I played online... I cooked a little... cleaned a little. Not much.
I have earaches in both ears but they're not horrible. I've just been taking a little ibuprofen and using the antibiotic ear drops I have from earlier issues. I will not be sick.
This morning I had a gravy biscuit for breakfast... it wasn't healthy but it was a healthier alternative to my usual "breakfast out" meal of eggs, bacon, hash browns, etc.
For lunch I had a baked sweet potato and two stalks of celery with laughing cow cheese.
For dinner I cooked chicken breasts in the crockpot with a can of coconut milk and a can of diced tomatoes. The chicken was UH-mazing! Such a simple meal! I served it over brown rice.
I'm sure I'll want something else to eat... I'm thinking some roasted cabbage.
I haven't *blown it* this weekend by any stretch but I feel sort of out of my usual pattern.
I'm craving all kinds of food... especially pizza... whenever I have cravings I know that I've had too much sugar - probably from the biscuit this morning.
All things considered... I think I did ok this weekend with the eating. I had a chickfila - which was off track. I had two breadsticks at Olive Garden. I had the zuppa toscana soup - sort of a potato and sausage soup. I had fried ravioli and fried calamari but I didn't eat it all...
My Saturday breakfast was yogurt and a banana from the continental breakfast at the hotel.
I had a cinnamon roll and a chocolate chip cookie during break at the conference....
but once I got back home it was back to reasonable eating.
I took Austin through McDonalds last night and I didn't get anything. I did eat about five of his fries... but still... I think even at my worst I'm makng way better choices.
Haven't weighed all weekend.
Austin made fun of me this morning... I have little heart vinyl clings decorating my bathroom mirror, one for every pound I've lost. The restaurant where we had breakfast had decorated their windows with dozens of valentines vinyl clings. Austin said, "mom... they've lost WAY more weight than you have!". Ha.
The first part of the Tebow ad was cute. He's such a cutie patootie!
I didn't realize it was going to be a series of ads. Guess I'll be watching for awhile.
Anyways... that's my exciting Sunday. It's been a long weekend. Got a lot done... still a lot more that could have been done but... there's always next weekend, right?
Hope you guys enjoy the Super Bowl or whatever else you're doing!
love and hugs!

PS... I just caught myself cheering for the Saints.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Disaster Relief

Soooo much to blog about and Im soooo tired so this might not be my greatest literary work...

I left work early yesterday to go to the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief certification.

In case you were wondering... the people in Haiti who were charged with smuggling kids out of the country were Baptists... but they were not operating under the guidance of the SBC and they were not one of our relief teams. More on that in a minute.

The conference was in Dacula which is about an hour from me. I rode down with two other ladies from my church... Cherie and Marilyn. Marilyn's daughter in law is my sweet friend Alisa who teaches our Wednesday night bible study.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn near the Mall of Georgia. Hotels will always remind me of Michael since I traveled more with him and stayed in more hotels with him than I did in all my hotel stays the whole rest of my life put together! Ironically... my friend Angie who roomed with me has the same bittersweet memories of HER second husband and hotels as he was a hotel manager. Also ironically... they lived at the Hampton Inn in Orange Park, Florida, just a stone's throw from Michael's mother's house... small world.

Friday night was the program introduction... three hours worth... but it was good, the state director is energetic and engaging and was an excellent speaker. The time flew by.

Today was orientation with our designated area of work. I chose child care... which was odd to me when I picked it because although I am *the best aunt ever*... the truth is... I'm not a kid person. Well... not like someone who might have chosen a career in that sort of thing. I couldn't do it day after day.

The odd thing was... in that way that God works things out ahead of us... it turns out that I picked the area that has the "deployments" closest to home (less travel cost, less time away) and the most likely to be deployed for a very short time - sometimes just one day assignments - and the area that is least likely to be first responders - in other words, lots of advance notice.

I can't go for long periods of time (now). I can't afford to travel long distances. I can't just drop everything and go in a moment's notice. So... child care is a great area for me to be involved with for now. In the future I can be cross trained and involved in other areas - as my availability changes. But, for the meantime... I can use skills I already have, near where I am, with the amount of free time I have. I'm very excited about that.

Duane asked me if this was something I intend to pursue full time. I don't believe I'm called to full time ministry. I just don't. I know that God presents divine appointments through my job and I believe that I'm supposed to do what I do. However, I know that I can be a much better steward of the free time I have - in a way that helps others and also helps me by getting me out and about. I know that I need to be more deeply invested in my community.

It is empowering to know that I am now, finally, strong enough to be able to give a hand to someone else instead of being the desperate, needy person. As the unit leaders for my group gave examples of situations they had been in... post Hurricane Katrina... taking care of refugee children at the Atlanta Airport... watching children as parents identified remains at the Walker County Crematorium debaucle... providing childcare for pastor's conventions... there were things that brought tears to my eyes. Fortunately... I'm the kind of person who can be strong when I have to be, can hold it together in a crisis and then have my meltdown privately, when appropriate.

It was interesting also, that they kept mentioning how reluctant people are to handle the registration station at the child care centers they set up. The paperwork is very detailed because you're taking in children you don't know and have to give them back to parents you don't know, frequently people who have lost their documentation such as IDs or birth certificates. It involves taking digital photos, printing them off and attaching to the child's file to identify who is allowed to pick the child up. I spoke with a team leader afterwards because I didn't understand why that was a problem. Apparently, this type of detailed administrative work is overwhelming to people who aren't used to it. I'm used to it. I fill out applications every day... we take photos and process them to be used with applications every day... so if I'm deployed, it will most likely be as a registrar. I'm WAAAAY cool with that. I'm used to dealing with people who are experiencing crisis situations.

I have no idea when I might be called... I have my official tshirt and ball cap and will get my credentials in the mail in the next few weeks... they do a phone tree announcement of deployment opportunities and you just check in and let them know if you can go. There were 880 new volunteers today, no doubt partly due to Haiti. It's a strong force of people and most of them are full time employed. Most people give a few days a year and it's not a big deal if you can't go... they don't stop calling you because you weren't able to go. They will also list what your availability is... for me it would be short time, close by, advance notice events. Anyways... I'm excited about it. I love being needed.

About Haiti... the Southern Baptist Convention has been sending medical teams in but not really anyone else at this point. The criteria for sending in volunteers includes being able to provide everything our teams are going to need so that they don't add to the burden of the disaster. In Haiti, it's not stable enough yet to send in those clean up or rebuild teams. The child care unit would go in to provide care while parents are cleaning up or working on rebuilding their homes or perhaps while the parents were waiting in line to obtain aid. None of that stuff is really happening yet so a child care team hasn't been deployed.

For me, I am not certified (yet) for international relief so I wouldn't be deployed to Haiti. One day, maybe. It would be a good way to see the world, wouldn't it? However, if they bring groups of people into the state of Georgia to relocate, it's likely that a child care team would be involved. There are endless possibilities...

This weekend was fun for me. I had dinner at chick fila before last night's meeting... (just a chickfila sandwich but it was SOOOO good!) but Angie had not had dinner so I went out with her so she didn't have to go alone. She is a single mom of four kids under 10 so she doesn't have a lot of grown up time. She had never been to Olive Garden so that's where we went. I had soup and an appetizer so I didn't do too bad. It was good to have time to get to know Angie better. Our stories are SOOOO similar - two husbands, first an alcoholic and then an adulterer. Time spent in Jacksonville away from our families that resulted in the destruction of our marriages. Struggling to make ends meet as a single mom. Being blessed to be a part of a church that takes care of it's own. Wanting to give back...

So there you go... we sat up LATE into the night talking... and I didn't sleep well... I was up at 5am. Once I got home this afternoon.... and picked up my Auggie-doggie from his cousin's house... I crashed and burned. I slept for two hours... and woke up with a horrible earache. I had a little soup and now I'm curled up in the nest.

It's raw and cold outside. We had snow flurries this afternoon but not accumulating snow. I'm exhausted and know I'll be back in bed soon. My new Beth Moore book came today - "So Long Insecurity"... can't wait to get started on it but don't want to read it while I'm so tired. Hope you're all having a great weekend and staying warm and dry...

love and hugs!

Friday, February 5, 2010

happy Friday!

Lots to do but my mind has moved on to the weekend already! Ha!
Yesterday was another one of those “faith can move mountains” days. God has been very good to me. The reality for me is that I don’t make enough to pay my bills but God keeps sending people to me who stand in the gap for me. I’m so close! The tide is turning. I’m healthier than I have been in four years. I feel great. Mentally I feel strong. I’m more engaged in my community than I’ve been in years. I’m not just surviving any more. I’m thriving… loving life… planning for the future… I’ve caught a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m eager to keep moving toward that light! This payday coming up will be my biggest bonus payday yet.

I have 7 more payments to make on my car. That’s been the biggest stress on me. I made enough to pay for it when I bought it… but thanks to the Darby relocation program, my income is different. The Sauls Child Support Avoidance Movement also impaired my ability to pay… and so it’s been a huge struggle. God is faithful. I’ve been behind on those payments ever since I moved here. I’ll get caught up – thanks to the kindness of the people in my life who are determined to help me succeed – and then it falls behind again. I’ve been behind lately and I was worried. But… Instead of waking up to my car being taken in the night… I got a call from the friendly neighborhood repo man. Literally… he was friendly and he was local. He made an appointment to come get the car so that I could be prepared. I made a few phone calls… and thanks to daddy and the church… I’m up to date again. Seven more payments and that car will be mine and it WILL keep running for the next several years so that I can get in better shape financially.

So… instead of waking up this morning with no way to get to work… I woke up rejoicing at how beautifully and abundantly God provides. He is faithful. No man has ever been faithful to me but God has never been unfaithful. I don’t know how people who don’t know the Lord survive times of trial. If you have to trust in your own wealth… or in your own health… both of which can be snatched away in the blink of an eye… how do you sleep at night? I don’t have a lot of money. At times I don’t have any. But I always have a confidence that God has never let me fall.

Dinner last night was 4 o z of grilled steak with onions and mushrooms…. Roasted asparagus…
I had a bunch of runts last night. They’re gone now. We won’t be buying any more.
Breakfast was baked salmon with roasted purple and green cabbage and a roasted sweet yellow pepper.
I’m working thru lunch but have greek yogurt and fruit if I should get hungry.
Leaving from work to go to the Disaster Relief Certification. I’m so excited!
I just see this whole big world of possibility unfolding in front of me and I’m thrilled to see what every new day brings!
Happy Friday! God bless!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

another tease

Once again... it's SNOWING! It's warm out - it's in the mid 30's so it's too warm to stick - but it's pretty watching it fall.

Had lunch with Sarabeth and Stasha. I caved and ate the kids meal. Fried chicken tenders and fries. Nothing the least bit nutritious. Sarabeth dipped her cookies in the zaxby's sauce - sort of a thousand island dressing. Yep. She's my niece.

We took a few pictures... had a few laughs... totally made my girl feel like a princess.

What a blessing to be here!

Back to work/watching the snow fall.

so very thankful thursday

Thankful Thursday is here and I’m thankful that Thursday is here! I’m so excited about this weekend! I’m excited about being involved in a helps based ministry. I’m excited about being able to use my gifts and talents to help others. I’m excited about being in a place geographically and demographically and emotionally and physically where I can be involved in my community – even my global community. It’s all very, very good. I am incredibly blessed. Truly, what satan means for our harm, God uses for our good. I could have remained crippled in a relationship that was destroying me, my family, my emotional stability, my confidence… but by the grace of God, I was set free. What was done “TO” me… ended up being done “FOR” me. To finally feel strong enough to know that I can reach out and help others mend their broken lives… it’s a huge milestone for me. God is good.

Last night our bible study leader was sick so she called and asked me to lead the class. I was woefully unprepared to tackle the lesson in depth, although I had quickly perused it and knew the gist of the study. There were only three of us so we joined in with the youth worship service… then when they dismissed to small group, we had our own small group and went over the lesson quickly and prayed together. It was nice. Again… hard to believe that I’m now in a place where people trust me to lead – teach – advise. How did that happen? Wasn’t I, just barely a year and a half ago, a defeated, depressed mess of a person? I was hopeless. It’s amazing how much investing a little hope into someone’s life can turn things around.

And not to gloat… but here I am in this wonderful place of peace and prosperity - yes, prosperity… it’s not only about money… it’s about having a life that is rich in friends, in job satisfaction, in being loved and being able to love back unconditionally, in seeing results for the efforts I poured into the lives of my children… People are glad to see me coming. I am greeted like a rock star by my nieces and adopted nieces… I am hugged and loved and enjoyed and cherished. And the woman he chose? Well, she’s still mired in a bitter court case – still trying to keep her children from having contact with their incredibly devoted and loving father – maybe she’s happy. Some people thrive on conflict. Personally… I’ll take my insulated life in the mountains over constant conflict and… well, she didn’t exactly score a prize with my sloppy seconds.

There is a possibility that I may be traveling to Jacksonville to testify in their ongoing legal drama. I don’t wanna. Yet, the things that are happening are just wrong… Dean is being baited and then vilified when he responds. He’s angry, no doubt about it. He’s tons more bitter than I ever was and it’s not getting any better but… she’s also still playing games with him, controlling him, interfering with his ability to see his children, dragging him back to court for every $5 she doesn’t get from him. She has zero compassion for this man whose life she destroyed or even for her children – who love their father very much. I guess that makes her a perfect match for Michael. I wasn’t even allowed to use the word compassion.

Although Florida is a shared custody state, she refuses to allow Dean to have the children – even when she’s working – and they are in daycare. How in the world is it better for children to be in daycare instead of with their father? Can I just tell you how much I would have loved for my kids’ dad to pick them up from daycare every now and then? Or to have done anything with them. He wouldn’t travel ten miles to see his kids. Dean is flying from Louisville to Jacksonville to see his kids every other week. She insists that she have the kids for Jewish holidays, even though they fall on Dean’s visitation time, even though the kids have never even been to temple – haven’t been raised Jewish, although their mother is Jewish. That’s how that woman was introduced to me – Michael said he hired two saleswomen – one was really hot and the other was Jewish. Such love.

One thing I know from ten years experience as a divorced mom – the kinder you are to your ex, the better father he can be. The better father your kids have, the better people your kids will grow to be. It’s about sacrifice. It’s about sometimes being around someone you don’t like. I let my ex live with us for quite some time because he was homeless. I hated having him there. It was awkward. He lived with my parents for a long time. Yet it was important for my kids to be able to know their dad and to have a relationship with him. He hasn’t been much of a father but we certainly supported his efforts any time he made an effort. I even called and thanked him last week for helping Cody renovate the house my parents bought. It made a huge difference in Cody’s life and I think those efforts should be validated. This woman is too blind to realize that by hurting her ex-husband, she’s hurting her kids.

So if I need to go and share what I know… I will. I can’t afford it. But I will do it. And I’m grateful to be strong enough to do it.

Having lunch with Sarabeth again today. I’m going to run thru Zaxby’s and get her a kid’s meal. Stasha is going too. I’m planning on a small salad and maybe grilled chicken for me. No sense blowing it on some lame Thursday lunch. Plus… I’m not sure what my meal options will be this weekend. I’m riding with someone else (which removes a lot of the logistical stress from me) so I’ll be kinda at their mercy. They’re doing a continental breakfast for us on Saturday – which usually translates into bagels, donuts and other bread. I don’t know what the set up will be. I’m taking almonds and fruit with me… so if nothing else, I have that option.

Yesterday for dinner at church we had chicken pot pie, cranberry sauce and salad. The portion they give is really small. Well… the portion they give me. I noticed my brother got a whole bunch more. I think the cooking ladies like him better. Or maybe they want to help me lose weight. At any rate… they had good olive oil and vinegar so I was able to use that for dressing – which saves calories. I skipped dessert and had unsweetened tea. I did, however, eat a bunch of runts last night. Ugh for the sugar!

Breakfast this morning was blackened salmon. It’s what I wanted. I was running late so I didn’t have time for a veggie. I’ll have some red grapes here in a minute. Lunch will be early - since I’m eating with Sarabeth – so snack will be greek yogurt and fruit.

This is long enough for now… praying you all have a beautiful Thursday!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

not so whiny wednesday

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It’s not supposed to last. More cold, cold rain is on the way. Some places are predicting ice/snow but I’m way past taking any of that seriously now. I’ve been scammed too many times since I’ve lived up here. I think it’s a conspiracy between the grocery stores and the weather channels to force us to buy more food than we normally would. (I’m kidding)

It’s cold and sunny today. It’s my “leave early” day. I usually take a short lunch on Wednesdays but I am so far behind in my homework for my bible study that I’m gonna take the whole hour and try to catch up.

Been having a great conversation about sugar with Whitney, her mom and Purple Michael’s BF Ross (aka Ross the dietician) via email. So much about eating well is just in understanding what you should and shouldn’t eat and learning how different foods affect you. Sugar is a trigger for me so I have to really keep a close watch on my sugar intake.

Foodwise – yesterday for dinner I had pinto beans and couscous. Couscous, as it turns out, is a trigger. I was craving sugar so fiercely afterwards that we made a rare after dark trip to the grocery store where I bought a pound. Yes, a whole pound. Of runts. Nothing but sugar and artificial colors and flavors. Ugh.

The after dark grocery trip, as it turned out, was a great adventure. Hardly anyone in the store- Austin went with me and helped pick out things that he likes – bought waaaay more fresh produce than candy. Ten pounds of produce to one pound of candy. We had a good time. It’s way more fun to buy healthy food than junk. Honestly, it is. Instead of feeling like you’re wasting money on indulgences, you realize that you’re investing in the fuel that your body needs to be at it’s best.

This morning for breakfast I had grilled chicken with roasted purple cabbage. Maybe not traditional breakfast food but great nutrition and soooo yum! Snack was an asian pear. Lunch is supposed to be a almond butter and banana sandwich on my high fiber multi grain bread. Snack will be an orange, if I need a snack. That’s three servings of fruit… which may be too much… but I love it and it’s better than eating junk food. I’ve got to make sure I have more easy access / portable veggies available like celery – which I love, I just don’t always have time to cut it and prepare. I also love tomatoes – which are technically a fruit. I don’t know. It’s an evolving process. Either way, I know I’m in way better shape than I was. Dinner is at church tonight so I’m sorta at their mercy… and if nothing else, I can use the salad bar.

I think I mentioned that I’ve been tapering off the anti-depressant and watching for signs of depression returning. I suspected that my depression was circumstantial and I still do. I think I’m naturally an upbeat, positive, energetic person. I also think that taking the A-D has numbed my personality a bit. People keep mentioning to me that I seem more joyful. Imagine that… I’m being cautious… I’m not going cold turkey and I’m watching for any signs of depression but honestly… I feel great. Not great in a manic – out of proportion – bi-polar way, but in a “I can handle this” kind of way. Bad stuff has happened. Bad stuff will happen in the future. That can’t be avoided. But I want to be clear-headed and able to deal with anything that comes with my true emotions and the full scope of wisdom that I so painfully acquired. No more pharmaceutical filter.

It’s interesting to me that I am able to go to sleep better without taking ambien, that I feel happier without an anti-depressant, that my blood pressure is under better control with a healthy diet than with blood pressure meds, that I’m breathing better without using inhalers – which made me want to eat constantly which made me gain weight which made it harder to breathe. In short… we’re an over medicated, malnutritioned generation. It’s sad to realize how much we’re in bondage to the pharmaceutical industry. How much of the waste in the health care industry comes from poor nutrition and side effects of medication? Anyways… I’ll get off my soap box. The results are clear – at least in my case.

I still have a long way to go. I’m not drinking enough water. I’m not getting enough activity. There’s room for improvement. But at least I’m on the right road.
Much to do… just wanted to share… love and hugs!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

more good news!

I just sold a health policy! once it issues it will be $164 in commission for me! Woohoo! I have another one in underwriting that is $120 in commission. I might actually have a decent paycheck or two coming up!

I quoted life insurance for a family this morning... also will be a good commission if they take it.

I want to be able to support myself. Is that a crazy goal?

Lunch was awesome! Still finishing my butternut squash. Later, y'all!

my tuesday

Good news today…
Yesterday when I got home and turned on my computer, it automatically started running a program to search for the problem and repair it… something I had tried to make it do for two weeks. It allowed me to do a system restore – whereas up until then it kept erroring out when I’d try that. So… I don’t know how or why but something changed and made it all better. I’ll take it. I don’t have to understand every good thing that happens. Sometimes you have to just say, “thank you God” and enjoy it.
The scale moved today! Yeehaw! Finally!
I’ve got a nasty headache today but I really think it’s just from the weather front moving through. I believe I’ll be better after it’s gone. I took my ibuprofen and just kept on trucking.
Have I mentioned that I’m still able to sleep really well without ambien? It’s amazing to me that I felt so dependent on that stuff and yet… here I am… sleeping like a rock… a good 6 hours or so a night… and I’m able to wake up in the morning… and I’m saving $200 a month by not buying ambien.
Breakfast this morning was two grilled chicken tenders and an orange.
Lunch is ½ an egg salad sandwich and a cup of butternut squash.
Snacks are almonds and a banana.
Dinner last night was incredible! I wasn’t really sure what I was going to fix… I put some chicken on to grill… I heated up some of the leftover brown rice from last week… and I started digging through the produce bin in the refrigerator. I came up with a zucchini, some celery, a green bell pepper… chopped it up and stir fried it… added turmeric which is super healthy for you, a little garlic which is good for your blood pressure and a couple of drops of sesame oil which adds a lot of flavor without adding soy sauce, which I’m trying to avoid due to the msg/sodium in it. I mixed in the rice and chicken for the last few minutes of cooking the veggies and they absorbed all those yummy flavors… it made a huge bowl… one cup of rice, two grilled chicken tenders, one whole zucchini and ½ a pepper. A lot of food, not a lot of calories. A lot of fiber. A lot of nutrients. It took about fifteen minutes to prep and cook – quicker than going through a drive-thru.
My sweet friend Linda emailed me last night about the scale not moving and encouraged me to think about portion sizes, especially on the starchier veggies and fruits. I’m careful with portions on beans and rice. I haven’t had a potato in a month. I haven’t even been eating sweet potatoes, although they are good for you, because of the starchiness. I’m trying to fill up on green leafy stuff…
I know that I’m eating more nuts than I probably should… and maybe more fruit than I should… but I also feel like I have to do this in a way that I can maintain for the rest of my life. If I’m hungry, I eat. I just make sure I eat stuff that is nutritious and avoid as much sugar / flour / trigger foods as possible.
Anyways… the headache is better. It’s been the usual “recovery Tuesday” where I recover from the things I didn’t get done on Monday. Back to the grindstone… hope y’all have a great day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

gotta brag a bit

I meant to mention earlier... my Ryan is in Denver this week - working. I'm so proud of him - he's doing a great job and has earned enough trust that they'll send him halfway across the country to handle jobs. That's huge.

Cody's also doing great in his spa job. He started last week with only three days and they went ahead and added a 4th day. He is paid on commission... and makes really good money as long as he's seeing clients.

They both have done really well at figuring out a trade in a busted up economy. My generation had it so much easier. I'm glad - REALLY GLAD that they were able to find something in life that they enjoy doing without having to incur the debt of a four year degree.

My boys are pretty awesome. And you know... I have to say it... there was someone in my past who put my boys down every chance he got, who treated them badly and treated his own kids like princes... but I'll put my kids up against ANYONE else's kids... and I believe that they have been far more successful than... well, anyone else's.

And beautiful.
And kind.
And smart.
And funny.
And loving.
And hardworking.
And creative.
And sweet.
And loyal to their family.
And everything else... that I ever hoped and prayed they'd be.

argh! grumpy monday!

Is it a full moon? Lots of crazy so far today. No claims, though. I thought we’d have some weather related claims but it appears that we all stayed safe. It’s time for spring to come. I’m done with this snow anticipation.

It’s really just one of those “man plans and God laughs” sort of days, I guess. I’m a little discouraged… when I told D about the Disaster Recovery certification he came back with, “you don’t have the kind of job that would allow you to do that sort of thing…”. Um. Well. Yeah. I thought I did. At any rate… I’ll still go and get certified and trust that if God needs to use me somewhere, he’ll make a way and soften whatever hearts need to be softened. Ultimately, my responsibility is to do what God wants me to do first… and that’s what I’ll do. And I’m completely, one hundred percent certain that this is what God wants me to do.

I hate one someone asks me a question (on something State Farm related) and then fact checks me by asking someone else because they don’t trust the answer I gave them. If you don’t think I know… don’t ask. Argh!

Today is payday but the new accounting firm we’re using is late dropping them off. I have to take mine to the bank TO-DAY! I’m stressing that they won’t be here prior to my lunch time. Then I have to either roll with the punches or be a fly in the ointment and miss time from work. It’s aggravating. I’m holding out and going a little late in hopes that they will be here soon. Another argh!

I’ve got a half dozen things going on today… jumping from one thing to another… new stuff coming in before I finish the stuff I’m working on. Frustrating.

Here’s my food from yesterday – it was weird…
No breakfast. We were going to go out before church and ended up not having enough time.
After church we went to La Cabana where I had chips and salsa and cheese dip (not a lot but enough) and then the Mexican chicken and rice soup – which is awesome, I need to make it myself with brown rice. I ate a few bites of Austin’s fajita meat.
Then… late afternoon I had half of an egg salad sandwich – made with greek yogurt instead of mayo on wheat bread. THEN… I had a half almond butter and banana Sammy on wheat and an orange.
For dinner-ish I had half a head of cabbage roasted (which is really yummy!)
And later I had a bowl of banana nut cereal.
Not my best eating day ever but not horrible.
It’s weird because I’ve never ate this well in my life… even when I was steadily losing weight. I get on the scale with high expectations thinking that it HAS to come off. And it’s not coming off. And I’m trying to maintain my focus on the fact that I’m feeling tons better but… after a month… I want results! Especially since the only medication I’m taking is the anti-depressant and I’m only taking it every other day (and feeling fine, I’m watching it carefully).
Bummer!
Breakfast today was pinto beans because I wanted them. They’re super healthy – I cooked them from dried beans so there’s none of that processing with salt and fat that comes with canned beans.
Then I had a handful of almonds for snack.
Lunch is going to be a whole almond butter and banana Sammy on whole wheat with … maybe with an orange. I may not need that much to eat.
And then there’s yogurt and blueberries for snack.
I haven’t planned dinner yet. There some butternut squash I need to eat… and brown rice… maybe with some grilled chicken? Who knows.

I guess I’m going to have to give up on getting paid today. I’ll just have to walk in faith for another day. It always works out somehow. Somehow.