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Friday, November 6, 2009

Looking at the Sky on Friday - peeking through

I'm posting my contribution to Looking at the Sky on Friday, but better late than never. This is what I see when I glance up while standing outside my front door... These pictures don't do justice to the beauty of the leaves with the sky in the background.




Check out others at Crazy Working Mom.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain by Doctors Meier and Henderson

On My Bookshelf

"Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain: Uncover the Hidden Potential Beyond Our Pain," by Paul Meier, MD and David L. Henderson, MD, was written to teach readers how to confidently face painful struggles in a way that allows growth as well as emotional and spiritual maturity. The book explores the seven most common life challenges: injustice, rejection, loneliness, loss, discipline, failure and death.

Honestly, I had difficulty getting through this book because it seemed a little too preachy for me. However, I could see the purpose and how it would help someone who 1) is easy to reach through these authors' style of writing, and 2) is thinking that they've lost all hope.

Despite my initial impressions of the book there were definite areas and passages that stuck out for me. From the introduction, "It is not easy to find purpose beyond our pain in such trails, but God assures us it is there. Over and over the Bible reveals a good and loving God who allows our pain as part of His greater plan of redemption and new creations. Through the prophet Isaiah, God assures His people, 'I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born' (Isa. 66:9 NVC) If you focus on Him during your pain, it will be worth the wait."

This book, I believe, definitely offers truth, necessary Biblical references, examples and tangible steps to take. I simply did not find it interesting. It could be because I don't believe it's relevant for me at this time, however, it is one that I will keep on my bookshelf for reference and later reading.

Judge for yourself, get your own copy of the book then let me know what you think. If you've already read it, please leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts.

I am a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program and received a copy of the book to review.
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Moving in Los Angeles

I know someone who recently moved from the west coast to the east coast by car, and I'm betting she would have loved to have hired a moving company instead of doing all of the work herself. Even if you're moving locally, it's convenient and easier to hire a moving company.

In California there is Moving Companies Los Angeles that's insured and bonded serving the residential and commercial local area. They offer competitive prices, top customer service, free estimates, professional packing using experienced and professionally trained movers. Use Los Angeles Office Movers to take care of your business moving needs. U
Moving Company Los Angeles


Call 1-800-431-3920 to get a free moving quote if you're moving in Los Angeles.
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Music lovers, lovin' music

Inadvertently I've raised four children who love all types of music. My oldest daughter jams to R&B, hip hop, classical, rock, Motown and everything in between. She often bursts out singing songs I've never heard and if I say something she'll look at me and say, "What? You started it."

She's right. When she was little I always played the radio and cassette tapes (yes tapes!). I mostly sang old Motown hits and she easily memorized them. It's funny how her brain clicks for music... she can often memorize a song the first time she hears it.

My three youngest children are also taking to music. They enjoy gospel, rock, hip hop, rap, R&B and Reggae. Today when I was in the car with the younger girls a song came on that I'd never heard - Fireflies by Owl City. When we arrived at Amareah's school, I left the car running so I could hear the rest of the song, turned around and saw Amareah bopping her head.

"You like that song?"

She nodded, not wanting to miss a word.

When it was over I said, "That was called Fireflies."

"Yea," she said, having heard it herself. I, on the other hand, had read it on the radio read out.

After taking Amareah to her classroom and getting back in the van, I heard two other songs that I really enjoyed: Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus and Come on Get Higher by Matt Nathanson. Never heard of him. So, I decided to search for these folks on YouTube and share them with you here.

Before we get to that though, I wanted to reveal something I've learned about myself. "Back in the day" you probably wouldn't catch me exploring other radio stations. I only wanted to listen to a certain type of music - hip hop, R&B, Reggae and jazz. Now my tastes have matured and expanded. I even surprise myself with some of the songs that I like. I guess it goes a little beyond the beat now... It's about the words as well.

Here's to all the music lovers out there:


I was surprised at how much I like Miley's song... She's really growing up.




What do you think? Did you enjoy these songs? Heard them before?
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Don't you just love them!?

Quite a bit ago I won a $100 gift card from Famous Footwear at the Cutie Booty Cakes blog. I've been meaning to share my absolutely cute clogs with you, but it kept slipping my mind. So, without further delay, meet my new pair of clogs:



Don't you just love them. Besides these shoes, I bought my oldest daughter a pair of shoes and we both got some new socks - about 12 pair! - and I still have a little bit of money left on the gift card.

Thanks Renee for holding such a fabulous giveaway and to Famous Footwear. A girl can never have too many shoes. ;)
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Wordless Wednesday: Model material



5 Minutes for Mom WW participants
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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I do not want to share!

My health and weight loss journal

After two weeks of craving sweets (specifically chocolate) and giving into the cravings, I have gotten back on track. The last two days - an eternity - I've been eating Lean Cuisine's for lunch. Yesterday I fed my 2-year-old daughter Anna, who had already been munching away most of the day, and then sat down to enjoy my lunch. Guess who wanted some?

{SIGH}

I.DID.NOT.WANT.TO.SHARE.

I got over my frustration of not being able to do one thing by myself since she's been home during the day. Well, I got over it a little bit and decided that if she ate some of my Lean Cuisine then that would be even less calories, right? Yea. Come dinner time I couldn't figure out why I was so freaking starving.

I.had.to.share.

Today, I did the same things. Fixed her lunch then sat down with mine. She said, "I want chicken."

"You have chicken."

"I want some," she whined looking at my lunch.

"You have some," I pointed to her plate, "that's chicken."

I used my fork to cut her Perdue chicken breast dinosaur-shaped nuggets (that were on sale at Publix - BOGO! Score!) and fed it to her. Even though she had just sat there and eaten about three of them, she made a face that slowly changed into: "Oh..."

She's stubborn though and didn't give up. Neither did I. I ate all of my lunch by myself and I don't feel guilty! Sorry, call me a bad mother. {Guffaw} Hopefully today will set the pattern for the rest of my week... the rest of her life. Hey, a mom can wish, right?

Now, onto other topics. Keep in mind: This is "a woman's world!" I am a woman. And this is the health and weight loss journal. Okay...

WARNING: Following is potential TMI. Please proceed with caution! You've been warned.

Women, you know how when you enter a stall in the women's restroom not too long after another woman has exited? And you get that unpleasant, abusive whiff of someone else's personal area? It's the most insulting thing, isn't it? I mean can people keep their smells to themselves? LOL

Well, those of us who have older daughters understand this "offense" on the home front. Ever walked into the restroom right after your teenage daughter? Adult daughter? Or one who has recently hit puberty? Good gosh-almighty! I have to say here, as gross as all of this is, it isn't always a nasty smell it's just the simple knowledge of the fact of WHAT the smell is and WHERE it is coming from.

It's a violation of my nose. ROFL

Funny thing is I was talking about this with my teenage daughter and she eeewwed right along with me. Then it dawned on me that she must have the same reaction when walking in behind me. AARGH! EEEW! OMG! I voiced that and she solemnly nodded.

My dilemma with all of this is that I am offended by my own fragrance. :O ... Yes, I admit it. When this scent changed (due to hormones, pregnancy and age), it was like a physical assault. What the heeeyyyy? I think I mentioned it to my mother and asked why in the world she didn't tell me this would happen. Of course, to her, this was normal. I am an aging virgin and was - still am - shocked by the entire experience.

Shouldn't there be a manual given out about this? It should be apart of regular mother/daughter conversations along with puberty, menstruation and s-e-x. My daughter won't be surprised about 22 years from now when she walks into the bathroom and smells someone else then realizes it's herself who she smells. Double freaking eeewww!

What makes it so bad is that the changes keep happening. As soon as I adjust to one aroma another develops. Then another. {SIGH!} Does it ever end? I've been told that I don't... uh, hmmm... never mind. Insert awkward snicker and silence here.

I know that I have a sensitive nose so maybe this isn't as bad for some as it is for me. I'm sorry. I couldn't resist sharing. Can you relate!?
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Weekly Inspiration: Developing creativity

Sometimes I go off on my own little tangent during my Weekly Inspiration post, but today I'm going to feed off of what Heather* queried of us: "Do you actively work at developing your creativity?"

My overall answer is YES! However, I don't think it's something that I consciously do each day. I believe I am a creative and talented writer (yup, I think I was born with the talent) who knows that the only way to keep it fueled, progressing and flowing is to constantly work on it. Because writing is something I love to do it's natural for me to simply do it. By just doing it I have noticed that my writing has changed, and my hope is that it has matured.

There are other areas that I am creative, but I don't nurture them as much and they don't necessarily come naturally. For instance, I'm a fairly descent artist. I showed an interest and a talent when I was younger. That talent was encouraged by an uncle who is an extremely gifted, and tortured, artist. As I grew up, I didn't take the time to nurture the talent. I think I became a little intimidated when I went to high school and saw the obvious talent that other kids had.

Then when I went back to college in my 20s I took an art class that I loved. We used different mediums and I learned what I was good with: I could work wonders with charcoal, pastels and clay. Pencil and other things - not so much. I made a piece once that caused my instructor to say, "You have an art deco style."

Art deco? Wow, I thought, I have a style.

This is the piece that my instructor called art deco. It's sitting on a dusty shelf in my home office. Maybe it needs a place of honor.
If I recall correctly, we were told to incorporate more than one technique that we learned.


I made this piece in the same class. It's on my desk holding up some books and whatnot.
I guess it's a bookend. :)
I think I actually named these two pieces, but I don't recall the names.

Because life became so busy I have not been able to (well, I guess I haven't taken the time to) work on my art even though I bought a kit for myself a couple of years ago. I'd also love to take another art class. I think about that part of my creativeness quite often. In fact, while helping my 6-year-old son with his homework he asked me to draw a couple of pictures for him. I used an ink pen and was surprised at how well some of the drawings turned out.

"I didn't know you could draw that, Mommy!" Andre said with what sounded like pride and awe in his voice. I smiled and gazed at the drawings. I didn't know I still had it in me.

There must be a message in all of this for me because before I sat down at the computer and read this week's prompt for Weekly Inspiration (Is it in you?), I was reading an article in the November issue of Redbook magazine titled "Make time for what you love." I've been making time for writing although not all the types of writing that I'd like to do, and now I realize I need to make time for all of my artistic and creative endeavors. They make up who I am; nurturing me in the process.

If I'm nurtured and fulfilled it can only benefit those around me, right? And it should do the same for you. Pop on over to Maternal Spark (even if you're a guy) and think more about the creativity that dwells within you. The act on it. I know I will.

*Weekly Inspiration is hosted by Heather at Maternal Spark.
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kids + martial arts

Tomorrow my middle daughter and my son are going to try out Tae Kwon Do. I saw an ad in a local family magazine where a studio is offering a free private lesson/meeting, a free uniform and two weeks free classes. During the classes the children will learn the basics and it will also be determined if that have the skill and desire to continue. And it's not until this time that they'll talk about price. I'm excited to see if they'll take to it; I think it'll be good for discipline and control. Hopefully, it'll also help to control my son's never-ending movement and energy. It works for me either way as long as they don't use a Bokken, which is a wooden Japanese sword. I think that's mostly used in Karate though... but you get the point.
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Just a mug

Quite a few Valentine days ago, I gave my husband (now my soon-to-be ex) a hot chocolate gift set that contained two mugs and four packets of hot chocolate mix. At the time he enjoyed having a hot drink with me every now and then, and I thought the mugs were cute to use together. We shared a couple of drinks together using those mugs.

When I was packing his dishes and some other stuff I thought he would use/need after we separated, I debated over sending the mugs. They were his, of course, because they'd been a gift. But knowing him I assumed he would trash them. If I sent one he may not remember where it came from and use it anyway.

So, I kept one.

Sometimes I open the cabinet to grab my favorite mug - a giant yellow, flower-covered one - and it isn't there. It, of course, is dirty or buried in a sea of clean dishes. My hand hoovers over the one with the hearts encircling its lip. Sometimes I touch or hold it, occasional I move it over or back, there are times I have used it and other times that I just stare at it.

It's a weird set of feelings. Not necessarily pain, love or regret. Maybe it's a combination of thoughts and memories that flood my brain so quickly that they're gone in just a second. Causing confusion. Apathy. Regret. And, often, a total shut down.

Maybe I should dispose of it; maybe someday I will. For now I keep it as a reminder of everything I've learned over the past 10 years. A note to myself not to repeat the same mistakes. One day it will cease to be a symbol of a failed marriage and destroyed dreams, and it will return to being just a mug.
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