I Hate the Scale

I know I’m not alone in my struggle to get in shape.  The struggle just keeps getting harder as I get older.  It is soooo frustrating!  I’m fairly active in my daily life, with two young kids.  I’ve cut out the good stuff . . . . donuts and candy, even potato chips, for the most part.  I hardly drink soda and I’ve tried to increase my water intake.  But, the numbers on the scale just keep going up.  I weigh more right now than I ever have, other than when I was pregnant.

I gained so much weight, in such a short period of time recently, that I became convinced there was something wrong with my scale.  So, I bought a new one.  Sadly, there was nothing wrong with the first scale.  Problem not solved.

So, I guess it’s time to get serious . . . seriously kicking and screaming.  I figure one of the ways to get serious is with some accountability.  How can you be more accountable than announcing your plans to the fine people who read the internet?  Of course, it is totally within my power to delete this post at any time.  But, my intentions are good at this moment.

I want to lose approximately 35 lbs.  But, I’m realizing that I really need to get in better shape, not just lose weight.

I’m going to make a few first steps.  For one, I’m going to report my progress here.  Probably not every week, as I think that could get boring for readers – but periodically.  I’m going to participate in the 28 Day Fitness Challenge, presented by “The Multitasking Mom”.  Check it out if you’re interested:  28 Day Challenge.  I’m going to drink at least 64 oz. of water per day.  I’m going to track my calorie intake.

I have stretches that help me to stay more active by relieving some pain.  Besides, everyone knows that stretching is supposed to help blood flow and overall health.  So, I’m going to commit to doing those every day.

Like I said – I know I’m not alone here!  Please share in the comments what has worked for you to get in better shape, lose weight and improve your health.

Pop Up Beach Tent – OutdoorsmanLab

This would have been great for our beach trip last July!

Sponsored By: OutdoorsmanLab

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

3 Winners will receive:

An OutdoorsmanLab Automatic Pop Up Beach Tent w/ Carrying Bag ($49.99 RV)! A $149.97 TRV!

OutdoorsmanLab is founded with a scientific spirit and a lofty mission: to offer innovative, well-made, and high performance outdoor gear at a revolutionary price.

Open to US entrants only and must be 18+ to enter.
Giveaway Dates ~ 9/10 12:01 AM EST through 9/30 11:59PM EST
Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winners will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winners have 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

When Friendship is Easy

I wrote something for a fellow blogger recently.  In the piece, I talked about how much pressure there is on women to do everything “right” in our society.  I even feel pressure from other women to squeeze in “me” time.   A lot of times, for me, making time for the “me” time causes more stress than the “me” time relieves.  Frankly, as a working Mom, my time with my kids feels limited.  I generally don’t want to spend my time off away from them.

I used to be better about making time for girlfriends.  My Mom and I do something, just the two of us, maybe two or three times a year.  My best friend comes through town once or twice a year, and I get to spend a little time with her.

It’s bad.  I need to do better.  But, it becomes just one more thing I need to do.  I’m tired.

I planned to go and see my best friend, who lives three hours away, last May.  But, my daughter had to have a tonsillectomy.  The summer was busy, but I had it in my mind that we would get there this year.

Mission Accomplished!  On the Saturday morning of Labor Day weekend, the kids and I left for our road trip, and we returned Sunday night, leaving me with one more day off at home before I had to return to work.  It was so nice to spend time with her and her family, and for her to spend some time with my kids.  I guess it shows that it doesn’t have to be just “me” time to spend time with friends.

On Monday, I got to spend 2 1/2 hours with another old friend.  I have known both of these ladies since Junior High School.  I kind of hate to admit that we are talking over 30 years.  Wow.  When I left my friend’s house on Monday, I thought about what a wonderful weekend it had been, getting a chance to spend time with two of my girlfriends.

What also struck me was how easy it was.  I’m an introvert, so small talk is tiring to me.  But, on Monday, my friend and I talked for over two hours straight and I’m sure we could have talked for more than three times that if life wasn’t calling.  Unlike the feeling of being drained, that I so often feel when interacting with people, I felt energized.  I found myself wondering why.

It makes me realize why I’ve stayed in touch with them over all of this time.  They want what is best for me, and I for them.  But, there isn’t a lot of advice giving.  Just listening.  I love that.

Is it easy because we’ve known each other so long?  They have seen me at my dopiest and nerdiest, during my times of worst judgment, but also at my best.  There is no fooling them, so I suppose I don’t waste the energy trying.  They have been there for me, in the joyous times and the devastating times.

Is it because we don’t talk that often?  We don’t get on each others’ nerves because we are truly only spending quality time?

I don’t know the answer, but I’m blessed to have a couple of other girlfriends who also come to mind.  Memorial Day weekend, 2016, my husband, the kids and I went to see my old college roommate and her family had a party for us!  When my brother passed away, a very old friend (we’re talking since the age of 3) watched my kids during the funeral service, even though I hadn’t talked to her in quite a long time.

Please understand, it’s not that these people do things for me that makes me feel warmly toward them.  It’s the love I feel from them, that’s shown in these gestures.  Sometimes, the gesture is just simply making time.

We find ourselves appreciating different things as we get older.  You’ve probably heard that saying – people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  I’m so grateful for my girlfriends who have been willing to hang around for a lifetime.

 

 

 

Christmas in August

I love Christmas-time.  I have been known to shop for Christmas presents in October. . . maybe even earlier.  I know, some people dread that time of year, but I really enjoy it.

That said – I do not enjoy how unorganized all of my Christmas decorations are!  Many years of collecting, packing and re-packing, and moving have resulted in boxes of ornaments wrapped in very old newspaper, in no particular order.

I like decorating, but last year, I had such a mess going on in the living room that it put a damper on the enjoyment!  We recently finished our basement (mostly) and I am finally trying to organize the unfinished, storage part of the basement.  I decided to get my Christmas decorations in order.

Our tradition is to buy a new ornament whenever we go on a trip, and one with the year on it each year.  After 10 years together, we have accumulated many ornaments!  I already had quite a few from when I was single.

When Christmas is over, I like to leave the tree up until New Years Day.  Then, I just seem to be in a mad dash to get everything put away.  While I’m decorating, and unpacking, I am thinking, when I put this all away, this time, I’m going to do a better job of keeping it neat and organized.  But when that time comes . . . nope.  Just as messy, maybe more so, as the year before.

So, about a week ago, I decided to finally get the situation under control.  I’m sure you’ve seen different ornament storage containers.  It would definitely be possible to devise my own.  But, I knew that was never going to happen – so I bought two.  They hold up to 112 ornaments, and I could use a third, even after putting some ornaments in a box to give away.  I might be a hoarder!  But, in my defense, we have a 9-foot tall artificial tree, and it takes a ton of ornaments.  Also, the spaces for each ornament are kind of small.  Fortunately, there was a way to expand them.  I did not actually fit 112 ornaments into each container.  But I did fit a bunch!

I found the ornament storage units on the Bed, Bath & Beyond website.  These “Real Simple Solutions” (I love that name!  The simple solutions are always the best.) boxes were perfect.  Easy to put together and easy to use.  I have received no compensation for this post!  I wish!

You can see all of the boxes and newspapers in the background. I needed these!
The directions were pretty straight-forward, and, as I mentioned, the boxes and dividers were easy to put together.
Small ornaments fit very well with the inserts used, as directed.
Adjusting the inserts makes it possible to store larger ornaments.

While it might seem strange to tackle the organization of Christmas decorations in August, somehow, with the stress of the holidays far away, it was pressure-free.  I feel I am on the way to finally getting my basement organized.

Do You Really Think this is a Fluke?! Come On!

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 finally happened today.  Some people thought it was one of the most incredible experiences of their lives.  Others were underwhelmed.  I was in between.

This has been a topic of interest for my family for a little while.  We thought about going to Southern Illinois to see the total eclipse, or at least driving to Springfield, IL, where the eclipse would be about 95%.  We decided it wasn’t worth the drive, and watched it from home.  Here, the moon covered approximately 90% of the sun.

The day before the eclipse. Making sure we’re prepared.

My parents did drive down to Southern Illinois.  I haven’t spoken to them about it yet, but I am grateful that they ordered these glasses for us, or we would have missed out big time!

We had heard it would be overcast, so we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to see anything.  Around 11:40 AM, when it was supposed to start, I decided to just take a look.  The sun was visible through the clouds, but it wasn’t apparent that anything strange was going on.  When I put the glasses on, I could see that the moon was beginning to cover the sun.  We spent the next two hours watching.

Since it was not a total eclipse here, it got somewhat dark, but from what I have heard, nothing like the sensation of being in the path of the total eclipse.  I’ve heard that it was amazing.

So, today I have been thinking a lot about the universe and how incredible it is.  In particular, I’ve been thinking about how the size of the moon, and the size of the sun, in relation to their distances from each other, and then from the Earth make a total eclipse possible.  The moon has to be just the right size and distance from the sun to perfectly cover it.  We, then, have to be just the right distance to view this phenomenon.

I may have first had this pointed out to me by Frank Turek.  I’m sure I didn’t come up with it on my own.  I got to wondering – what is the ratio of the size of the sun compared to the moon?  What is the distance that makes this possible?  So, I did a little Bing search, and found the answer on a couple of different websites.

The strange thing is, while I was searching for facts to talk about how God’s existence is undeniable, I happened upon a website that said just the opposite.  It’s a post about eclipse hunters.  These people found the sensation so wonderful the first time they experienced it, that they wanted to experience it again and again.  So, they travel the world to observe as many total eclipses as they can.  Here’s the post:  Eclipse Chasers – Esquire.

Here’s the quote:  “And it’s all to see something that’s a total fluke. Our moon’s diameter is almost exactly 1/400th that of the sun’s, while the sun is about 400 times farther away from the Earth than the moon—so they appear to be the same diameter in the sky. It’s a complete coincidence, and it’s one that won’t last forever.”

Really?  A complete coincidence?  I don’t believe in coincidences.

Purple Fingernail Polish . . . and Other Life Lessons

I remember a girlfriend of mine having a girls’ night a while back.  Quite a while back.  I’m guessing 15 years ago.

She was kind enough to set up self-manicure stations for us around her dining room table.

It was kind of her, but I was ungrateful . . . complaining about how all of the polish was “sparkly” and there was no way I could wear them to work.  I was quite snotty about it, saying none of the options were going to work for me.

I was a Regional Manager and dressed very conservatively.  I followed all of the rules of a professional.  Whose rules?  I really can’t answer that.  Some rules I had established in my mind that said sparkly fingernail polish was not acceptable.

In the last five to ten years, as you know, anything goes with fingernail polish.  When blue and green polish became the norm, I was pretty uncomfortable with it.  Being a child of the 80’s, it brought back memories of the punk rock era.  It didn’t seem like something adults should be doing.

When I saw one of our local celebrities, who generally dresses conservatively and is in her fifties, wearing blue fingernail polish, I knew it was just my hang-up.  Still, I couldn’t bring myself to wear anything but pink, red, shades of beige, and when I was feeling really daring, grey.

Last Saturday, my son was invited to his friend’s house for most of the day.  It was a good opportunity for my daughter and me to have a girls’ day.  The only time I’ve had a manicure was in preparation for my wedding.  I thought it would be fun for us to go get our nails done together.  It was fun, and not very expensive at all.  We may have to make it a regular thing.

I told my daughter we would get matching fingernail polish and she could choose.  She chose super sparkly green.  Sorry – couldn’t do it.  She ended up choosing purple, which was still too bold for me, but I went along with it.

Long story short, I didn’t sit under the dryer long enough, and I ruined the polish on my pinky putting my seat belt on.  Doh!  I ended up putting magenta on that nail.  Now I was really daring!

I did get a lot of attention related to my fingernails.  Generally, positive.  But, being an introvert, perhaps the increased attention is part of the reason I stick with my old-fashioned shades.

I can get away with a little more daring in my current job, because it’s a casual environment.  What this whole purple polish experience has revealed to me is that I can be pretty uptight about some things that really don’t matter.

 

Personalized Roadtrip Giveaway

I love the book and the map.  This is super cool!

USA Road Trip Book Set Giveaway

Welcome to the My USA Road Trip Personalized Storybook Gift Set Giveaway!

 

Sponsored By: I See Me!

Hosted By: Easter Babe’s Theory

1 Lucky Winner will receive My USA Road Trip Personalized Storybook and colorful Scratch-Off Map

  I See Me Personalized USA Road Trip Dedication   You can personalize this storybook from I See Me! with your child’s name, gender, and state of residence.You can even add a photo of your child’s face and select their hair color and skin tone to be incorporated throughout the illustrations. To make this book even more special, you can include a dedication that will be printed on the first page. Your child will be taken on an exciting adventure through all 50 states. Along their trip, they will learn state names and key monuments. Your child will make some stops throughout the journey to fuel up, surf the waves, and more. They’ll even pass through their home state where they’ll learn about the state bird, flower, and flag. The scratch-off map is perfect to track your real-life travels or follow along with the matching book.   I See Me Personalized USA Road Trip Home State

Read more about this amazing book HERE

 

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Giveaway Dates: 08/08/2017 11:59PM CST until 08/21/2017 11:59PM CST

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 8/21/17. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. The sponsor is responsible for shipping of the above prize(s). No blog associated with this contest is responsible for prize fulfillment. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

 

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Cats and Faith – What an Odd Combination

Cats have been on my mind a lot lately.  We took in a stray last year (you can read more about that in my previous posts, A Kitty Cat’s Tale (Pun Intended) and Nine Things to Love About Cats – From a Former Dog Person).

I work at a steel mill, and there are always cats running around.  This year though, there has, we believe, been one very active male.  We had three or four litters of kittens running around.  Before we took in our stray last year, I never would have considered taking one home from work.  For one thing, they are very dirty – a steel mill is a filthy environment.  For another, I just didn’t think that I cared for cats.  We had dogs, and the two just don’t mix.

But, we found, that the cat and dog got along just fine.  Our first cat is black, and I ended up bringing home a white one.  He was so dirty, he looked gray.  Turns out, the cats love each other too.

This new cat is the sweetest.  He purrs constantly.  Perhaps he’s just grateful to have a home, instead of sleeping on concrete and rocks.

In addition, we’ve been making trips outside at work, to look at darling, tiny kittens.  I was also involved in an effort to capture several of them, with the hope of finding them homes.

This will seem a little disjointed, but it will all come together in the end!

Now on to the faith part.  We’ve been attending a new church over the past several months.  I wanted to learn more about the church, and I’ve been struggling with some things, so I asked the Lead Pastor if he would meet with me to talk.

One of the things we talked about was my history with church and faith.  Tonight, I remembered one cat in particular that changed my faith, and not in a good way . . . or was it?

When I was in college, one of my roommates brought a cat to the house we were renting.  I wasn’t thrilled about this, because pets were against the rules.  But, it was a nice enough cat, and I accepted that he was going to be around.

One day, I was talking on the phone (this was before everyone had cell phones . . . it was around 1992 or 1993).  The cat approached me, so I picked him up.  I was holding him near my shoulder and face when he jumped off.  He hit the foot board of a bed (I thought with just his feet) and took off.

I didn’t think too much of it, but later, my roommate noticed that he was bleeding from his gums.  She took the cat to the vet.  I spent a sleepless night praying for this cat to get well, because I knew my roommate blamed me, even though I had done nothing wrong.

While the vet had the cat, she decided to get him fixed.  It turned out, the cat was a hemophiliac and he died.  Even without his injury, he would have likely died from the procedure.  Still, the experience stuck with me, perhaps even longer than I’ve realized.

When God didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted, I wondered, what is the point in praying?  Is God even listening?

That feeling and doubt stuck with me for years.  While I did not totally reject God, He certainly wasn’t the focus of my life for a very long time.

Now, I realize how immature my thinking was.  To think that God could answer “Yes” to our every request simply doesn’t make any sense if you think about it.  Many times, our requests are just plain selfish.  We don’t look at the big picture, even when some of it is available to us.  But, more often, the big picture includes details that we do not know.  We have to trust that, when the answer is “No”, God knows best.

So, what is the point of praying?  It isn’t just asking for things, or it shouldn’t be.  It includes praise, forgiveness, growth, thankfulness, and yes, sometimes asking for things.  God desires a relationship with us, and that can best be achieved by reading His word, worshiping Him, and praying.  True faith comes when we continue to trust in Him, even when we don’t get what we think we need and want.

 

 

 

Travel and Photography – Treasure Island, Florida

We spent a week on the beach at Treasure Island, Florida, in mid-July. Treasure Island is in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area.  We had a great time, although it was very hot some days!

If you’re into collecting shells, this is the place for you. The beach was lousy with them early in the morning, when the tide was low.
We spent a day at Busch Gardens in nearby Tampa. We saw many beautifully colorful birds.
The Florida Aquarium in Tampa is very nice, but the Wetlands Exhibit is extraordinary.

I loved this blue-billed duck.
Day at the Beach
Double Rainbow
Full rainbow on the beach. Does it get any better?
There were wild sting rays all around our boat on our fishing trip. It was awesome.
Lovely fishing spot
Beautiful view from our fishing boat.
Baby Dolphin spotted on our Dolphin Watching Cruise.
We don’t see a lot of pelicans in the Midwest, so I love seeing them on vacation.
I didn’t even know pelicans hang out in trees!
We had heard about the magnificent sunsets on the Gulf. Most nights the clouds covered the sun, but it was still beautiful.
The clouds produced an interesting shadow in the sky.

I’ll close with one of my favorite sunset photos.  There may be more details to come about some of our favorite excursions!  I’ve tried not to over-schedule us this summer; yet in the blink of an eye, summer is about over already.

 

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How Can I Use my Gifts to Better Serve God and Others?

God is telling me something.  Over and over.  Does this ever happen to you?  A theme . . . a message that just keeps coming up.  This time, it seems to be at great frequency.

The last couple of Sundays that we’ve attended church, the idea that we should be using our talents to serve God has been the focus.  1 Corinthians 5-31 was discussed, and it is a wonderful illustration of how we all have different talents and abilities . . . spiritual gifts, that we all serve a different purpose as a part of a larger body – the body of Christ.  I wanted to include the entire passage, but it is quite long for a post.

Both weeks, I found myself thinking about my gifts, and how I could be using them better.

People come to me for advice.  I think it’s because I’ve learned to be a good listener, not always jumping to immediately tell them what they should do.  I generally ask them more questions to help them to come to their own conclusions.  When I started college, I thought I wanted to be a therapist.  I took a different direction, and got a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.  I/O Psychology is the study of people in the workplace – Human Resources from a research perspective.  Even before the messages at church, I had been thinking about becoming a licensed counselor, even contacting a University about what would be involved with earning another Master’s degree, and obtaining a license.

But, in this world, it seems to always come down to time and money, doesn’t it?  Just two years of school is very expensive these days, even for an online degree.  I work full-time, and we need my income.  Working full-time and going to school with two young kids. . .  I suppose it’s possible, but I would miss too much time with my kids.  That is something I’m just not willing to do.

I could take loans, but is that a road I want to go down, at 45?  I already did that at 22, and it took me 10 years to pay them off.  Do I want to put my family in that situation?  Probably not.

Is that the license I want anyway?  Perhaps Biblical Counseling.  I completed an online inquiry.  They have tried to call a couple of times, but I haven’t answered.  What’s the point?  Nothing has changed.

So, maybe that’s not it.  At least not right now.

Last Sunday, a video was played of an interview with the Worship Team’s drummer.  I can sing.  Maybe I’m supposed to pursue becoming a member of the Worship Team.  But they have so many.  I’m probably not needed.  But, the Pastor had elaborated on 1 Corinthians 12:21: “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!'”

One should not think that other members of the church don’t need us, or we don’t need them.  But, then there’s the anxiety of singing in front of so many people.  Am I good enough?  Can I do it?  Is this where I’m needed?  I just don’t know.

Tuesday morning, I thought maybe it’s the blog.  Maybe I’m already using my writing talent.  But, then why would God be putting this on my heart if I’m already doing it?  I blog about a number of things.  Maybe I’m supposed to devote it totally to faith.

When I lack clarity, I often tell God that I am a knucklehead, and if He’s trying to lead me somewhere, I need Him to spell it out for me.  Then I felt that was a cop-out.  I felt that God was telling me, “I gave you a brain.  I expect you to use it.  Do your part.”  But, still, no answers were forthcoming.

Am I to write a book?  Get a new job?  Volunteer?  Use my gifts where I am right now?

On Tuesday, it came up again.  This time on K-LOVE.  Luis Palau (love him) talked about the same scripture passage.  We don’t have to be Pastors to use our gifts.  We should spread the gospel, no matter our profession.

And again, on Tuesday night.  This time, in a very unexpected place.

I’ve been borrowing a dramatic series from the library, “A Place to Call Home.”  The series takes place in Australia.  The Blighs, a wealthy family, are at the center.  The matriarch, Elizabeth, is quite a nasty character in the beginning.  By the end of Season Two, she has changed her ways.  As she says, a mirror has been held up to her face.

In Season Three she volunteers at a soup kitchen for veterans.  She tries to serve food, but she finds herself ill-equipped in this role.  As she’s leaving the man who runs the program asks, “Shall I put you on the roster?

Elizabeth replies, “I don’t think so, Mr. Goddard.  I don’t think I’m of much use.”

Days later, she arrives as a piano is being delivered, which she arranged.  She begins to play and sing.  One of the men, whose speech was incoherent in the earlier scene, begins to sing.

“I’ve never seen the men so happy.  So . . . engaged.  I’ve told you, of course, I make sure they’re fed.  But, this was living.  They were alive!”

What she did was beautiful.  She was obviously nervous when she started;  she was well outside of her comfort zone.  But she found the courage, and she found a way to use her gifts to make a difference.

I still have not figured out exactly what I am supposed to be doing, but I have faith that it will come.  I’m anxious to find out what lessons I will learn on this journey.

 

 

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