Sunday, January 31, 2016


Today, my church put forth a controversial vote regarding same sex marriage.

As it currently stands, our church, UCC, allows for homosexuals to be members of the church, be baptized, confirmed, hold office, and be buried in our cemetery.  The only rite that is not currently allowed is marriage.  As the state of Pennsylvania, and all states now recognize gay marriage as per the US Government, our church decided that it was time to put it to a vote.

Unfortunately, it did not pass and the church will continue to deny the rites of marriage to our homosexual members.

I admit that I was saddened by the results.

During the meeting, I stood to say my piece, which, I would like to now share here with you.

In my younger years, I made the mistake of marrying the wrong person.  It isn't important for me to go into the particulars of it, but the marriage was abusive and toxic.  When I divorced, my membership to the church I attended at that time was revoked.   A few years later, when I decided to remarry, I was asked to not return to the church.

I happily complied.  I don't want to be anywhere that I am not wanted.

Our UCC church welcomed me and my husband (a Catholic) into the fold.  No one ever questioned that I had been divorced and remarried.  No one questioned a thing about my past.  I was lovingly accepted from day 1.

The Bible has some very clear guidelines on divorce.  It is only acceptable to divorce if there is infidelity.  Remarriage, per the Bible, is a form of adultery.  I would be guilty of the sin of adultery for the rest of my life.  I refuse to believe that God would want me to spend my life without love.  I also believe that God forgives us of our sins.

That being said, NO ONE ever questioned the religious validity of my second marriage.  It was fine. I've never been shunned or outcast at my church for breaking this Biblical law.  Now, on the cusp of this decision, we are faced with a JUDGEMENT call on what God things of gay marriage.  The BIBLE tells us not to judge, that only one without any sin should cast the first stone.

Why then are we trying to deny a right to these people?  We are loving accepting church.  The homosexuals among our congregation can be members, they can tithe, they can sit on our leadership boards, but they cannot get married??

Something seems out of balance.   Something seems hypocritical.

The Bible gives us laws that just don't apply anymore.  It says that women should cover their heads, yet no one wore a hat to church today.  It says that women shouldn't speak in church, yet we have a female minister.  It says divorce is a sin, yet I am welcomed with that sin attached.

We will bring it to a vote again in a few years, I'm sure.  We will eventually win.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


I've been under a lot of stress lately.  Someone told me that stress is a sign that you are truly invested emotionally in what is going on in your life. My emotions are out control.  Tonight I am going out with a girlfriend to decompress for a while.   I hope it helps. Sometimes we just need a mini escape to collect our thoughts .

Today's thought provoking tune:

Friday, January 29, 2016

All over the place

Ok, I have a thousand blog ideas and none of them are cohesive or meshing with others. I may just end up putting up a bunch of posts in a few days that are short but topic covering.  Is that weird?

It's almost like this blog is becoming a diary of sorts.  I used to have a journal that I wrote EVERYTHING in.  I stopped because I found that most of what I wrote was when I was unhappy. I don't want a document of my life that shows only the ugly moments.

Now, I buy smaller journals to use when I'm having difficulties.  When the difficulties are resolved, I can burn the journal and it symbolizes that the painful experience has ended.

Some, however, I have kept.  The content means a lot to me.  I have the journal from my trip to Europe when I was 17, from my college years, and even the chronicle of the rise and fall of my first marriage.

Each journal has a similar trait.  SONG LYRICS.  Everywhere.  The inside covers, certain pages, it's simply filled with lyrics.  Some are actually quotes from movies or literature.  Every single quote means something very deep and special to me for some reason.

The song I have quoted the most... and has taken up the most space on pages of my journals, is Worlds Apart by Jars of Clay.  I turn to this song when I'm lost or confused.... when I'm trying to find the direction to move in... when I'm struggling to do the right thing... or even when I just need to relax.

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

The Ocean Calls

One of my most perfect moments was at Avalon Beach in New Jersey when I was in college.  I was on a Christian retreat with my InterVarsity friends.  We were staying in a beach house in the late fall.  This was the visit to the beach that sparked my love for the ocean in the off season.

One afternoon, I went for a walk to reflect on some difficulties I was going through both emotionally and spiritually.  I was conflicted in my beliefs and my heart had recently been broken.  I found a little rocky retaining wall and sat down.  I was wearing a pair of pale blue cotton pants, rolled to mid-calf, a plain t-shirt, and a warm hooded sweatshirt, unzipped.  I was barefoot, and in my hand I had a small notebook and a pen.

I put my things down, pulled up my legs and hugged them to my body.  It was windy and all I could hear was the crashing of the waves and the wind blowing my hair behind me.  I closed my eyes and felt the ocean with all of my senses.  The smell of the salty air opened my lungs and I was filled with an unbelievable calm.

I began to sing.

I sang a number of different songs that opened my spirit to how I was feeling.  Some spiritual, some not... tears began to stream down my face.  I had found the most perfect place and moment for that time and I was one with the ocean.

Tonight, I had a moment of refreshing clarity similar to what I felt in Avalon all those years ago.  I have had some heavy burdens weighing me down lately.  My emotions were out of control.  I had an anxiety attack earlier today.  The difficulties that I was facing in the moment became more than I could bear.

I opened my heart to a friend and put all of my frustration, confusion, fears and pain out to be seen.  I felt broken at first, but then, in the few short hours that followed, I found that moment of peace and clarity.  My heart felt lighter, my breathing deepened.  My soul felt relieved that I had released something I was holding on to that I needed to let go of for many reasons. As Elsa sang,,,, I let it go.

Tonight, I want to share with you one of the songs I sang in Avalon.  Please remember that I am a mediocre guitar player at best.  There are a LOT of mistakes.  Yes, this is ME singing and playing.  Sorry that you can't see my face, but I was in my pajamas and because I had been crying (due to a swell of overwhelming emotions over the past few days) and my face was a bit puffy.  I didn't want to share that lovely look with ya!

This is a song by a band called Halo.  Thy will be done.  BE KIND, it's not my best work!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

More Music!

Tonight, I've been thinking about more of the great times from my past.  When I was 17, I had the opportunity to travel with a Christian singing group called the Continentals.  I had the time of my life.  I got to see the world.  I made friends to truly last a lifetime.

I'm very blessed that the friends I had at that stage of my life are still in my life thanks to the amazing powers of Facebook.  Truly, social media has taken us very, very far.

I want to share with you a Continentals song that always touched me.  I didn't sing it with the group I toured with.. but it was the song that led me to want to join the group.

Light your world.  Even if your life can only touch 2 or 3 other lives... you can make a difference to someone that means the world to them.  I hope above all hopes that I have been able to touch a life and make a difference.

I learned a lot about myself that summer.  I'll never forget the friends I made.  The love I felt.  The hope for my future.  I wore a wooden cross necklace on a leather strap everywhere I went.  That cross necklace stood for so much to me.  It was a reminder of my faith, of a man who was willing to give up his life to save mine... It was a token, a souvenir from a rock concert that forever changed the way I looked a drummers --- when I saw the drum set lift into the air and spin while the drummer was doing a mad solo -- so cool.  It was a symbol for me.  That cross never left me.... to this day, it is burned into me as a reminder of one of the best years of my life.

During that time, I remember one of the songs that pulled me through each and every day.  I was far from home, sometimes in the United States, but also in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and for a brief while, France.  This song reminded me of what was waiting at home.  It reminded me that I was never alone.  When I was sad, lonely, or scared... it was with me.  This band played at that same concert that left such an impression on me. I have always and will always love this song.

One more?  Ok, this time, not a song, but a movie clip!  This is my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies of all time.  The movie is St. Elmo's Fire.   Brat Pack GOLD baby!  I'll never forget the first time I saw this scene.  All I could think of was that I wanted Andrew McCarthy to love me the way he loved Ally Sheedy.  Then, as I grew older, I just wanted someone to want me like that.  I wanted to know how it felt to have someone love me like that.  This scene shows friendship, honesty, revelation of a hidden love, and passion.  The sad truth behind it, tho, is that the love had been hidden because the woman was not available for him... she was taken.  The moment she became available, he had the opportunity to reveal the secret he had held in his heart for a long time.  What is even better... is that she is so very touched by his confession... and in that one line, "It is tomorrow," the truth between them is revealed.  Sometimes we wait on too many tomorrows when the time to act is now.

So there you have it.  Some of the things that helped mold my emotional, spiritual, and romantic traits.

Tonight's advice:

Live to be a light for someone in need.  

Rely on God to pull you through even the hardest of times because HE WILL BE THERE.

Love with a healthy balance of passion and caution.  Don't wait too long to figure out what it is you really want.  Don't be afraid to take a chance....

Ok, one more song, because it just came to me....

Goodnight everyone!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Random Rambling

Have you ever had one of those moments when your brain is doing cartwheels and you just can't get it to turn off?  I can't sleep tonight because I have a lot on my mind.  For starters, I've been reflecting on a lot of my favorite music of the past... tonight, for whatever reason, I've been reliving some of the greatest by Moody Blues.  For your amusement, here is the one currently stuck in my head:  Nights in White Satin.

I spent so many nights in college listening to Moody Blues... there's just something so mesmerizing about their music.... something that puts me into a trance...  and HELLO?  JAZZ FLUTE!

Tonight, I'm thinking a lot about someone I care about very much.  This friend is going through a bit of confusion in life.  A crossroads, you could say. I want to reach out and help.  I want to hug my friend and say that it's all going to be OK.  I want to be a shoulder to cry on, a warm comforting hug, or just about anything that I can be to help.  I know, though, that it isn't my place to overstep a boundary.  I certainly don't want to make things worse, but I fear that I already have.

I often have a very guilty conscience.   I feel like I should be able to solve problems for people and that if I can't, then it must be my fault that the problem remains.  I blame myself when my friends and loved ones are in pain and I cannot make things better for them.  Shouldn't I be able to make things better?  But sometimes when we try to make things better we end up making them worse.

"Nights in white satin never reaching the end.  Letters I've written, never meaning to send...."

Have you ever done that?  Written a letter, text, email and then stared at it, re-read it over and over, then just before you hit the send.... you delete it.  I've deleted 4 blog posts this week.  I'm wondering if I should delete this one, too!  Well, I guess we will see if it makes the cut....

I live in music.  I live in song lyrics.  I can find in my mind palace a thousand song lyrics for any given day.  Every situation has a lyric attached even when I sometimes don't know why the songs are in my head.  For example, why Moody Blues right now?  What lyric in that song is trying to speak to me right now?

"Just what the truth is, I can't say anymore..."

My heart is twisted in knots.  I hope my friend is ok.  I hope my friend isn't feeling alone or sad or depressed, or unloved.  If nothing else I could be there to distract, amuse, comfort, and listen.

I wonder why it upsets me so much.  My heart just wants to make things better.  Sometimes, especially in my younger years, I was willing to risk losing things that were very important to me for the sake of making things better for someone.  What I would do to take my lonely friends and make them feel part of something, or show love to someone who feels no love, to feed someone who is hungry, or to comfort someone who is aching with heartache and pain....

"Every heart is breaking tonight is the heart of a child that He holds in his sight. And oh, how he longs to hold in his arms, every heart that is breaking tonight."

This blog tonight is dedicated to every heart that is breaking.  Someone is feeling for you tonight.  Someone is thinking of you. Someone is praying for you.  Someone is loving you.  Someone is holding you tight in their arms and I so desperately hope you feel it.  

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

21 Day Truth

I made it through the first 21 days of the 21 Day Fix diet.  WOO HOO!

I lost 4.4 pounds in the first week, then I stayed off the scale.  Final weigh in after 21 days.... 4.4 pounds lost.

Ok..  That's pretty good.  Sure, I lost it all in the first week, but I had a carb breakdown in week 2 and then at the end of week 3, I had my birthday, a long weekend where we were snowed in (more on that in a separate post), and lots and lots of cheating.

Ok, when I say cheating, I'm talking about 1.25 pounds of gourmet, chocolate dipped cookies.  There were chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate chocolate chunk cookies, coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate, almond cookies filled with raspberry and drizzled with hazelnut chocolate, and yes... there were sugar cookies.

Sugar cookies will always be my favorite.  They aren't fancy.  They don't have to be.   They are sometimes jazzed up with sprinkles or a little cinnamon, but they are always steadfast and the same.  They are always there for me when I need to let off some steam from a hard day or when I feel like being goofy, they can be decorated with icing to make a silly face!  When I want to celebrate, they can take on a festive appearance, or they can class up any occasion with elegance... but under all the facades, under all the elegance, glamour, and glitz, under the rainbow sprinkles, icing, and cinnamon... they are the same sugar cookie.  Always there, even when I have abandoned them for a diet.  Not afraid to come back to me... *sigh*  I may have an unhealthy relationship with cookies.  HA HA!!!

All of that being said....

I'll take the 4.4 pounds of loss as victory!

21 Day Fix, ROUND 2:  Challenge -- DRINK MORE WATER.  and of course ... don't cheat!  ha!

Goal:  Let's be realistic and say 10 pounds.  Yeah... I can do that.

Turning 40


We love birthdays, don't we?  Even when we reach an age that frightens us - for me that is 40 - there is a little thrill in the air when a birthday comes.  As we get older, the reasons are a bit different.  It's no longer about gifts or parties, but there's still something about it that makes us smile.

On Friday, January 22, I turned 40.  I dreaded this day for quite some time.  I went through one of those, "Look at all the stuff I thought I'd do by 40..." moments.  We all do that on milestone birthdays, right?  But, honestly, I've achieved so much more than I ever would have imagined.

First, I have a master's degree!  I never in a million years would have predicted that.  I nearly failed out of high school.  My SAT scores were so low that only the community college would take me.  I had to do 2 years of penance at a local community college in order to make it to an accredited 4 year university.  Once I got there, I took extra courses and summer courses just to finish my BA in a 4 year period of time.   What was once the standard, has now become an exception to the rule.  No one seems to finish in 4 years anymore.

I didn't have the BEST grades in my undergrad work.  I did have my father's voice echoing in my ears.  "You're going to end up flipping burgers for the rest of your life."  Cruel.  When I graduated he said, "Not bad kid.  I was sure you would end up as a hairdresser."  Is that an insult?  I love my hairdresser!  They work HARD for their money!  What's the deal with that?

After college, I didn't want to move home with Mom and Dad, so I made a few mistakes, married the wrong guy, divorced the wrong guy.  THEN I moved back home with Mom and Dad.

Children, learn from me.... it's better to move back home with Mom and Dad BEFORE you marry the wrong dude than it is to make such a huge mistake.

That was when I tripped and stumbled into my current career.  I work in finance. In school I sucked at math.  God does stuff like that to us.  I hated math, and now, I do it every day.

It just isn't what I wanted for my life.  Finance, 15 years into the business, just isn't where I wanted to be.  That's why I decided to go back to school for my MA in Communications.  I graduated with my MA from Gonzaga University with a 3.96 GPA in 2013.

I was always a poor student.  I had no interest in school or learning.  Once I found something that I really enjoyed in grad school, I excelled.  I loved every moment of that journey.

Another thing I never expected to have at age 40 was children.  I decided while I was young that I didn't want to have kids.  Then, I hit 30 and my biological alarm clock went off and the snooze button was broken.  I needed to have kids.  I have 2 beautiful daughters and I couldn't imagine life without them.

I didn't mention the second and current husband.   He's pretty awesome, too.  After marriage #1 failed, I didn't ever want to marry again.  Hubs changed my mind and I'm glad he did.  He's been a rock for me through all of my crazy ideas, schemes, and crafty experiments.  He's one of the good ones and I'm glad I have him in my life.

I was approaching 40 thinking of all the things I DIDN'T do that I had wanted to do by now.  I haven't been to England, Italy, Ireland, or Scotland.  I haven't learned Hangul/Korean, I'm not a famous Broadway star, and I'm not fabulously wealthy.

When I stopped to look at the things I HAVE accomplished, I know I am blessed. Who cares about that other stuff!!!  I have an amazing life, an amazing husband, amazing kids, and I'm happy.

Bring it on 40!!!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Carb Confessions

Forgive me Diet for I have sinned.  It has been 4 days since my last weigh in.

Yesterday, I realized I was out of Greek yogurt.  I panicked and stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.  In my fear of starvation, I ate a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich with hashbrowns.

For lunch, I paid my penance by eating a dry salad with a small bit of chicken.

By 3:00, I was starving, and so, I ate peanut butter crackers.

For dinner, I attempted to be healthy, but managed to lose my control with a handful of chocolate chips.

Determined to make it a better day today, I cooked up some chicken and rice to bring to work for lunch, forgetting that we were still out of yogurt for breakfast.

I confess!  I was faced with FREE BAGELS in the lunchroom, and dear Diet, I was WEAK!!!!  I ate an entire pumpernickel bagel, toasted, with BUTTER.

Diet, for lunch I ate the healthy chicken and rice I had packed, but now I fear the rest of my day.  I have consumed all the carbs I dare and do not know what dinner will bring.

As I face down a three-day weekend, I know I will be tempted by pasta, pizza, potato chips, and fast food.  Give me strength to face the challenges with wisdom and carrot sticks and help me to remember to pick up yogurt on the way home from work.

Second Hand Rose

Funny Girl -- A musical portraying the life of Fanny Brice - Starring Barbra Streisand

This is by far one of the greatest musicals ever written.  One of Fanny Brice's signature songs is called Second Hand Rose - performed in the above clip by Barbra Streisand, who is quite possibly the greatest singer of all time (in my opinion).

The song, Second Hand Rose, is about a woman who is the victim of hand-me-downs, used pianos, and even a previously married man.  "Even Jake the plumber, he's the man I adore.  He had the nerve to tell me he's been married before..."

This song seems to be the story of my life.

I just deleted a very long blog entry about my life being like Second Hand Rose... then I realized it sounded like a big ol' complaint.  I hate negativity, so I deleted it!  Why should I be negative?

It's not so bad being the second born child... you always get hand me downs.  Heck, I just recently received a hand me down Coach bag from a friend at work.  Second Hand stuff is AWESOME!

It's not so bad being second in command at work... there's always someone higher up to take the heat off of you!

Remember, one man's trash is another man's treasure.  I've been used, abused, beaten, and forgotten... but God still loves me, just as I am.  That's good enough for me.

"From Second Avenue.... New?"

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

80's Flashback

Here I am, blogging at 2:22 AM.  I'm sitting on my bed listening to all of my favorite sappy 80's and 90's love songs...  

I need you now (more than words can say) -- Alias
When I'm with you - Sherriff
Love of a lifetime - Firehouse
Hard to say I'm sorry -- Chicago
Inspiration - Chicago
Nothin's gonna change my love for you  - Paul Mederios
Where are you now -- Jimmy Harnen
The search is over -- Survivor

The list goes on....

I can't sleep tonight.  I don't expect this to be a funny post.... so if that's what you're looking for, you may want to skip over it.  It's also not exactly about weight loss, unless you count the fact that I could really use a nice little pint of Ben and Jerry's or some Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche....

Every night before I go to sleep, I speak to my husband to say goodnight... he works nights.  He's pretty stressed out right now.  I'm not going to get into why.... but it makes me sad and nothing I can say or do will make it better.  I feel helpless sometimes.  I wish I could have more of an impact on his moods.

Honestly.... I'm listening to these songs because they remind me of a time and a place... and it probably isn't what you think.,,

Back in the 80's, when these songs were not only the most popular, but also when I was hitting those very important puberty years when I was trying to find myself, I had countless mix tapes that I had recorded from the radio.... these songs.

In the spring, summer, and fall, I would go out onto our deck towards sunset, plug in my little pink boom box, pop in a tape, and turn up the music.  I would spin, twirl, lie on my back and stare at the sky, and sing along with all the heart and passion that I could muster up.  It was my time.  I lived in the country... enough space between houses to keep the neighbors from hearing my serenade and quiet enough that I could stare at the stars for hours without being interrupted by a soul, except perhaps a nosey sister....

These songs were my romantic education.  I would dream of who I would end up with someday... who would be that one man who swept me off my feet... who told me that they had maybe been my friend for what seemed like a hundred years only to realize that he truly loved me all along and that I was the woman of his dreams.  (You were with me all the while....)

I wanted to be the meaning in someone's life... someone's inspiration...  I wanted to be the girl who got away only to become the pain and suffering of the man who let me go and shouldn't have....   I wanted to be the one who had a man holding her hand on the beach at sunset, staring at the waves and professing that NOTHING was every gonna change his love for me.

My dearest husband tried.... he wanted that sunset beach moment to propose to me... but then clumsy me broke my leg and had it in a cast that week.  So he proposed on the balcony of our condo, overlooking the ocean, at sunset... it was just as romantic as I had ever dreamed.... except of course for the gigantic purple cast on my leg.  *sigh*

Life was so much simpler then... when I was 13, 14, 15....  When I was singing my heart out on the deck... when I was imagining my future.  I was going to be a singer, naturally... life was a giant daydream...

There were no bills to be paid, no kids to discipline, no work that MUST be done at risk of losing your only source of income.... and I never was ashamed or embarrassed to open my mouth and sing to my heart's content.

I leave you with this, tonight (holy smokes it's almost 3:00):





but most of all.....


Love deeply, carelessly, without abandon.  Follow where your heart leads.

There are as many forms of love as there are Shakespeare sonnets.... I challenge you to find and cherish them all.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Powerball Dreams

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few days, you know that the Powerball jackpot is at an all time high... a staggering  $1.3 BILLION.

That bears repeating.


I am involved in 3 different work pools, including the one I'm running, and have purchased tickets on my own.  Together, I've dropped about $10 on the adventure.  It isn't much, but enough to spark a dream.

Now, before my Christian followers start throwing out the evils of gambling and all that rot, I want to defend my investment.

First, I believe that some of the laws in the Bible are not as black and white as some religious folks seem to believe they are.  The Bible says to not be a drunk, it does not say "do not drink."  We are talking about a time when the water was barely drinkable... no water filters, no bottled water from preserved springs in the mountains.  It was gross, muddy water with bacteria and all sorts of funky things that we would not want to ingest.  In that time period, folks drank the liquid created from crushing grapes.  Wine.  Sure, some of it was grape juice, but if they held on to it long enough, it was fermented WINE.  The Bible doesn't say to DIE OF THIRST or ONLY DRINK THE NASTY WATER.  No... it says:  Don't be a drunk.  Don't be that guy on the highway begging the good Samaritan for a few coins so you can go to the local bar and get wasted.

Using that same logic, the evils of gambling are in those who become addicted to it.  If your gambling affects your ability to pay your bills or feed your family, you have a problem.

In 2006, pregnant with my first child, I took a vacation to Las Vegas with my husband and a few friends.  One couple that was with us were against gambling.  Granted, none of us are big gamblers, but when in Vegas.... right?  While the rest of us spent a little time gambling, they were sight seeing and exploring different casinos.  Fun stuff!  One day, all the men folk took our rental car to the grocery store, leaving my girlfriend and I to find something to do for a few hours.  I took her to a penny poker machine, gave her a dollar, and the two of us played for 2 hours.  We walked away having lost about $.50 each.  Now tell me, where else in the world can you find entertainment for 2 hours at a price of $.50 EACH??  Did that create a gambling habit for either of us? No, but we did have a good time and it did not break the bank.

Next, I want to ask you to think on the recent wallet burn we call CHRISTMAS.  How many dollars did you drop on your kids, siblings, parents, friends?  Does anyone other than me look at the sea of plastic toys that our children rip open with glee and imagine what the landfills will look like in 10 years?  My daughter received two 18 inch dolls that she has yet to play with.  What about the hoarded nightmare of their bedrooms?  My girls have enough toys to open a store.  When play time comes, do you know what my kids do?  Ipad.  Xbox.  Kindle. Iphone.  So WHY ON EARTH AM I BUYING THEM MORE STUFF???  More toys to ignore, more clothes they won't wear, more more more more....

In light of that... I dropped $10 for a CHANCE to put myself and all of my loved ones in a better place financially.  It's better than the hundreds of dollars dropped on toys that may never get played with.  I'm not addicted to gambling.  I may have spent that $10 on my next lunch from SaladWorks.  I may have dropped that $10 on a few more apps for my daughter's phone.  Instead, I spent it on an investment venture that will benefit our future.  Besides, isn't the stock market all a gamble?  Yet that is not frowned upon.

Sorry, but I'm going to poo-poo on the notion that playing the Powerball Lotto is bad.

On to the Powerball Dreams:

Remember when you were a kid and you had dreams of being a fireman, an astronaut, a doctor, a fashion designer, or a pop star?  It was so fun to dream and pretend like you could achieve these goals.  I was going to be a HIT on Broadway!  I was going to be Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.  I was going to be a LEGEND!  I took voice lessons... I sang my heart out!  I knew I could make it happen.

It didn't happen.  Oh, but how fun was it to dream?

Powerball dreams take us to that place again.  If money was never again a problem, what would we do with ourselves?  Would we rescue our families from debt and set up trust funds for our kids, their kids, and their kid's kids?  Would we buy a mansion, with a huge pool... and a handsome pool boy, with a maid, and a cook, and a private plane?  Would we give to charity, or multiple ones?  Which ones?  How much?  Who would we throw a few thousand dollars to just to make them smile?  It's fun to dream... but how would we keep our feet planted on solid ground?  How would keep from becoming lofty and out of control?  How would we keep ourselves busy?

What are your Powerball Dreams?  Drop me a comment, I'd love to read it!

Week 1 Success

Weight:  261.6
Change:  -4.4!!

Ok... I know I said I was going to wait and only weigh in every 21 days instead of every week... but I had to know if this is working.  IT IS!!!!

I just want to DANCE!!!  

Despite my desire for the almighty cookie, which, I might add, I nearly succumbed to over the weekend, I managed to stay on track and lose a whopping 4.4 pounds!  WOO HOO!!!

I had a lot of extras left last night and did allow myself a single scoop of vanilla ice cream, but it was well within my allowances for the week an obviously didn't hurt me much.  

Weight Loss for the WIN!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Lead Me Not into Temptation....

Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. 

Give us this day or daily bread....   CARBS!!! NOOOOOOO!!!  delete delete delete.....

Give us this day our daily protein shake with Greek yogurt, kale, and flax seed....  Much better.

Forgive us for our sins  calories....

As we forgive those who sin against us... Like that awesome baker in accounting who is always bringing in the cookies and trying to sabotage everyone's diet...

Lead us not into temptation....  PAUSE -- Let's take a moment, shall we?

Perhaps this should read, "Blind our eyes to all the things we really want to eat but shouldn't," or, "Make all the unhealthy things disappear!"

I know I'm making light of it all, but temptation is a huge part of our lives.  Be it a diet, an ethical situation, gambling, or in the game of love, temptation is all around us.  In a recent conversation with a friend I said, "God is testing us."  The reply was one that really made me stop and think, "We are testing ourselves while God watches" (or something to that effect).

Think on that for a moment....

WHO is really leading us into temptation?  This isn't a Christian blog, per se, but I am a Christian, and therefore tend to put a Christian spin on things.  The answer that jumps out at any Christian who was raised in a God fearing Baptist church, such as myself, is SATAN!  The Devil, or perhaps one of his minions, is TEMPTING me!  But what if WE are his minions... without realizing.

My biggest temptation are cookies. I LOVE COOKIES!  Before I had kids, it was easy to diet.  I would simply keep cookies out of my home, then.... no temptation.  Now, I have kids.  Cookies in the home are a staple.  When grocery shopping, we must go down the cookie aisle.  My husband and I are doing this together, and we decided that the simple answer is to buy cookies that the kids like, but we do not.  That's right, avoid the sugar cookies, fudge stripes and the chocolate dipped graham crackers.  Replace them with the generic Oreos and iced oatmeal cookies.  That will do the trick.

The best way to avoid temptation is to remove it from your senses.  Unfortunately, we are human. We much prefer to throw caution to the wind and place ourselves directly in the cookie aisle, don't we?  We set boundaries and draw lines that we simply love to dance on.

"I can go down the cookie aisle and simply SMELL all the deliciousness and then, I'll be ok.  I won't have to have one!"  Dancing on the line.

The problem with dancing on that line is that the line tends to move around.  Soon we will say:

"I'm not a fan of generic Oreos, but a little taste will certainly satisfy my craving...."  The line has moved, and now, we are dancing on another one.

How many times can that line move before we are back to the cookie aisle buying every single soft baked peanut butter with chocolate chips dipped in caramel and smothered in chocolate pieces of addictive deliciousness????

If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off... does that mean that if your mouth causes you to get fat, you should sew it shut?

Temptation is tricky.  Logic would say that the best way to eliminate the temptation is to eliminate the source. Stop going down the cookie aisle.... but then, the children suffer.  Face it, deep down, we REALLLLY want to be in that cookie aisle and as we pick up our generic oreos.... we secretly (or not so secretly) desire our sugar cookies... just one more taste, as if we have forgotten how good they are.

So we pray....  Lead us not into Temptation.... because we are already driving ourselves down the temptation expressway and we can't seem to find the exit.

The problem is not the temptation, but the guilt that follows our cookie transgressions.  We step on the scale and realize that we've gained another pound.  A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.  We need to weigh the consequences of our temptations before (or as...) we dance on that line.  Before that line moves, we must consider the outcome of our actions.  As wonderfully delicious that cookie tastes, the flavor lasts for only a few fleeting moments, but the damage done is harder to erase.  In a world where we are encouraged to live for the moment... the consequences can be easy to ignore, until it is too late.

and so we pray...

Deliver us from Evil...  or cookies... you know, whatever.

For yours is the Kingdom, and the Power,  and the GLORY forever.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Tribute

Between  in 1996 and 1998, I spent my undergrad years at West Chester University of PA.  Dorm life didn't suit me, so my best friend and I rented a room from a nice married couple who had graduated a few years earlier.  They introduced us to many of their friends over our time as housemates and we all were the best of friends.

I'll never forget meeting Bob Truitt.  Bob was very quiet.  He was a student of human nature and liked to fade into the woodwork as he quietly observed.  I, on the other hand, am loud, boisterous, friendly, and flirty!  I could not stand for him to be so quiet all the time, and as such, I took it upon myself to bring him out of his shell.

We played the popular card game of the day, Magic: The Gathering.  Oh yes... we were nerds.  As we played I learned that Bob was a bright and witty man.  We attended church together and his quiet, dry humor always had me giggling at inappropriate moments!

In due time, our conversations became more private, and private conversations become deeper in content.  We were both at a crossroads in our social lives, trying to find ourselves, if you will.  I had been through an emotional whirlwind with a failed relationship and he confided in me that he had actually never dated.  

We were great friends, trying to find our place in the world.  What were we being called to be?  What were we being called to do?  Who were we being called to be with?  We decided to date.  It was kind of a social experiment.  I needed to be with someone I could trust to be a gentleman and I knew that Bob would be.  Bob needed someone who understood that he was a bit of a late bloomer in the relationship department, who wouldn't rush him or have false expectations.

We had a lot of fun together.  We would people watch and play games.  When all of my roommates were out of town, he stayed with me for a few nights to keep me from being scared of being alone.  He slept on the floor and we had an old fashioned sleep over party, playing truth or dare, pillow fights, late night conversations.  

We talked about the dreaded First Kiss.  Our first kiss as a couple would have a little added pressure on me because it was also his first kiss ever.  I knew in my heart that I wanted to make it special.  It had to be a moment he could always look back on with fondness.  One that burned in his memory as one of the greatest moments of his life. 

A few weeks later, he took me to meet his mother and step-father.  They lived in Maryland, near Ocean City.  I devised a plan.  We went for a walk on the beach at sunset.  It was late in the fall and the weather was cool and windy.  The beach was deserted.  With no one around and the soft glow of the orange and pink sunset, the roar of the ocean crashing, and the smell of the sea in the air, we shared our first kiss.  

As time moved on, we decided that as strong as our friendship was, there was no real romantic attachment between us.  We cared for each other, but there was no true deep love or passion.  We mutually decided to remain friends, but discontinue dating.  

Life marches on.  I graduated, met someone, got married, moved away.  Our friendship faded into memories.  Years later, we would find each other again on social media and have little chats about this and that, reliving our younger years.  

On December 23, 2015, Bob was headed home from PA to MD to visit family for the holidays.  It was his 42nd birthday.  A car from the other side of the divided highway crossed over the grassy median and crashed into Bob's car.  Bob died shortly thereafter from his injuries.

You always think you have so much time... to catch up, to share memories, to show someone you care.  You always think that there is always TOMORROW.  But there isn't.  I found out Christmas morning.  I remembered that I had forgotten to wish him a happy birthday and when I went to do it... I found out he was gone.  I never wished him a happy birthday.  I never had asked him if that first kiss remained a fond memory.  I never said goodbye.  I never.....

Goodbye Bob.  I know you are in a better place now with angels and our Father.  I'll miss you.  I already miss you.  I'll always remember you and that kiss with fondness.

The Dreaded Diet

Happy 2016!

As I had said before, this blog is kind of a weight loss/health diary.  Now, in the past, I was brutally honest about my ACTUAL weight.  I think if this is a page of TRUTHS, I need to be honest, right?

Ok.  This is gonna hurt.

Date:  1/4/16
Diet Plan:  21 Day Fix
Starting Weight: 266 lbs (OUCH!)

Starting Weight Photos:

Ok, I'm making a goofy face in the weigh in photos.  WHY?  Because my friend and I were goofing around. Don't judge!  I also included a face only shot.  As I continue the journey, I hope to do more shots that show my transformation as I go.

Weigh in frequency:  Every 21 days.  I don't want to weigh in from week to week as I have in the past only to be discouraged by a half pound here or there.

Goal:  I like little goals.  Back in November, I said I wanted to lose 40 pounds by my 40th birthday -- which is Jan. 22.  That's not happening.  So my FIRST realistic goal is for this first 21 days.  Let's say.... 10 pounds in 21 days!

How it works:

This diet plan has a bunch of names, you may have seen it on TV.  Known as the 21 Day Fix, or the Beach Body Diet, Beach Body Revolution, and also Shakeology - which is a little different but goes hand in hand with this diet.  I'm using the 21 Day Fix variation.

So the 21 Fix Diet comes with a  Shakeology cup, for measuring liquids, and several multi colored containers.  Each container is for a different kind of food.  Based on your weight and weight loss goals, the plan determines how  many of each container you can have per day.  You use the containers to measure out your allowed amounts for the day.

Remember that old Richard Simmons Deal a Meal thing from the 90's?  He gave you a wallet full of cards that represented a type of food.  As you ate the food, you moved out the cards.  When you run out of cards, you're done eating for the day.  It's the same basic concept, except, instead of cards, you use containers to make sure your portion sizes are correct.

GREEN containers are for our veggies -- I can have 6 a day of those.  Yay Salad!
PURPLE containers are for fruits.  -- I can have 4 a day
RED containers are for protein -- I can have 6 a day
YELLOW containers are for carbs - I can have 4 a day
BLUE containers are for healthy fats and cheese -- I only get 1 a day. BOOO.  I like cheese.
Tiny ORANGE containers are for salad dressings and seeds -- I only get 1 a day of those.
SPOONS - are teaspoons for stuff like mayo and peanut butter.  -- I can have 6 a day.
Annnnd water?  17 cups a day!! WOW.

They also have workouts to go with the diet plan, but I've got to work up to that. My Fibromyalgia gets mad at me if I work out, so I'm using my Fitbit and trying to increase my walking to start.  I have a Biggest Loser 30 day jump start book that shows how to increase your walking. I'm going to use that to build up my stamina.

So, who wants to join me in a 2016 Life Change?  Send me a comment and we can do this together!