Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

ASAP typically stands for 'as soon as possible'. What else could it stand for in your life right now?

'As Sweet as Pie'. Look at this sweet baby. He is definitely a highlight to every day, seeing him grow and learn and smile that precious smile! Being his Nana is the absolute best!

Are you the last person to speak up in a group or the first to have an idea? Why do you suppose that is? Is it a good thing or no?

I am a speaker upper, definitely. Even if I tell myself that I am going to be quiet, I don't. I have no idea why. Although I am an introvert, I am not shy. I do so much thinking and have so many ideas swirling around in my head that they just come spewing out when I'm in a group. I am overly opinionated, and I guess I just think I know something about everything. That's really annoying to people, I bet. I just can't be quiet!

What do you remember best about being 12?

Well, that would have been my 7th grade year. I probably remember the least about that year than any other. I would have gone to Junior High that year so I would have really been in a transition year. That was before boys became very important, so I probably spent a lot of time with my friend, Becky. Before we got to high school she and I spent a lot of time together, hanging out cooking and watching old movies. It was a good, simple time before things got complicated as a teenager.

January 18th is National Winnie the Pooh Day. Which character do you relate to the most, and why?

Well, the quiz I took HERE says I am Rabbit, and I have to say it is pretty accurate! Might explain question Number 2 up there.

What's an app you use that helps simplify or make life easier for you in some way?

I am not a big app user. I am a pen and paper kind of gal. I just have the basic apps, mostly for social media and tools for working out. But I do have an app for my bank where I can easily do all my banking.

San Francisco (CA), San Diego (CA), San Juan (PR), San Antonio (TX), Sanibel (FL) ... you have an all expenses paid long weekend to one of these destinations. Which one do you choose and why?

I have been to all of these except Sanibel. I would love to go there to get a different taste of Florida than what we get when we go to my parents' house in Pensacola.

Share with us a song that makes you feel nostalgic? For what?

The other night I was at a Junior High basketball game at my alma mater. The team was warming up to a cd that, I swear, they pulled out of the 1980's drawer in the locker room (except it would have been a cassette tape). It took me back .... way back! "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard was one of them. Oh, yeah. Feel the vibes.

Insert your own random thought here.

I am so excited to be going to Hawaii in five days to visit my blogging friend, Cheryl. We have never met in person, but have corresponded for several years. We often do Bible studies together and e-mail each other for accountability and encouragement and prayer. I know that there are several of you who have made In Real Life friends with those you have met in this blogging world. I have, too. So you know the power of these relationships. I cannot wait to hug my dear friend around her neck (and sit on the beach drinking fruity beverages).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Ooops .. it's been a week since I blogged. That's because it has been a really low-key week. We are on Christmas break and feel like we have done nothing but run, run, run. Having a quiet week was much-needed.

I did go play Pitch all day Friday as a sub in my mom's card group. And they about did me in. Seriously. They are high-energy and lots of fun and when I got home on Friday afternoon I immediately put on my pajamas and climbed into bed where I stayed the entire weekend! And, that is no exaggeration. I did get up and take a shower on Sunday and put back on the same pjs, I fixed meals, and I went to the restroom. But, otherwise, I literally sat in bed reading and catching up on tv shows I had DVRd.

But this week I am back to running hard as I prepare for a week-long trip to Hawaii next week to visit my friend, Cheryl. Leaving for a week takes tons of preparation. I will be a zombie by the time I board the plane on Monday. And they will be lucky if I don't do it in my pjs and robe.

So, onto this week's Tuesday Coffee Chat ...

It's a New Year! What is one positive thing about 2017, and one negative thing about the forthcoming year?

Let's get political, shall we? (I didn't sleep very good last night and I'm annoyed so this seems like a good time to voice my opinion.)

The positive thing about 2017 is that Donald Trump will be the President of the United States. I proudly voted for him, support him and his administration 100%, and am excited and hopeful for the future (for the first time in a long, long time.)

The negative thing is all of the whiney baby celebrities that think that boycotting the inauguration or, even more embarrassing, marching on the inauguration, will make any difference whatsoever in its outcome.

Last year, my friend and our four children walked across Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama, and spent some time tracing the steps of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now, that was a march. Do you know what that march accomplished? The voting rights of blacks and women in this country, that all citizens shall have the right to vote equally.

In November of 2016, those voting rights led to votes that elected Donald Trump President of the United States.

And now you have all of these celebrities, who think they have any clout at all, marching in three days with HATE which is the one thing Martin Luther King, Jr., was against! He was for equality and love and peace and the rights of all Americans to vote for their leaders. These celebrities want to shout Black Lives Matter and Women's Lib and Equality for All but then want to denounce the rights of voters and the results of an election that Dr. King fought so hard for in the name of blacks, women, and equality.

It is ridiculous and makes me so angry!

I plan to pay very close attention to any celebrity who protests, marches, or speaks out against the leader of our country and boycott any of their movies, songs, television shows, events, etc. And I would ask you to do the same. For instance, I will never watch anything Meryl Streep acts in again. Did you see the Golden Globe Awards? What a troll.

I like this graphic I saw this morning.

Our country is in a position to unite as we have never done before. But, unfortunately, I do not see that happening because of the ones who are so in our face in every media outlet. Everybody wants Donald Trump to fail. Why in the world would you want that? I will tell you why ... because you do not care about anybody but yourself. You want to have a cause (blacks, whites, equality) just to get your 10 seconds of fame because in the entertainment world you make absolutely no lasting difference and once your seconds are gone, you are out.

It's disgusting. Children are watching! Martin Luther King, Jr., is rolling over in his grave right now. How disappointing for him and his family to watch his life's work, what he died for, be used in such a flippant way and with such hate. It makes me sad.

I am praying for President-elect Trump, his administration, and his family as they lead our country in the next four years. He will make change in this country. And I am believing it is for good. And I choose to focus on the positive.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat is back for a new year! Grab your cup and let's get to it.

What was your biggest lesson learned in 2016?

I have talked about this so much here lately that it must be becoming such a bore. But, here goes one more time.

It was actually a gradual process. Because of hurts and betrayals in relationships I began a slow decline into isolation. I began to question my approaches to relationships, my confidence in myself and, really, just stopped trying. More than anything, I stopped being me because of the relationships I thought I was losing when I was being me.

I realized right at the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, after some grief-stricken emotional periods of depression and outbursts that I cannot give up being the person I truly am just to make friends and make others happy.

God made me a certain way. I am an introvert. I am not shy by any means. But I get drained very easily around people and commotion. I need lots and lots and lots and lots of time alone to have any energy at all to give even small pieces of myself to others. So it doesn't surprise me that my Love Language is Acts of Service. I feel loved when others do something for me to "ease my load" and I love others by doing the same for them. I try to love in other ways, but with colossal failure.

My greatest day is when I can fix meals for my family, provide an easy day for them, help them do something, run an errand for a family member, take a care package to a friend. At the end of the day I have loved, and loved well.

In recent years I have let others' unhappiness with the way I love affect my total ability to love them. And then that has completely thrown me off track while I flounder around trying to figure out what in the heck to do to make someone like and/or love me.

Let me give an example of several years ago. We were attending a church in Oklahoma. Wednesday night services were a struggle for me. So, I volunteered to work in the snack bar in the youth building. I absolutely loved that area of service! I was providing for the kids, slowly getting to know them. They loved me and I got to love on them with my Love Language. I went home on Wednesday nights feeling really built up. And I grew very close to several youth. A few months into my service, the youth paster came to me and told me that he wanted me to start working at the "Welcome Desk" to guide students when they came in and help his assistant with whatever she needed. I hated that area of service. I am not a small-talker. I stood there alone most of the night. I built zero relationships. Gradually I just quit working with youth. He tried to change who I was to fit his needs. And I was kept from loving people the way I love. We all lost out.

I have kind of felt that way over the past several years. You want to be my friend? You have to do it this way. You want me to show you I approve of you? You have to do this, this and this. You want me to love you? You do this and then I will. If you don't, I'll find someone else to love.

So I have spun these wheels to the point that I have been stuck in a big ol' pile of mud.

Gradually I have pulled myself out of the muck and mire. I have chosen to focus on being the woman God has created me to be. He created me to be this introvert. He has created me to love in this certain way. There is a need for that kind of love. I have realized I cannot be all people to all people. I cannot fulfill each person's need for love, as each person cannot fulfill mine. When I am feeling lacking, I have to turn to God for His love and approval instead of man's, or woman's. It is nobody's job to make me feel loved. I certainly hope others will show me kindness and grace, and even love. But when they don't, it's my fault for how I react to it instead of his or her fault for how they are not fulfilling my needs.

Now this is not to say that I will not try to be sensitive to the Love Languages and needs of my family and dearest friends. Rick has completely opposite needs for love than I have, and I suck at fulfilling those needs because they are so outside my wheelhouse. But that doesn't mean I stop trying to love him in those ways. It just means that I stop beating myself up when I "fail" because I am definitely going to. I have and I will. Each of my kids has different needs for love. I try to recognize those and fulfill them as much as I can. Same goes for my extended family members and closest friends.

But do you see what starts to happen? If I love Rick this way, each kid their way, my parents their way, each friend the way they need, then I am not left to love them the way I love and I lose myself. They get jipped because they aren't getting authentic love out of me. They are getting the me that is trying to please them. And I am completely drained and useless. And grumpy. And tired. And spent. And, eventually, done.

Somewhere in there is balance. I am desperately working to find it. (If you have any suggestions, let me know.)

But this I have learned: I have to be myself if you want to really feel any love at all.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge


Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday. 

Having the house full with the whole family all day long on Christmas Day. We were in our pjs/comfy clothes and new Christmas t-shirts watching tv, cooking, playing games, etc. It was a busy day, but my heart was full.

What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store bought? If it was homemade did you make it?

My dad's fried chicken on Christmas Eve. Yum!

What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holiday?

The joy and smiles in my mom and aunt when I presented them with a jar of homemade spiced cucumbers just like my grandma used to make. I think it really made them happy to have a memory of her at Christmas.

What does fresh start mean to you?

The Webster's definition of fresh is - "having it's original qualities unimpaired". I do a lot of impairing of the original qualities that I desire to have. So a fresh start is a redo. I evaluate the qualities I want to see in myself and start over with them unimpaired by all the damage I tend to do to them. Those good qualities get a fresh washing and get to start out clean again.

On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being no so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain.

I am going to say a 5. I slacked off a little too much in 2016.

Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they'd like to see banished from the Queen's English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness ... Here's the 2017 list of banished words: You, sir - focus - Bete Noire - town hall meeting - post truth - guesstimate - 831 - historic - manicured - echo chamber - on fleek - bigly - ghost - dadbod - listicle - get your dander up - selfie drone - frankenfruit - disruption. Which word on the list would you like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

I haven't even heard of the majority of these words. So, I'll choose "on fleek". It's just stupid. The word I'd like to see eliminated is "bestie". If you are someone's bestie, you are not their best friend. Wait about 12 minutes and you'll see that when they name someone else as their "bestie".

Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year.

I am planning to give more of myself this year. I already started with taking on a volunteer position with the local Senior Citizen Center by delivering meals once a week. I know that it is a blessing to those that receive the meals, but I am most certainly more blessed by their sweet appreciation.

Insert your own random thought here.

Yesterday we honored my Great Aunt Mildred who passed away at the age of 93. She was, without a doubt, the classiest woman I have ever known. As I sat in her little home church I was so inspired by her, even in her death. She was so loved. My Aunt Mildred was not a meek and mild lady. She said what she felt, but always with love. Every time I saw her she looked lovely, dressed nicely with makeup on and her hair fixed. She never stopped contributing to her family and their needs. She was just a joy to be around. She jolted a renewal in my spirit yesterday. She made me want to be well-loved, which is something I haven't cared too much about in recent years. She made me want to make family time, extended family time, more of a priority. I am thankful for my Aunt Mildred and am thrilled that she is with Jesus and her sweet husband who passed away 11 years ago and her son who tragically passed away 30 years ago. She will be missed by us, but I can just see her laughing in Heaven as she hugs the necks or her favorite guys.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window ... Well, it's dark. I started this post this morning but had an extra busy day so never got it finished. It is now 8:30 p.m. and I am finally in bed.

I am thinking ... about how I desperately need a day at home doing nothing but reading and binge watching Netflix. I do not like so much activity so many days in a row!

I am thankful ... for warm heat to come home to after several cold trips outside today.

One of my favorite things ... is now Catan! Have you played it? I have wanted to buy it for years but never have. I bought it right before Christmas but the printed instructions were so complicated that we put off playing it. Brynne, my sister-in-law Julie, and I watched a Youtube video on New Year's Eve that explained it very well and then jumped right in. It is so fun! I have found myself lying awake at night strategizing!

I am creating ... absolutely nothing. Creating meals and crafts and activities and family get togethers has wiped me out. I do not think I have one creative cell left in my brain.

I am watching ... not much of anything this week. I haven't sat down in front of the t.v. for more than a few seconds in several days.

I am wearing ... black dress skinny pants, a gray sweater, black and gray scarf, and gray boots. PJ bottoms and a t-shirt that says "As long as we have wine the holidays will be fine." That was my Christmas Day shirt.

I am reading ... Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty. 

I am listening to ... "Billie" on the 5kto10k app telling me what to do and how to run and for how long. "Constance" was a little too sweet for me. I need someone to tell me to just do it. 

I am hoping ... that DirectTV and ABC work out their differences before the return of How to Get Away with Murder.

I am learning ... that I really want to get back to regularly attending church on Sunday mornings. At my Aunt Mildred's funeral today, her daughter (my second cousin) stood to tell about how important weekly attendance at church was to Aunt Mildred and how thankful she was that her parents had made that such a priority in her life as a child. I heard, "Get to church." As we were leaving the funeral today, that was at a very small "country-type" Methodist church in a dinky little town 10 miles away, Kyndal said, "Why don't we start going to church here?" I felt something while I was there in the service. And, apparently, she did, too. I think we are planning on attending this Sunday.

In the kitchen ... we are back to eating a little more healthy. The holidays were full of lots of yum. Now it's light soups, salads, small portions, more clean eating again. We were all ready for it.

In the schoolroom ... Break. Break. Break. Break. Ain't nothin' goin' on here.

Board Room ... Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Chicken. This is on our menu this week!

Post Script ... I am a big Lysa TerKeurst fan. She just speaks to me. Starting today, she has a 5-day Challenge called "Reclaim Your Name" from her newest book Finding I Am. Today's challenge post was called "Why Does This Hurt So Much"? Do you have a deep hurt (or hurts) or a rejection (or several rejections) that have derailed you? This small study might be for you.

Shared Quote ... "30 Problems That Only Introverts Will Understand" (Uncle John, maybe this will make it more clear.) You have to go to the link to read them all, but here are a few ...

  • When you want to cut all ties with civilization but still be on the internet.
  • That feeling of dread that washes over you when the phone rings and you are not mentally prepared to chat.
  • When you are able to enjoy parties and meetings, but after a short amount of time wish you were home in your pajamas.
  • Having more conversations in your head than you do in real life.
  • Carrying a book to a public place so no one will bug you, but other people take that as a conversations starter.
  • When you hear "Are you okay?" or "Why are you so quiet?" for the umpteenth time.
  • Not wanting to be alone but wanting to be left alone and people not understanding that.

A Moment from my Day ... Oh dang, I haven't uploaded any photos since last week and I am too lazy to do it. Let's just suffice it to say that I have had many moments to my days the last week. And I am pooped.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Year of Goodreads (and some not so good)

I started off 2016 with a good reading streak. It was about that time I heard about Goodreads, so I set up a 2016 Reading Challenge of 25 books. I had never read that many books in a year. I knew it was a stretch, but I love to read so I really wanted to commit to it. I also decided that the 25 books would not include any read alouds the kids and I would do in the year, and we usually read about 15 novels in a school year.

 Reading is like drinking water ... the more you do it the more you crave it. Once I got started reading this past year I just couldn't quit. My list of 'To Be Read' books just grew and grew and I kept reading.

I was shocked that in 2016 I read 53 books! Here is a summary of what I read this past year.

I have made a Reading Challenge Goal for 2017 of 50 books, not including any books that we read aloud as part of homeschooling. Wish me luck!