Thursday, August 30, 2012

Very Spicy Taco Soup Recipe

TACO SOUP - Very Hot... Not for the weak stomached!

1 lb. 95% lean ground beef sirloin
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes (I usually get the kind that has chilies
already in it)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 packet (1.25 oz.) taco seasoning mix
1 packet Original Ranch salad dressing mix 
1 to 1.5 cups water (the less water you add, the thicker the “soup”)
1 bag frozen corn
Fresh cilantro, chopped (as much as you like… I like a lot)
2-3 fresh chopped jalapeños or habaneras’ *this is optional* 
(**Remember to use rubber gloves while chopping! The oil is hard to wash off and will burn your fingers and anything else you touch!)

·         Brown the beef; drain the fat from the meat & add taco seasoning.
·         Put all of the ingredients into a big pot and bring to a boil. The longer you cook it, the softer the peppers get, so it’s up to you on how long you cook it. I usually only do until the frozen corn is hot.
·         You can top with sour cream, shredded cheese, and/or eat with Fritos or tortilla chips.
·         Leftovers can be frozen and reheated later if needed… but I usually make a double batch and it’s eaten in just a few days.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jesus, Take the Wheel

Sometimes you just need to pray. Life seems to be going just fine, and then all of a sudden, the phone rings... You take a step back and maybe reevaluate where you’re headed and how you’re getting there.

I received just such a phone call today. It turns out that a close relative of mine is having a stint put in tomorrow morning. I realize that over time, this procedure has become a "routine" thing, but routine or not, I'm still going to worry!

So, after the phone call, I hit my knees, and took some time to bow my head and have a talk with God. I know that worrying about this surgery is not going to help... in fact there is absolutely nothing that I can do to change the outcome at this point... so the only thing left was to pray.

As long as I was down on my knees, I took the time to be thankful for all of the blessings in my life, and say prayers for some of the other people that I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by. It had occurred to me that it had been far too long since I had actually just spent some time focusing on spiritual matters. I was due, and it felt good.

Then, on my way to work, I heard a song that always moves me to tears, no matter what state my life is in at the time... "Jesus Take the Wheel," by Carrie Underwood. I felt like it was a message, letting me know to just trust in Jesus, and everything will turn out ok. So, instead of stressing and worrying about my loved one tonight... I am stepping back and praying that God take care of him and keep him safe.

Anyone that is reading this, if you wouldn't mind setting a clock/alarm for 9:20am tomorrow (EST), please take a moment to say a prayer for my family member. It would mean so much to me..!! Thank you.

P.S. I've added a link to the song if you're interested...
 Jesus, Take the Wheel

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finding the Right Words

About a week ago, I learned that a friend's husband passed away. He had been sick for a long time, and he reached the point where he wasn't able to fight any longer. My friend has a little girl, and they are now going through the grieving process. Although they knew that he was very sick, it is still a very difficult thing to deal with, no matter how much "preparation time" they may have had. I felt so much pain for her loss, yet I had no words to adequately express myself to her. All I could come out with was, "I am so sorry."

In addition to that news, another friend of mine told me that one of his friends had committed suicide this past weekend. I didn't know that person, but I could feel the pain that my friend was feeling. {As some of you may know, a friend of mine tried to do the same thing about a year or so ago. Thank goodness he wasn't successful.} There are so many confusing, unanswered questions with suicides. It is so much more difficult to find closure here. Upon hearing the news, I was faced with the difficult position of trying to find the right words... do the right thing.

It seems that no matter where I go in life, and what things I go through, I still have no idea what the right thing is to say in these situations. I feel terrible, but I am keenly aware that no matter what comes out of my mouth, it will not make the pain go away. So, in knowing that, I feel at a loss. I feel awkward with anything that comes out of my mouth.

Am I the only person like this? Maybe nobody really knows how to adequately express their deepest condolences... or maybe it's just me.

When I went through cancer, people always had very nice things to say, and although it didn't change my situation, it was so comforting to know that my friends and family were there for me when I needed them. Even after all of that, if someone tells me that they are going through something similar, I immediately jump into "take action" mode and start asking about surgeries, hospitals, tests, chemo, radiation, and so on. I completely skip the "I'm so sorry" stage because it feels weird to me. I never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me, and so I refuse to feel sorry for someone that is capable of fighting. I have no idea if that is wrong! But, I am more equipped (mentally) to help with the "let's fix this problem" stage.

So, at least there, I feel somewhat helpful. When there is a death, I haven't got a clue. My friend whose husband passed away lives too far away for me to be able to make the funeral. I sent my condolences... although I don't feel like it was really adequate. I will be attending a memorial service with my other friend tomorrow. Although I didn't know the person that is now gone, I feel like it is the best that I can do to support my friend.

I don't know what words I will find tomorrow. I am hoping I won't be too awkward... but mostly, I just want to be there for my friend when he is feeling such a loss.

Meanwhile, I am saying prayers for the families and friends of the people that have passed. Time will help heal the open wound, but those loved ones will always be missed. Hopefully, they will be able to find closure in the best way possible.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Describe Yourself With One Word, Summary

After talking to my friends for this miniseries of blogs, and hearing how they would describe themselves to me, I've learned a couple of things.

1. How a person views them self is not always how others may see them.
2. Asking a person to explain why they see them self in that light can give you more insight on their personality.
3. Finally, the listener, if they pay attention, can learn something about themselves as well.

How we act, react, and interact with other people has a lot to do with both personalities. Let me give an example. Many of my friends will say that I am an outgoing, confident person. On the other hand, some will tell you that I am reserved. Why two different answers? I'm still the same person! It may have to do with how well the person actually knows me... but I think that mostly, it has to do a lot with their own personality. Some people in my life, I am outgoing and confident around, while I can be very reserved around others. The people I'm confident around make feel comfortable with being myself. I don't feel like they will criticize or judge me, so I can be whomever I want. Other people, maybe they don't judge me specifically, but they have a more conservative nature about themselves, causing me to react by being more reserved around them. We feed off of each other's personalities.

One of the people that I talked about in this series is always trying to get me to open up... "Use your words," he says to me. As I've said before, I am a very guarded person, and he sees that. He intentionally forces me out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it works, and I'll talk... sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I just clam up and it's the end of the conversation! Why is he able to force himself past my walls at all? I've known some people for years, and they have never learned as much about me as he has in just a few months. Mostly, I feel that he is aware of my walls and intentionally tries to knock them down. Most people hit a dead end that I have created, and revert back to small talk. They don't care enough to get to know what is really me. I guess they figure that if I'm not willing to just lay it out there and give them the story of my life, then they're not going to work for it. I see it the other way around. If they aren’t willing to try to get to know me, they I don’t care to share with them anyways.

As much as one person has had to work to get to know me, someone comes along very rarely, and I immediately trust them. They don't have to push for information... it flows freely! We can laugh, talk, share, and I feel completely at ease. What is it about that person that I trust wholeheartedly, immediately? I don't think my feelings are going to get hurt. I don't feel like all of my secrets are going to be given to someone else. I feel perfectly comfortable being myself, no matter what my mood is that day. I love that! Likewise, no matter what she says or does, I feel no need to criticize or think less of her. I think she is great… why would I want to change that? Our personalities mesh very well together.

Sometimes, I find that there are people that do want to know more about me. They try hard to get over, under, around and even through my walls. For some reason, however, the harder they try, the more guarded I become. It’s almost like my subconscious mind is telling me that they are not someone that I should be opening up to. I have someone in my life like that right now. He is a great person, but for someone reason, the harder he pulls, the harder I feel myself pulling back. I can’t exactly put my finger on why. This is just my natural reaction to his personality.

At a point in my life, not that long ago, I had stated that “Relationships make me feel like I am suffocating.” After some self assessment, I’ve figured out that it’s really not so much relationships that do it… and it’s not the person that I’m in a relationship with… it’s me. As I explained earlier, it is how I react and interact with the person that I’m paired with. We feed off of and react to other people’s personalities.

In addition to that, something inside of me is so afraid of rejection that I am willing to just forget about what I like and don’t like, and everything I do is about the other person’s wants and needs. I over-compromise to the point of my unhappiness, which leads to theirs as well.

For instance, if that person is more introverted than I am, and we go to a party, I feel bad if I walk around the room introducing myself to strangers because they may see it as flirting, or as me leaving them out. But, being the introvert that they are, they don’t want to just randomly meet strangers and talk to them! So, in my mind, I’m suffocating because now I’m just standing at a party, talking to the only three people there that I know. That is not fun to me... but worse, I won’t say a word to them about my unhappiness.

I tend to lose a sense of who I am… I completely engross myself in the relationship. Riding in the car, we will listen to what he likes to… at the time, it seems like it’s just something minor, but after years of listening to his music, I can’t even remember what kind I like any more! When choosing a place to eat, my reaction is usually to the tune of, “I don’t care, just pick a place.” What if I hate the food there? I’m so busy compromising, trying to make the relationship work that in the long run, I am compromising myself!

So, I had to step back from my last relationship. I needed to figure out myself. These are some things that I’ve learned about myself… even though I am guarded and sometimes moody; I am also funny, outgoing, and very social. I like older rock and roll more than any other kind of music. Reading books is my hobby, and I’m perfectly ok with being a little nerdy about it. I love sushi, pasta and taco soup. I enjoy hanging out with my friends, whether it is going to a bar, chilling at the house, or going to the pool. My friends are very important to me! I like running on cool mornings to clear my head, and I do not like spending my time watching television. As much as I love my friends, I get in moods sometimes when I want to be left alone.  

Above all, I have learned that whether I am in a relationship or not, I need to set boundaries for myself. I will still react off of other people’s personalities… I think that’s how we all get along. But, I can no longer compromise my happiness and self worth because of my fear of rejection. In the long run, I would be unhappy anyways, because of losing my sense of self.

I like who I am. I think I’ll keep it that way.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Describe Yourself With One Word, Part 3

Today, I have two friends that I have talked to about the word they would use to describe themselves. The reason that I am incorporating them both into one blog is because they have similar backgrounds. They are both Cancers and one is the oldest child while the other is the oldest male child.

The first of the two guys, told me that he felt the best word to describe himself was "Tenacious." For anyone that is unsure, it means to hold persistently to something, such as a point of view.

I have known him for a very long time, and I would have to agree. He might have a bit of a stubborn streak! He is someone that I dated, and we managed to track each other down again a few years ago, the same way everyone does... through Facebook. It is so good to get to know him again after all these years, but I have found that he really hasn't changed much at all. He is still stubborn, and usually goes with whatever he feels is right. I'm sure it can be a difficult thing to live with, but it can be a very endearing quality as well, if he has his mind set in the right place.

While I do agree that tenacious does accurately describe him, I feel that he is very much a romantic. He is apt to daydream, and sometimes, while talking to him, I feel like I need to bring him back down to reality. I think that since I am very much not a romantic, that is why I enjoy talking to him. He lightens my moods with his fantasies of "What If..." I appreciate that in him.

The second person that I spoke with described himself as "Grateful." He said that he fully appreciates everything that people (friends and family) have done for him throughout his life. He's had some hard times, and those loved ones have really pitched in and helped him when it was needed. This is also someone that I have dated, so I was close enough to see how much love he is surrounded by and really understand where he was coming from.

The first day that I started this series, I said that my friend had described himself as "Alive," and I thought that I had someone more appropriate for that word. This second person is who I was thinking of. He may or may not be currently employed, but he doesn't stress over things the way I do. He will just turn on the stereo and dance around the room with me. When he goes places, he laughs this loud belly laugh coming from deep in his ribcage. Even when something is bothering him, he doesn't let it drag him down, and he continues to live life at 360 degrees.

Since both of these people are Cancers, I thought it would be interesting to look up the compatibility between them and myself, a Libra. If you've read my posts before, you probably know that horoscopes fascinate me. I don't read my horoscope daily to "see what the day holds." I don't think you can get any more information from those things than by opening a fortune cookie (I don't mean to offend if you believe otherwise). But, I do think it's just something fun to do.

So, as I said, I looked up the compatibility chart between Cancers and Libras... Let's just say it doesn't look good! Apparently, they are pretty conservative and like to be homebodies, while I'm very social and enjoy going out, spending time with all kinds of people. To be honest, since I dated both of these people at very different times in my life, I would have to agree with that general assessment, no matter what my age was!

Cancers are supposed to be:
Emotional and loving
Intuitive and imaginative
Shrewd and cautious
Protective and sympathetic

Sounds pretty accurate to me!

In my last blog, we also discussed how birth order might have an effect on an individual's personality. Being the oldest, and the oldest boy in the family, respectively, I believe they both show signs of it. The article that I found said, "Firstborns are natural leaders... reliable, conscientious and perfectionists who don't like surprises... many are also compliant people pleasers.... have a strong need for approval from anyone in charge."

I don't think all of those words fit both of these men exactly, but I do think it's a pretty good general description of their personality tendencies. More than anything, they are conscientious of people and things surrounding them. Although our horoscopes say that we're not a good match, I can honestly say that I appreciated the time that I had with them, and I am so grateful to have them both still in my life as some of my very closest friends. That's all I really need to know about compatibility!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Describe Yourself With One Word, Part 2

Me: I'm gonna write a blog on personalities. I have homework for you. If you could choose one word to describe yourself, what would it be, and why?

Her: I really don't know. I think strong or tough would be good. So many words come to mind... Loving. Everything I do in my life is for [her child]. I give up so much for love.

Me: Yes you do. You are an amazing mom! You are also a kind, giving, and loving friend! You bring out the best in me... I love that about you!

At the risk of spilling too much personal information about my friend, she is a wonderful mom, but carries some guilt about the fact that she's not always able to do everything for her child that she thinks she needs to do. I have seen her in action, and she does just as well as any of the rest of us! As parents, we all learn as we go. None of us dove into parenthood knowing all of the right answers! She is doing well, and her kiddo is beautiful, smart, and well taken care of.

So, from the psychological point of view that we discussed yesterday... I question if perhaps her subconscious mind was somehow trying to convince and reassure herself (or me) of her parenting skills. I already think she's a great Mom, but she questions herself. So, the one-word answer could have covered how she acts towards her friends, her parents, her siblings, her roommate, etc., but when asked to define how she is loving, the answer went down to her child. I found that interesting.

Was it a parental knee-jerk response, or was it something else?

If I were to describe my friend with one word, I would choose "Worldly." She was begging me to tell her what the word was, but I refused because the word by itself may sound negative. I don't mean it in a bad way at all! In fact, I mean it as she has done a lot of things, been a lot of places, gone through a lot of really difficult issues... is 5 years younger than I am... and still manages to be a very caring, loving person. She gives people a chance, but she is no fool. She is nearly as perceptive as the person I talked about yesterday, but manages to keep her opinions to herself. She's "Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, then sold it in a yard sale!" Yet she still cares and tries to let people in.

I think it is interesting that two very different people can each have a lifetime of difficulties, and yet walk away with completely different attitudes. I am guarded and constantly waiting for the other shoe to fall. She is the very opposite! She cares, she opens herself up, and she loves until that person proves her wrong.

I can't help but wonder if these differences have anything to do with birth order. If you Google that sort of thing, there are varied opinions on the subject. Some scientists claim that birth order can help shape an individuals' personality. I tend to think that it does make some sort of a difference. Below, I've pasted some snippets from an article I found on the subject...

Personality Traits Linked to Birth Order

- Clearly, firstborns are natural leaders. They also tend to be reliable, conscientious and perfectionists who don't like surprises. Although, firstborns are typically aggressive, many are also compliant people pleasers. They are model children who have a strong need for approval from anyone in charge.

- Middle children may not feel they have a special place in the family so friends and peer groups become much more important. They can usually read people well, they are peacemakers who see all sides of a situation, they are independent and inventive.

- Babies of the family are social and outgoing, they are the most financially irresponsible of all birth orders. They just want to have a good time. These kids love the limelight. While lastborns may be charming, they also have the potential to be manipulative.

With all of that being said, I'll use myself as the example first. I was the baby in my household, and I was a pain as a teenager, always getting into trouble. I am very social and I do love to have fun. I enjoy being in the limelight with my friends, but not around strangers. I have serious stage fright! Finally, I disagree about being financially irresponsible. I have a lot of bills from my divorce, and everything gets paid immediately after payday, before any money is spent on "fun stuff."

Now, my friend is more complicated. She was born as the oldest/only child, but then later became a middle child through remarriage. So, I believe she has a slight combination of both personalities... As the oldest child, she is reliable and slightly OCD about her stuff, and I believe she might have a tendancy to want approval from some of the other people in her life. As a middle child, she has very close relationships with her friends, and she does try to remain the peacemaker whenever possible.

In retrospect, I would have to say that her word, "Loving," is the most suitable for her. I believe she hit the nail on the head with that one. She has just as many reasons as anyone to be bitter or negative about life... and yet she prevails and her smile and amazing sense of humor just shine through instead. Perhaps she could teach me a lesson or two in opening up and letting people in!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Describe Yourself With One Word

I have a wonderful uncle that has his Doctorate in Psychology... When I was going to college, I discussed with him my choices in majors and so on. I finally settled on a minor in Psychology because people in general fascinate me. I was itching to learn more about what made them "tick."

Towards the end of our conversation, he says to me,
"Those that are the most interested in psychology are the
ones that need it the most."

Well, I can't argue with that logic... he may be on to something there...!!!

So, I was talking to a friend today, and we were discussing some things that are currently going on in my life. My response was that it was no big deal; I am a resilient person. His first language is not English, so he asked me to explain:

re·sil·ient adj.
1. Marked by the ability to recover readily, as from misfortune.
2. Capable of returning to an original shape or position, as after having been compressed.

As our conversation continued, I got to thinking about that word. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that if I needed to pick just one word to describe myself, that had to be it. I could choose something like "survivor," but it’s so cliché. Besides, I don't feel that really fits all of me, the way resilient does.

I've had some difficult things happen (as we all have), and I always make it through, no matter what. This is what has made me who I am today... stubborn, guarded, but strong and still having hope in my future. I will not be broken. At the end of the day, I can turn my face to the sun, kick off my shoes and still honestly say, "Life is indeed good."

So, I asked my friend what word he would use to describe himself. He said, "Alive." He said that he is not only enjoying his life, but he learns from everything that has happened around him. "Living is my school and being alive is my pleasure."

I liked that description because he is the type to "enjoy the moment." That is one of my favorite things about him! Then he asked what I would have chosen for him. I responded with Perceptive or Insightful. This is what gets him through life!

If I were to compare our personalities, I would say that his perception is what helps him. He has an idea of how people will react before they do. He is very good at reading personalities. If we were playing football, he would be on the offensive team, while my resilience puts me on the defensive team. I don't have the same instinct. Instead, I block, and then pick up the pieces after things don't go according to my plan.

We are both thinkers and planners, but in different ways. Because of our different outlooks, he might only need a "Plan B," but because of my own life's experiences, I would have "Plans B, C, and D." We both have the ability to look to the future and see what we want, and develop a plan for a specific outcome, but we do it in very different ways.

Now, this is where the psychology part came in. After that conversation, my gears were still turning (big surprise!), so I asked the same question to several other friends. One of the things that I came up with was that I feel that the word the person uses to describe them self tells you how they see themselves, but it also says a lot about how they want others to see them.

For example, people that know me well, know that I can be soft and mushy on the inside, but I very rarely let it show. I have to let my guard down, and I feel like I'm exposing my inner workings to the world. That is something that I am unbelievably uncomfortable with! I don't even hug people unless I really know them! I have my "bubble" and very few people are allowed in it. I am not ashamed to admit that I have walls... but they are there because of some things that have happened in my past. Sometimes things don't go as expected in life, and after a lifetime of this, I eventually realized that the alternative isn't always a bad thing. It's taught me a lot and I wouldn't be right here right now if things had not gone the way they did!

So, my word... Resilient... means exactly what it means... I feel that it describes me very well. I've gotten through things that were a very big deal to me, and I am a stronger, wiser person because of it. I also feel that I chose that word as a means of portraying my "ability to overcome" to the listener. I want people to portray me as a strong person... maybe because on the inside, I question my own strength on a regular basis. If the rest of the world views me one way, it supports me when I am feeling less inclined to see it in myself.

So, all of this begs the final question... What made my friend choose the word "Alive" for his own self assessment? From my angle, he is more of a planner than a live-in-the-moment type. He never begins anything without having an idea of possible outcomes. I have another friend (that I will talk about on a different day) that I believe is more suited to the "Alive" description than this person is. So, in saying that to me, was he trying to either consciously or subconsciously portray a message? Trying to force me into believing he is more lighthearted and carefree than how I viewed him before? I don't have the answers, but I do think that there is more to it than just what we see at face value.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Libra Characteristics and Personality

As many of you know, I love to look up my horoscope each day, just out of curiosity. I don't rearrange my life around what I read, but rather prefer it as purely entertainment. But, I thought it would be interesting to see exactly how a Libra is defined... I found this interesting...

Libra Characteristics and Personality

(September 23 - October 22)
Libra is the only zodiac symbol that's neither animal nor human -- but surely that doesn't make you any less human. In fact, Libra is among the most sociable of the signs. As scales of old were really "balances," so to do you seek balance in all that Libra does. You respond to situations with grace as Libra attempts to put others at ease. Artistically, Libra tries to balance form, content, colors and elements, and for this reason can be drawn toward creative endeavors.

The greatest balancing act is between self and others, and it is here that many Libras focus their energy. Here, in the realm of interpersonal relationships, you are a champion. Libra know how to be the charming host or hostess. Libra can sense what others want before they ask for it. And you can make the needs of others a higher priority than your own. In fact, Libra is the shuttle diplomats of the zodiac, going back and forth between the extremes until a solution is negotiated.

The Libra motto might be "To every action there is an opposite and equal reaction." It is your innate sense of cause and effect that makes you so effective as a strategist. Whether it's playing chess, relationship counseling or civic planning, you know how to be effective while staying in the middle of the road. Your easygoing attitude can serve you and others well, but don't forget that your needs cannot go totally unfulfilled or you won't have anything to give to others.


Element: Air

The astrological element of air represents movement. And the most efficient movement between two points is often a thought. Air signs are thinkers. They emphasize the intellect over other functions. With active minds and a good command of language, the air signs are the natural born communicators. They can be light and breezy as the breath of spring, but their words can also carry the power of a gale force wind.


Seventh House: Partners

If the First House represents the self, the Seventh House opposite it, represents the other. This can be a business partner, a spouse or any other type of relationship amongst equals. Most often, this is where we look to see how you relate to others in your life.


Key Planet: Venus

Venus is the planet of love and desire. She is in charge of romance and beauty. But Venus isn't only about physical love; she's also symbolic of the ideal love. When we see a beautiful painting or other work or art, Venus is present. She is the beauty of a rose as much as she is the attraction we have to someone we love. As the key planet of Libra, Venus is about the perception of beauty as an ideal. Here, she is the proper blend of colors, the right mix of music or the perfect poetic description of love, itself.


Your Biggest Strength: Your grace and charm when helping others.


Your Potential Weakness: Forgetting to take care of your own needs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Video Blogging

A friend of mine recently introduced the idea of starting to Video Blog (or Vlogging) instead of just writing my blogs. I don't like to just jump into something with both feet without doing a little research and learning more. So, I googled some information and am moving on from there. (For anyone interested, I've listed the websites that I checked out below.)

A couple of things that I'll have to consider, is that most of my blogs so far have just consisted of me talking about my own life. Occasionally, I'll have a post about something else, but it's mostly updates for my family, since I'm terrible at keeping in touch. Outside of my realm of close friends and family, I'm not entirely sure anyone else even reads my posts, so going through the trouble of Vlogging seems like it would be too much.

This is where my creativity would have to kick in. I would actually need something more interesting than my own personal life to discuss. I'm not 100% sure that I can be that creative... I've had writer's block, but this seems much more difficult!

In addition, although I'm the baby of the family, and love to be the center of attention with my friends, I have always had this ridiculous issue of stage fright. When giving speeches in college, I could know everything possible about a subject, make note cards, and practice in front of a mirror and my family... and then as soon as I get in front of the class, I forget the subject, my cards get all out of order, I ramble, and start shaking. I psyche myself out! Of course, this is a pre-recorded video, instead of live, so maybe it wouldn't be quite so bad... Haha!

Finally, after reading the different websites, I've figured out that I'm going to have to actually buy a computer or laptop before I can even consider moving forward. I don't currently have anything other than my iPhone... I would need to be able to edit videos before posting and so on. It would be much easier to do on a computer than on my phone! So, for now, the process is halted until I buy something usable.

But, in the long run... if anyone has any ideas or suggestions for a video blog, I would greatly appreciate your input! I'm not exactly sure what people want to hear about... and while listening to me just aimlessly ramble might be entertaining for a minute or two, it will get tiresome!


How to Start a Video Blog (tips)

Getting Traffic for your Video Blog

More Advice on Vlogging

Detailed Instructions

Monday, July 16, 2012

25 Random Things About Me...

**Because I have some free time, 25 random things you never really cared to know about me... **

1.  Outside of my kids, my dog (Dee Oh Jee) & my Jeep (Rita Wrangler) are my two most prized possessions.
2.  My favorite candy would have to be Skittles.
3.  I can still recite the 50 states in alphabetical order, after learning them in a song in elementary school.
4.  I have figured out that I am perfectly happy being single, and am in no big rush to begin yet another relationship.
5.  I have a fear that people will tire of me, (either visiting or in a relationship) so I tend to "understay" my welcome because I'm so afraid of becoming a burden or annoying. 
6.  I have, somehow, managed to never break a single bone in my body (knock on wood).
7.  I am a 5-year breast cancer survivor... 4 surgeries, a year of chemo, and 8 weeks of radiation...
8.  I figured out years ago that I don't have any natural talents in anything. I am a completely average person (I'm ok with it!!) and what I do manage to accomplish well is done after much practice and struggle. I believe I appreciate my own accomplishments more because of it.
9.  I have a constant need to prove things to myself... I want to be in the Tough Mudder race simply to prove to myself that I can do it!
10.  My taste in music is pretty random, from classical rock, to 80s & 90s, to jam bands (thanks, Chuck) to country, to Top 40.
11.  I dress up for Halloween every year no matter what... it's my favorite holiday.
12.  I am a night person... I do not do mornings if at all possible... ever.
13.  I know how to knock down and rebuild walls, drywall, lay tile, pour cement, replace windows & doors, minor plumbing & electrical work, and several other remodeling things... and if I haven't done something before, I have no problem with googling instructions and teaching myself!
14.  I have had more jobs than I can count... everything from bartending & retail, to fueling airplanes, to office management.
15.  I love spicy food. (The saying is, "There's hot, and then there's Brenda-Hot"). My absolute favorite food is Taco Soup... I love it so spicy that mere mortals break into a sweat when they enter the room.
16.  I will occasionally watch a movie, but I pretty much never sit down to watch television. I am far too busy for it.
17.  Books are important to me, and I currently live less than a mile from the local library... I love that. I also love that both of my kids are also readers.
18.  I am the baby of the family, and I exude the syndrome (pay attention to me!!!). My friends know and understand this (and cooperate accordingly).
19.  I'm constantly grateful for the number of people in my life to which I can openly say, "I love you." I'm very lucky to be surrounded by such awesomeness.
20.  If I could sell off everything I own and move anywhere in the world, it would be either Italy or Southern Spain... If I had to stay in the US, I'm leaning towards Pittsburgh. I love that place.
21.  I'm a Libra, so I have a really bad problem with thinking, rethinking, and thinking again about things. I examine every angle, consider everyone's opinion, and then begin the process all over again... I even annoy myself with it.
22.  I'm assuming that my greatest physical asset is probably my smile (aka, dimples)... that is what I'm complimented on the most often... Personally, though, I think I have cute feet! lol.
23.  My greatest desire is to find a way to support myself while still being able to travel all over the world and try new things/meet new people/discover new cultures.
24.  I'm one of the strongest people I know, which can get me into trouble.  I am usually so hell-bent on being strong that I don't have enough sense to actually ask for help when it is needed.
25.  I'm constantly trying to find (and hold onto) my own inner peace & happiness. I make a conscious effort to find the positive in something, especially if it seems like a negative situation.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Glance Back

Well, I've started writing this post 3 or 4 times now. I know what I want to say, but for some reason, I'm not able to get it out the way I want. So, rather than get wordy and philosophical... I'll just lay it out there.

I've looked over my blogs from the past year.
I've come a long way...
I'm a happier, healthier person.

I'd like to go into more detail about the people that have been in my life over the past year, helping me get to where I am now, but as I've said... I really just can't find the right words.

Let me just say that I am grateful. I appreciate everyone in my life.

I know that I am exactly where I need to be.

The biggest thing I've learned is that sometimes things happen for a reason. Even if we don't know what that reason may be, God usually has a bigger plan for us! I lost my job in October. In the long run, he meant me to be exactly where I am right now.

He knows what we need, even when we don't.

Life is absolutely good.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Our Brains are Melting

I read an article on recently, discussing the health issues and the shortened lifespans related to people that sit on the couch, watching television much of the time. It turns out that the old rule of only 30 minutes of exercise a day, really doesn't make much difference, if all of the rest of the person's free time is sitting... either at a computer at work, or a television at home.

I only have one thing to say about this article: DUH!! They act like this was breaking news or something!

I've been telling people for years that TV rots their brain. It's one thing to read a book, fiction/non-fiction, trashy, mystery, whatever... it encourages your brain to be active and inspires creativity. But television? It does absolutely all of the work for you... you don't need to be creative and imagine what the room, or character, or sounds, or whatever else, might be like. They do it all for you! All you have to do is sit there and give your thumb a remote control workout because there are 900+ channels with absolutely nothing on!

Good thing you dish out that $80/month or however much cable is costing these days...

I, personally, have not paid for cable in years. I was dating a guy for 4 years, and I think he chose to pay to have it at our house for about 2 of those years... I didn't have it before he came along and I don't have it now. I just don't see any point in getting wrapped up in it. I can say that when we did have cable at our house, I was a much less active person, had fewer friends, and my health/eating habits were much worse.

I believe that television lowers your quality of life. If you are constantly glued to a TV, then you are not playing with your children. You are not discussing the day's events with your partner. You are not getting exercise with your dog. There are so many better ways to spend your time, than by sitting on the couch watching the "Boob Tube!"

I am not trying to be judgmental here. I do understand that people often have it on as "back ground noise" and it's always good to watch the news to keep up with current events. I also understand the concept of snuggling with your kids and “vegging” on a movie on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The problem that we're looking at here, is the people that go to work, and the minute they walk in the door, they throw their stuff down, sink into the couch with a bag of chips and a soda, and glare mindlessly at the bright colors flashing before them in some sort of hypnotic trance until 10 or 11 o'clock at night. Then, they get up, brush their teeth, and go to bed... often times with a different television running in the bedroom "so they can sleep."

These are the people that need to get out more!

I own a television... It is currently unplugged, sitting on top of a plastic bin full of old photos, shoved in a corner on top of my dresser. I do not have cable, there isn't a Wii or other video game connected to it, or even a DVD player. The reason is because unless I'm sleeping, I am rarely home! I work full time, I run, I go to the gym, I visit the beach, I go to my friend's houses for pool parties and BBQ's... I find things to do that require social interaction!

Recently, a friend at work was talking about being depressed and gaining weight, and somehow, the conversation turned to television. I mentioned to him my situation where my TV isn't even plugged in, and that I am forced to find alternative ways to entertain myself. So, he created a challenge for himself, and said that he would unplug his television for 30 days, just to see how his lifestyle changes.

Whenever I see him at work, he tells me how things are going. It has now been over three months! During the first month, he said he often was tempted to plug it in "just for an hour or so" but he resisted. Over time, he found that he went back to things that he used to enjoy doing, like playing basketball and riding his bike. He also said that his house was cleaner, he reconnected with friends that he hadn't talked to in a while, and his mood and depression were even lifting. Also, because of his more active lifestyle, he was losing some weight and felt healthier.

My friend has figured out something that I've known for years. There are so many benefits to living without television! The only negative aspect of it is that when people start talking about movie trailers, new television shows, or whatever... neither of us have absolutely any idea what they are talking about!! But, I’m ok with that, and I think he is as well.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Somebody Bring Me Some Food!

So, I started Mid-Check today at work. I feel like I have jet lag already, and my shift isn't even over! It's not even 2am, which is funny, because when I was working nights, I routinely stayed awake until 2am or even later... I believe this shop just sucks all the fun out of being up late! lol. My answer to this jet lag feeling is 5 hour energy drinks at night, and melentonin (natural sleep aid) in the daytime... I'm not sure it's the healthiest way to go about it, but it's the best plan that I could think of.

Not really much to talk about today... I am mostly trying to kill some time, since I managed to finish the book that I was reading about 30 minutes ago, and I ran out of things to look at on Facebook. Nobody is posting, because everyone I know is in bed!

In other news, I had Carley for a whole 2 weeks... It was awesome, and she was finally able to spend some quality time with Jannian's kids, since they are here visiting as well. She was excited to go back to her Dad's house, though, because they are getting ready to go to South Carolina for a beach vacation. I'm very happy for her and I hope they have a wonderful time!

Ashleigh seems to still be doing well. I don't hear a lot from her. She's like me... doesn't call home very much, so no news is good news. But, she did text me for a few minutes earlier today, and it sounds like she is skipping the trip to SC to meet up with her Dad's side of the family, but is hoping to plan a trip down to Florida soon. That makes me happy, because it's been too long since I've seen her!!

I guess that's about it for now... Nothing new or exciting in my life happening currently, and no major thought processes that I feel compelled to share. Most likely, I'll post this, and end up deleting it in a week or so, seeing as it is most definitely NOT one of my best blogs...

Have a wonderful night, friends... and Somebody Bring Me Some Food! (I should note that I did bring in a freezer dinner to eat, but I mostly want to snack... because I'm bored... I am going to have to find a way to relieve this boredom if I'm going to stay on this shift! Eating is not the answer! lol)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Shift in the Force

Something really needs to be said for women's intuition... I don't know if every woman is as in-tune to theirs as much as I am, but when I have a gut feeling, I've found that it's best to listen to it.

Sometimes, when I meet someone new, I'll get a funny vibe from them that nobody else around seems to pick up on. I will say something later about it... and inevitably, they will show their true colors and I will say, "See? I knew there was something about them!" It has happened often enough that my close friends have begun to really pay attention!

So, I recently had an usual gut feeling. As many of you know, my ex husband went on deployment and of course I didn't know when he was coming back. I didn't know how long he was going to be gone or anything.

It was the morning of Carley's 5th grade graduation, and I had spent the night at my friend's house, since she was going to the graduation with me. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and I felt what could only be described as "A Shift in the Force." I walked out of the bathroom (toothbrush still in hand) and looked at Jessica and said, "He's back." I had no reason to think he was, and I don't normally think about him while doing mundane tasks like brushing my teeth. Somehow, he popped into my head, and I KNEW he was back! She said I was crazy, and we finished getting ready.

Sure enough, we got to Carley's graduation, and who do you think was sitting there? Yup, you guessed it! I have no idea how I knew, but I was 100% sure that he had come back. Apparently, he had just returned the night before.

So, in a somewhat related note (pertaining to my ex)... I have recently come to peace with my past (I know, you're thinking, "It's about time! It's only been 5 years!!"). But, at one point, I loved this guy with everything in me. I loved him from the topmost hair on my head, to my finger tips and toenails. He was my whole world, and I was wonderfully happy. Unfortunately, things didn't work out, and we both turned our love for each other into hatefulness and bitterness. It has taken me a long time to work past it, but I believe I have. I'm no longer angry. I am happy with how my life is turning out, and I have forgiven him for any pain that was caused on his end of our marriage.

Sitting at Carley's graduation, I looked over and realized how unhappy he looked. I'm sure a lot of it had to do with jet lag, but this was how I was seeing him. For a long time, I was upset because I felt that he had gotten the best years of my life... My youth! Anyone that knows me, knows that I am more than aware that I only get one life to live. I want to make the very best of it and enjoy it to my absolute fullest that I possibly can. It angered me that I'd spent 13 years of my life with him, just to end up so angry and bitter!

But, considering that I'd recently lost 35 pounds, and in better shape than I have been in a long  time, and am generally happy with myself... I looked over at him and just felt sad. I think the story goes the other way. I feel that I actually stole his best years... I feel sad for him. Talking to him after the graduation, I could still see anger and hatefulness in his eyes. All I can think is that I wish I could help him to let it go. I wish he could find peace and move forward with his life. I don't know how he will, but I hope he does. I know that I have.

I can now honestly say that I really do wish nothing but the best for him. I know that when he wants to be, he can be a very kind and caring person. I know that he will never direct that kindness towards me, but I’m ok with that. I just pray that someday, he can find his inner peace because carrying around this bitterness is so unhealthy, and it spills over into the people around him. Our children feel it and it pushes them away from him. I don’t know if he will ever realize it, but I see it every day.

I hope he figures it out before it is too late. I have actually begun to say a prayer for his peace every now and then… mostly because I love my children and want them to have their dad in their lives for a long time… but I think a part of it is because I did love him so very much at one point in my life.

Life Comes Full Circle

When I left Jacksonville, as many of you know, it was about a year after my divorce. I had no money, and working two jobs wasn't even enough. In addition, my ex was very angry and bitter (and so was I), and I had felt like he had alienated pretty much all of our friends from me. It was a low point in my life.

I thought there was no one left, so I moved with Chuck, to get away, and try to start over.

Recently, it has been drawn to my attention, how much life really does come full circle. One of the coolest things that I learned while being in the military, is how small the world actually is. I can recall sitting at the Daiquiri Palace in Palma, Spain, having a conversation with someone that I had never met... and finding out that he was from my same small home town, and graduated two years before me! We ended up having a conversation about our high school football coach!

My dad told me a story once about him and my mom going to the Grand Ole Oprey in Nashville on vacation, and he knew people that were sitting in a row nearby!

My ex husband ran into a guy that he went to Marine boot camp with in Rota, Spain... 12 years later!

So, it should be no big surprise when, after leaving Jacksonville, I move back and am constantly running into people that keep saying how much they missed me and have often wondered what had happened to me… and yet it does surprise me… EVERY TIME! I had no idea that my life had touched so many.

I found that I wasn't happy in Georgia, either.. and have since figured out that my happiness was inside of me the whole time, and I just didn't realize it. Life is what you make of it! So, I moved back, found my happiness, and am enjoying being single. I am surrounded by amazing, wonderful friends, who have my back no matter what! I often run into people that I knew when I was still in the Navy, I run into people that I knew while bartending and I run into people that I just knew from wherever. It is amazing how often I hear people say that I was missed and that they wondered how I was!

So, I just wanted to write this blog about how funny it is that life does turn full circle. I am so glad to be surrounded by wonderful people that still love me and care for me, even after not seeing them in years! We can pick right up where we left off and I am constantly being invited to be a part of their lives in some way or another. I do not have words to say how much it is appreciated! To say that I feel loved and cherished is an understatement.

Thank you to all of you that are a part of my life... whether you were, and no longer are... or if you've recently come back into my life... or if you've been there as a part of it all along. People come and go… but God brings back the ones that you need, when you need them. I wouldn't be the person that I am today, without all of you!!

I am a survivor... and I'm not talking about cancer here. I am surviving LIFE! I wouldn't be surviving nearly as well without each and every one of you there to back me up, though. So, THANK YOU, no matter what part you play.

I am so fortunate to have you in my life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Roller Derby

Last weekend, I went roller skating with a friend and his daughter, and I was approached by the coach of a roller derby team here in town. She asked me if I had ever considered joining a team. My initial reaction was that I'm not that great of a skater. Well, let me change that. I can skate, fast, and I'm pretty good at weaving around people... I am not good at stopping ("Catch me!!"), and I can't skate backwards or anything fancy like that. So, as much fun as roller derby sounded (it appeals to my aggressive, prove-things-to-myself side), I didn't consider myself a very good candidate and told her as much. Then she explained that once you join, you are put into one of three levels and they train you to do the rest. The beginner level teaches stopping, going backwards, squats, and so on. The intermediate level teaches more balance, for when people are trying to knock you down, and teaches you to push other people. That's the team part of it. Then, once you make it up to the Expert level, they will start putting you in actual races. It sounded like a lot of fun, and the more she told me about it, the more interested I became! The only hang up right now is that their practices are on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I can't make the Wednesday practices because I work nights. So... I'll have to wait until June when I'm supposed to go to the PR shop, and will probably end up working days at that time. So, meanwhile, I'm going to start checking out the Sunday morning practices and see how that goes. In addition, this week started the "hard core" training for Tough Mudder. We spent 2.5 hours at the gym on Monday night.... I ran for an hour and then did several exercises that have left my muscles still sore two days later! lol. It feels awesome and can't wait to hit the gym again tonight! I also came across an obstacle course that is shorter than Tough Mudder (I believe it's 4-6 miles) that will be taking place somewhere in North Florida in July. I'm thinking about checking that out as a "practice" run. By that time, I'll have a bit of training under my belt, and then I'll try the course and see where I need to continue working, or work more. I'm also still planning on doing the Breast Cancer 5K in May with my friend, Don, and the Never Quit 5K at Jax Beach in June, with some people from work. So, I've got a lot of plans, but it feels really good to keep myself busy in a healthy way. I love finally having a hobby that I feel good about! I don't think I've ever really had a hobby before. I enjoy challenging myself, and forcing my body to work hard to meet those goals. In November, I was barely able to run a 1/2 mile... now I run 3+ miles nearly every day! I feel better, I look better, and my confidence is so much better! I'm excited about life again... It's amazing!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Training Tips

Top 10 Tough Mudder Training Tips

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Tough Mudder Training Blog

Kill Fat Me

12 Week Training Plan

5 Key Components to a Safe and Effective Plan

No Fail Fitness Plan

Tough Mudder

Lately, my whole Breast Cancer ordeal has been weighing on my mind. I am not completely sure why, but it has been consuming more of my though process than it usually does. So, I have decided to do something about it.

I have always been a very stubborn, pig headed person... just ask my parents. I generally did what I wanted to in the long run, no matter how much it was going to get me in trouble later. I'm sure they were pulling their hair out while trying to raise a teenage Brenda! But I know that my stubbornness is what helped me survive the darkest year of my life, and the very difficult following 5 years.

But, finally, in more ways than one, I am a survivor. This survivor status has left me with a residual problem. I have an overwhelming urge to prove things to myself. I don't look in the mirror and see anything extraordinary, but I feel like God has left me on this earth for a reason. I'm not saying I'm destined for fame or fortune, or planning to go into Christian Ministry... but I feel I was left for a reason. I used to feel it was because my children needed me so much. But, as they get older, I believe I need them more than they need me now! I have more recently come to realize that God granted me more time to learn to really appreciate the life that I have! Live it to the fullest! Challenge myself and see what I can make of it!!

As many of you may know, back in November, I began running and dieting, and have managed to lose a bit of weight and am now going to the gym 4-5 times a week. My initial goal was to be able to run a 5K, since I was barely able to run even one mile. Well, I can do a 5K, and am planning on doing two of them in the next two months.

So, now that I have met that challenge, what's next? I have a short attention span, so I need something that will keep me feeling challenged and interested. So, after talking to some friends, my next big challenge is the Tough Mudder challenge. Check out the website... I am super excited about setting up a team and challenging myself by training and finishing these races.

I realize that it is unlikely that I (aka my team) will actually win the whole thing, but it is extremely important to prove to myself that I can finish it! There is one in Tampa in December, and then they are coming to Jacksonville in May of next year. I fully intend to take part in both of these challenges... not to prove anything to anyone else, but to prove to myself that I survived cancer for a reason. I survived because God loves me and wants me to realize my own competitive nature and self worth!

So, to sum it up:
I'm thinking of a team of 4-6 people...
We need people that are tough... Physically, but even more importantly, Mentally!
Team players, willing to do what needs to be done to get the whole group through the challenge.
People that are willing to put training and team-time into getting ready for these events.

I've already had several people say they would do it, but there is only so much room on a team. I love my friends, however, and I really feel like our team needs to be made of the most reliable, mentally tough people that I know. Since there is limited space, and you still feel like you want to do it, definately create your own team! I would love to have personal (friendly) challenges as part of the race! It would add a whole new element, and making it even more fun!!

Training starts Monday for me... and the first challenge is in Tampa, FL, on Dec. 1st... That leaves me with only 225 days to get ready!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hi, People!

Hey, everyone! I didn't realize that it had been so long since I blogged! I don't have a laptop at my house, I'm not about to even try to blog on my phone, and I rarely get on the computers at work... Time flies!!

So, let me see what I've been up to... I'm looking at a likely move from the tool room at work to the PR Shop (survival equipment). As many of you know, that was what I did while I was in the Navy. This move will help me out tremendously, and I'm really excited about the opportunity!!

I have also been going to the gym and trying to train myself for running 5k's. I am a terrible runner (think drunk duck) and so this has been a challenge for me. I have managed to lose just over 20 pounds, and have actually gotten to the point that I look forward to going to the gym and miss it on days that I don't. I will be running a 5k in May for Breast Cancer research, and one on the beach (in the sand!!) in June for Life Choices that encourage people to be aware of preventing Brain Bleeds, Heart Attacks and stroke. This new "hobby" is something I feel is good for me, and when I take part in the races, I am helping out a good cause. So, it's a win-win!!

Ashleigh is still in Georgia. She's doing very well for herself. She had a rough patch for about a month, but she's very strong, and has made it through. The transmission in her car had gone out, so she stayed with a friend from work for a while so that she could save up money. She finally just sold the car, since it would cost her more to fix it than it was worth. She ended up getting herself a cute 2010 Nissan Sentra, so she has entered the world of car payments... My little girl is growing up so fast!!

In addition, she has been able to move from her friend's house to a different place. As it turns out, she made friends with someone that works for Siemens, and he does a lot of traveling. He needed someone to live at the house and take care of it and his two dogs while he was out of town. Ashleigh was in the right place at the right time, and is now living in a beautiful home, rent free! This is an excellent opportunity for her, and I'm very excited!!

Carley is doing great. All the kids in Florida are doing their annual FCAT testing this week, so I went today and had lunch with her. She said that she has a really good feeling about her tests so far, which is great. I am so excited about moving down here because I get to see her all the time! Even without having a lot of money, Jacksonville is an amazing place to live, that is always offering inexpensive or free things for families with children. Even when there is nothing going on, we make it out to the beach or to a friend's pool when we can.

Chuck, unfortunately, is still in Georgia. He doesn't seem to be having luck finding work down here, but he does manage to visit about once a month or so. He is really missed, but I know that when the time is right, something really great will come up for him.

I am still staying with my friend, Tammy, and we have my dog, her two turtles, and an albino ferrett... plus her two girls, and Carley much of the time. We have a house full... and it is wonderful! I couldn't ask for a better roommate. I am grateful for everything that she has done to help me out and I appreciate her company on the weekends. We rarely see eachother during the week, since she works days and I work nights. That works out well, though, so we don't drive eachother crazy! lol

I guess that's about it for now. Everything seems to be going in the right direction for the first time in a long time. I am not only happy, I am content. It is a really, really good feeling!!

...And I'll try not to wait so long to update again!! lol

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I guess it's been a while since I've updated... life has been busy! Still plugging away at the job... still working on getting into the other shop! I won't stop until the big boss sits me down and tells me to quit. :o) I'm persistent if nothing else!

Lately, it's been the usual military run-around regarding paperwork. I don't have a base access card yet, so I can't get a decal for the jeep. SO, every 30 days, I have to go wait in that crazy line and get a new temporary pass... The government hasn't changed a bit! lol.

In other news, I was invited to a Super Bowl party by a friend that I knew when I lived in Spain... hadn't seen him in seven long years! It was nice to see a friendly face again. When I went to the party, I had planned to leave by half-time, because I didn't know anyone there except him. BUT, they all turned out to be a really great group of people and look forward to hanging with them again sometime. I haven't laughed so hard in ages!

Carley is doing great. She was over last weekend, and we saw "Joyful Noise" with Tammy and her girls. Then, on Sunday, we enjoyed Lexi's 11th birthday party. Only 6 more weeks until my baby is 11 now! She's growing so fast, and becomes smarter and more beautiful every single day. I am so proud of my girls!!

Ash is still plugging away at school and work. The transmission in her car went out, so she has been pulling extra shifts to make enough money to get it fixed. Meanwhile, she is relying on the kindness of Chuck's family and her friends. My family is so fortunate to be surrounded by such kind, loving people!

Otherwise, I'm enjoying being in Jacksonville. I miss Ashleigh, Chuck & all of the Lamphere family, but I still firmly believe this is the best decision I could've made. I have a good job, and I get to see Carley on a regular basis. She has always needed her Mom in her life, and I feel so much better about being here! I won't have her this weekend, but I am taking her lunch at school on Thursday, and we're planning a trip up to Georgia to visit everyone on President's Day weekend.

I guess that's about it. Hope everyone is doing great!!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Support Group

I received this message yesterday from a dear friend. It completely made my day, so I feel compelled to share...

"I just got done reading your Dec and Jan blog posts and I have decided that you need to raise my kids. You are so strong and amazing and I want my ***** to be just like that. I dont have half of the awesome that you do. I would have crumbled and cranked and went crying back to my parents if I had faced a 10th of what you have. I can't imagine going thru what you went thru the last 5 years and not being a bitter hateful and depressed person. You are amazing and when I grow up I wanna be just like you!!"

How can she think for a minute that she isn't amazing, when she can send me a note like that, just out of the blue?? I know her daughter is in the best of hands, and will just as wonderful as she is! I really did appreciate the love & encouragement she had sent, though. I wouldn't have half my strength if it weren't for the support of my friends & family.

I've said it before... I really am surrounded by the most beautiful, amazing & loving people. I am thankful every day for that!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Every Little Thing is Gonna be Alright

So... here i am in jacksonville! Things are going well. I am staying with an old friend that has 2 little girls, so carley has friends to play with whenever she's over. My friend is every bit as broke as me, so we find inexpensive things for them to do... crafts, dvd's & popcorn, going to the park, window shopping... i'm thinking of visiting the flea market w/ the kiddo this wkend.

The job is going well. I'm on nights, which works for me. That first week of getting up at 4am was killing me!! Lol. Now i'm on 3 to 11:30 pm. I like that a lot better. I'm still working on getting into the line shack. It's better pay, and a lot less boring. The tool room at night isn't exactly bursting with excitement! Don't get me wrong, i'm thrilled to have a job, but anyone that knows me, knows that i am persistant. If i want something (ie., better pay) then i will work hard to get it.

In other news, Ash's car broke down the other day. It sounds like it could be the transmission. Still waiting on the official verdict from the mechanic. If that's what the problem is, we have to figure out what she will do. Lord knows i can't buy her a car or get that one fixed! She called me in a panic, overwhelmed by the whole thing this morning. I don't blame her. This is the first real thig she's had to deal with as an adult w/out me or her dad being right there to help her. It's tough, but i gave her the whole "it will all work itself out in time" speech. I'll keep everyone updated.

Finally, i would like to apologize for all of the spelling, grammar & punctuation errors that this post is riddled with. I don't have access to a computer, so i am typing on a touch-screen. I havr the fat-finger disease, so this is difficult. That is why i waited so long to post in the first place!

Anyways, hope all is well with everyone else!