Monday, June 30, 2014

Shamu, Sea World and facing swim suits

We spent our vacation at Sea World San Antonio this past weekend. Actually, we are on the way back as I write this. I am not much of an amusement park sort of woman but Sea World won me over. Killer Whales, dolphins, sting rays, and all the other amazing sea animals and birds are worth the trip alone.

And then there is the water park....
You know, the water park where you get to parade around in a bathing suit in public in front of perfect strangers and play on water slides and get inter tube wedgies and spend half the day thinking 'my cottage cheese thighs are so disgusting, why couldn't women's bathing suits still go to the ankles?' Or 'does that woman know she shouldn't really be wearing a bikini? I can't believe I am actually kind of jealous that she doesn't care.' Then there is always that thought when you see the perfect life guards 'Oh. My. God. I don't think my body has ever looked like that a day in my life! Everything is so firm and tight.'

Eventually, I realized something, I don't care. I was in San Antonio, Texas where I know absolutely nobody. So I did what any good red headed stubborn fool would do in San Antonio Spurs country, I put my Dallas Mavericks T-Shirt on over my bathing suit mostly because my shoulders were burning and because I am a rebel like that...

And said to heck with the cottage cheese and went out and had fun and tried not to worry about how my fat looked when I was riding the rides because seriously, when you are worried about dying, who cares if you look good doing it, right? :-)

If you get a chance, I really suggest Sea World! I want to take a whale and a dolphin home.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Life, Mountain Biking, and a guy I did not know

Sometimes things just hit too close to home. Such is the story of Wesley Hixson .

I didn't know Wesley Hixson. From everything I have read he was a lot more experienced mountain biker than I am. He was a young man of 30 who left too soon and the story is tragic not only because he leaves behind a family and friends who love him but because it was an accident that shouldn't have happened. That's why it's an accident.

The mountain bike community is something I am pretty new to but I have always found them to be amazingly friendly and helpful. I have had my share of near misses and I have always had someone there to help fix a flat, give direction, or walk or ride me off a trail. A stranger even stayed with me when I needed medical attention until the EMS came. They are always the first people to pass me by on the trail and make sure I am okay. They don't leave riders behind. That's just who mountain bikers are.

People are looking for answers in this tragedy and there really aren't any. There are no fingers to point and nobody is to blame. My instincts tell me as a rider that we all tend to feel we are okay after a fall, even if we may not be okay. Things happen. We fall. We fall a lot. That is just part of the ride. There is kind of a saying in biking that if you don't fall you aren't doing it right. When I come in after a particularly hard ride, my friends look at my bruises and scrapes and think I got beat up. I laugh and say 'No but I had a great ride! I face planted once and hit a tree!' They think I'm nuts. Maybe I am. Remember that I am new to this sport and I don't get a chance to ride near enough right now but God, I love it.

What makes this so hard, I think, so real, for anyone who mountain bikes, is that we know, no matter how experienced a rider we may or may not be, this could be us. There is nothing special or different about this situation that any rider who has been on a mountain bike more than 20 minutes hasn't experienced. Quite simply if you love biking, this is part of the sport, part of the adventure.

So will any of us quit? I doubt it. What will happen, I am guessing is that the community will find a way, when the time is right to honor Wesley. In the meantime individuals will donate to his family fund as he left behind a wife and young kids. As for personal safety, we will all check our helmets and make sure we have our cellphones with us if we didn't already. (I did). Me personally, I doubt I will ever not think of Wesley when I am at Northshore now. I am betting he has found the ultimate ride in Heaven. May God grant peace to those he loved.

Note: I didn't change this from Mountain Bike Monday because they found Wesley yesterday.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Weekend Round-Up with Blake Shelton!

This weekend was a blur of home projects interrupted by a Blake Shelton concert.

I decided it was time to repaint basically my whole know because I am tired of it. This happens about once every few years. I painted the living room, dining, and kitchen this weekend. The real transformation was the kitchen.

The real fun was Blake and my friend Julie and I got to spend some quality girl time hanging, talking about our lives, our silly guys, and home improvement projects which were the topic of the day for me.

Blake was amazing and everyone was happy when his wife, Miranda Lambert, came out to sing too.

I can't say enough about how good this concert was from Neal McCoy MC-ing the show to Dan and Shay, the Band Perry and Blake and Miranda it was funny, entertaining and worth the 3 years I have waited to see him play. I have a lot of concerts this summer but Blake was the one I was looking forward to the most. He did not disappoint!

Oh, and I totally love the kitchen.

Ignore the mess, we haven't had a chance to totally straighten it back up yet but it looks fresh and lovely. Gone is my country look and it is modern and open feeling.

So, how was your weekend?

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Morning Protein Shakes: How I learned to love mine

I have made a commitment to improve my health and lose weight which began last December, exactly 6 months ago today. One of the decisions I made recently was to add a protein shake to make sure I get between 60 and 90 grams a day of protein. I am incredibly successful in losing weight, staying full and just being healthy when I stick to this plan.

I know everyone loves smoothies, everyone but me. Because I was forced to live off of them for several weeks due to a surgery I had to have, I burned out quick. With that in mind I have had to find a way to love my morning protein, and I did.

This is my drink. I managed to trick myself into loving it by combining my protein shake with my love for coffee. I know, I know, I am cheating but it works for me! Instead of water I add the ice and the the coffee to the ice. Note, don't try to add the protein powder to hot liquid because it turns the protein nasty and gross! Now, for me, I go a step further and add some instant coffee to give me more coffee flavor and more caffeine, naturally. This has drastically cut down on my coffee intake. One morning I didn't drink any! As for protein powder I have used vanilla, chocolate and cookies and cream and they all worked well. The key for me is to use one that has at least 30g of protein. It takes me at least 2 hours to drink this so I am not downing it. It's a process.

I have been eating this way consistently for about 2 weeks and I am not tired of the drink yet. That's huge for me! Sometimes I even make a second one for lunch instead of grilled chicken.

Oh, and yes I am losing weight...but that is another blog and it is coming. I promise!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sometime Life throws a Curve:Losing Richard Durrett & Life

Last night Rangers Nation lost a one of the best reporters the team has and local media lost a friend but for a family the loss was profound a husband and father of two and a half. Richard Durrett left too soon at 38 and expecting his 3rd child but reading the love his fellow reporters/friends shared for him, the heartbreak of fans who interacted with him and knowing the pain of losing a parent I was reminded again that life is sometimes too short and God expects us all to take the chance every day to be our best and given the opportunity, do it with love. Richard apparently did this, to his credit.

I don't have any profound advice for life that hasn't been said before but I can support a few things that have:

Make amends if you can, if you can't make peace with your past before it eats you alive. Forgive others and forgive yourself.

Take a chance if love comes your way because it may not come twice, it may not show up the way you expect it or in a neat little box and believe me, no matter how many people think you are doing the wrong thing, if you think it is worth it, it is worth it.

Finally, God hears all of your prayers and answers them in His time and His way and while His way may not be the way you expect, it turns out to be just right. I know, because for years I was praying for the same thing and He answered that prayer by introducing me to my best friend and (later) his daughter ten months ago. He was nothing I was looking for and everything I needed. God is funny that way. He knows better.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Random acts of kindness and Paying it forward

Sometimes it takes an unknown stranger to remind you there are good people left in the world. Yesterday at lunch I ran to Kroger to pick up a few things for dinner and my iPhone must have fallen out of my purse next to my Jeep. Some kind stranger left it with this note on my door. I would be so lost without it that I instantly sent a little 'Thank You and God please Bless this person' prayer out.

This started me thinking about a few angles on earth I had encountered in my life. There was the father of a college aged daughter who pulled over and took me to a gas station when I ran out of gas on the way home from the University of Texas in Austin one weekend. I don't to this day know how I knew I could trust him. Everything I had been taught told me not to get in a car with a stranger but somehow he was a ok. I got really lucky. I would never tell anyone to do what I did that day but he was an angel to do what he did and he probably did save me.

There were my two heroes when I went mountain biking the first time. You can read that story Here . That story would have ended much worse had I not found two guys willing to peddle me out of the park that night.

Paying it forward:

Then I started to think about the times I had been the angel and the times I had failed. Mostly the times I had the chances and passed on my chance and why. My opportunities usually have the same theme, someone approaches me in a parking lot asking for money for gas. I never have cash. I just don't carry cash. I don't buy Girl Scout cookies because I don't have cash. If I want to put money in those little bell ringing things I usually throw spare change because that's all I ever have on me. I will go in and do my grocery shopping and get cash for the person who needs gas but they are always gone when I come outside. I never know, did they find gas? Did they really need gas? Did they just want money? How do you ever really know?

I realize we all have lessons to learn and maybe mine is to keep $10.00 in my wallet for these people so I can quit feeling guilty because if Jesus really wants me to just part with the money regardless of if these people need it for gas or a cheeseburger, maybe I should just be willing to part with it and let it go...I just don't know because I also believe God expects people to help themselves. Life is such a difficult balance sometimes.

So, what are your best random acts of kindness that someone has done for you and how do you pay it forward?

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Bonus Parents Day: let's make it happen! (Plus a letter to my step-dad)

I don't know what has made me realize lately that my step-dad never really got much credit in raising my brother and myself but he came into my life when I was just about 13 and my brother was getting ready to turn 11 and he has been there since. To say I was the tough one is an understatement. By the time my mom remarried I decided I knew it all and didn't need a father. I was wrong. My step-dad has been the only true male figure of my life and he has done the best job anyone could raising a stubborn, angry, hurt and scared kid who missed her dad and put up a huge wall because she didn't want to let anyone in and betray her daddy. It sounds stupid and I didn't do it knowingly but that's what I did.

Skip forward about thirty years and I started dating a man with a child. My biggest fear was me facing me. I got lucky and found a child who actually loves me. We have a great time together but knowing my place is hard.

I have come to realize that step parents are the forgotten, misunderstood, under appreciated and sometimes just completely overlooked parent in the world. They walk a very fine line. They have the job of supporting both natural parents believe it or not; the parent they love and the parent that they may not even know well but whom they are co-parenting. There is often discourse in the relationship with the biological parents, it may be easier for the step-parent to take the supportive-neutral role. Call them Switzerland. They are the voice of reason. When push comes to shove, they will side with their spouse, of course, but they have the unique ability to see reason without the feelings and pain of the past.

That's why I think Step parents need their own holiday. Not just Father's Day or Mother's Day but a Bonus Parent or extra Parent Day or whatever you want to call it. They work hard at raising kids that they love like their own and it may take 30 years before the kid realizes, like me, that their step dad didn't have to bust his butt for me. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Jim, I love you for everything you did for us. You were a great dad. You may have driven me crazy but that's what a dad is suppose to do. You took care of us and you made sure we always had what we needed and everything we wanted too and you kept us safe. Plus, you embarrassed us just the way dads do. You did a good job!

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Father's Day, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society plus a Give away!

Alright I rarely blog on the weekends but when I had a chance to tell you about my favorite charity and join an amazing group of bloggers and give back I couldn't pass up the chance.

First I want to share why the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society matters to me and since this is Fathers Day weekend, this works out perfectly.

This is my dad....and he died of lymphoma when he was 27. I have written about this before but I miss him. He was a good man and cancer stole his chance to watch his kids grow up. I want to make sure that cancer doesn't get the chance to take anyone else's parent because growing up without your father sucks. Think about it, you have nobody to teach you how men should treat you. There is nobody to show you what love is suppose to be between a man and a woman. There is nobody to kick a boys butt if he treats you like crap. There was certainly nobody there to tell me I was a beautiful princess and I have never known who would walk me down the aisle. Still, I have the greatest guardian angel a girl could ask for in heaven so I guess I am pretty lucky.

Okay to the give away!!

Raewyn and Cassi & Katie both have blogiversaries coming up!  What better way to celebrate than with $100 to charity?  Who ever wins the giveaway picks where it all goes!

First, meet your hosts!

Raewyn blogs over at Be a Warrior Queen and is celebrating her fifth blogiversary!
Cassi and Katie blog at The World From the View of Two Teenage Girls and are celebrating their second blogiversary!
Next, your lovely co-hosts!

(Clockwise starting top-left) Adri at Adri's Thoughts // Tiffany at Endless Bliss // Jess at Jess Loves this Life // Laura at Simply Me the Way I See It  // Angie at My So-Called Chaos // Shane at Whispering Sweet Nothings // Jackie at Jade and Oak // Samantha at The Samantha Show

a Rafflecopter giveaway ​​ ">

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Being a Grown-up: It had to happen someday

Lately I have realized exactly what a strong and amazing woman I have become. I'm not tooting my own horn. Most of the credit goes to my mother who raised me after my father's death with the help and guidance of her parents, his, some great teachers and later the support of my step-father. Kudos to the small village it took to give me the solid values that made me responsible and only semi-goofy.

We all have baggage and we all face opportunities in life that determine our future. I have some major faults. In no particular order:

-I am too sensitive. For years I have been afraid to open myself to love because I thought people who I loved will leave me. My father did. Friends seemed to leave, lord knows guys always did....until now.

-Making bad choices to stay safe was the story of my life. I went to talk to a therapist in the spring of 2013 because I knew that I was subconsciously doing this to make myself impossible to love. She told me I wasn't crazy and the problem was only that I was too willing to accept lazy men.

Oh I can find 20 things I want to do more than anything I have to do but luckily I have a nag at home who pushes me to do the stuff that needs to get done. It drives me crazy but it is probably a good thing.

That's just a few faults but here are some of the strengths I have lately noticed in myself and I am very proud of these.

-I am not afraid to take responsibility for myself and others. Sometimes the responsibility is huge. Loving someone, sometimes comes with small packages that are a lifetime responsibility. I love these little responsibility and I am embracing the challenge. More, I am looking at the future and making sure that I think ahead to so we do what we can today to make sure and plan for the future.

-Being realistic. I thought for a long time I wanted to adopt but then I looked into the cost of not only adoption but the cost of college education for the future and realized that as much as I love kids, maybe I should just take care of the one that God has given me as a responsibility and help my brother with the six that are his. That seems like enough for one family. I'm not 33 with 35 years until I retire.

-Motivating and comforting people.
The truth is, in my line of business, I have to do it a lot. I am pretty good at it. I am the one people come to with their problems. I am also the problem solver. If there is a problem, people look to me to fix it.

When you grow up, you face big girl problems: Buying a house, selling a house, getting engaged, planning a wedding, being married, having a child, raising a child, paying for college, paying for the unexpected home repair, car repair, and then comes health problems, yours, your parents, your spouse, your child. How you handle these things, how you face these problems, and who you choose to surround yourself with and trust are all part of the growing up and being an adult. Find happy, positive and supportive people who will be there for you and love you through the tough times and who you can love through theirs. I just try to be the best version of me despite my faults and no matter how mad someone who is pushing my buttons may make me. The truth is, the only people that push my buttons anymore push them not because they attack me but because they hurt a child that is important to me. The rest, just don't matter.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Letter I Should Write Someday

I took this picture last weekend and it makes me happy!

I have seen other bloggers do it. Maybe it's cathartic, I don't know. I figure why not give it a try. Here are a few letters I should write someday.

1. You can lie to yourself but you can't lie to me. I have and always will take the high road with you but you were not honest and I trusted you when I never should have. My bad. I know who you are now, and while I hope you are finally happy, as I am, I really just want you to mind your business now and stay out of mine and away from my friends. I am not your backup plan and I am not the weak, needy, love starved, pushover woman you thought you knew. I made so many bad decisions and I have had to forgive me. I have lost friendships because of the decisions and they all lead back to things I did with you. I don't wish I never met you because I am strong because I did. I thank you. Now, please learn to be happy with what God has gifted you.

2. I wish I could see a future where we could be friends. I have honestly never been so hurt by a friend. I believe you actually don't even care which boggles my mind because I thought you were one of my closest friends. I said some terrible things out of hurt but I can't even begin to apologize. I know others have said they weren't judging me but I know very well what you said to me and it was a judgement, pure and simple. Either way, I am happy and I am moving on with my life. It is unfortunate that several of my closest friends won't be there to share my future but God has provided me with the most amazing love. I thank you for being there when I needed you. You helped me through one of the saddest times of my life. I'm sorry you won't be at my wedding.

3. I love you. I will always love you. We may never be close again but I hope you know that if you ever need me, I will be there for you. I am happy and I don't want any apology. I just want you to be happy. Please do not let anyone from my past use you. I apologize for them digging. I hate that anyone has put you in the middle. I really do understand what you were trying to do even if I don't understand the motivation of everyone else. Life goes on and sometimes friendship changes. I accept that but that doesn't mean that I will ever stop caring. I wish you the best. Good luck.

4. I have tried so hard to be fair to you. I have tried to give you the benefit of the doubt but you make it so hard. You lie and you are selfish. Think just once of someone else. I won't pity you. I will do only the right thing, now and in the future. God, as my witness if you will not take care of things, I will.

5. We aren't perfect. I am stubborn, you are more than stubborn. I love you. You make me smile. You make me laugh. My world is just so much better with you in it. You are my best friend and you make me a better me. You also drive me absolutely crazy. XO

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

To Blog or Quit? Is this thing on?

Have you ever faced this question?

I started this blog for me as a place to share my thoughts for myself. At times it has kept me in touch with friends across the country. At times it as kept me sane. In the time I have had this blog I have made some amazing blog friends and I have lost some friends, in part because of my blog and theirs. Sometimes sharing isn't really caring, not as much as talking it out would have been. Finally, it just stops mattering. The blog has seen me through heart aches and now it is seeing me experience joy.

The blog could go with me to my most happy moments but I am just not sure. I am not the girl with a Wedding Wednesday (no that's not an announcement, yet) and there won't be a baby blog. I do think there is an opportunity there to share what it is like as a 40-something finding love and growing a family because I am not 20. We face way different challenges but, am I up to it? I just don't know.

So the question becomes why do I continue to blog and should I? I don't really know the answer right now. I don't even really know if anyone cares. It's a dilemma. I love my little blog but I just don't know anymore why I blog and if I wouldn't be better served turning my need to write to another formate.

Have any of you faced this question? How did you overcome it? What changed your mind?

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Love, Lust, and what???

You have heard that saying "Opposites attract"? Well, I never thought much about it but in a way it is true. There are certain things about my honey and me that are so opposite but that is part of the fun and why we work where others didn't for both of us. I'm not the hunting and fishing gal he thought he always wanted but I try and he isn't the baseball first guy I always thought I needed but he tries. He even went to a work function at the ballpark with me the other night and was a huge hit! Everyone loved him. He goes mountain biking with me sometimes, even though that's my thing, not his. We just work well together.

Here is the thing about us, I am your typical blogger-over sharer and he is very private so you don't see me talk about us for a reason...he hates it! I will probably get in trouble for just sharing this much but what the heck. We are happy. It's true.

We met simply as friends last August because neither of us were looking for anything but God knows better. Over time it became clear he was nothing I ever thought I wanted and everything I needed. I share this only because I know a lot of single women who have a list of things they 'need'. Throw it out and trust God to send you what you need.

If I had gone with my "list" I would have stuck with the same guys who broke my heart over and over instead of the one that finally treated me like I was worth cherishing. Just a note, don't discount someone because he seems wrong and don't make excuses for someone who treats you bad because he seems right.

The guys who seemed the most right to me were the ones who treated me with the least concern. My honey teases me that I just needed a redneck to know how a man really treats a lady. Maybe so. I do know this much, once you go redneck you never go back. Lol

As far as these e-cards are concerned they mostly just made me laugh.

A big RIP to Former Rangers and Cubs manager Don Zimmer. I remember him mostly from the Cubbies from the 80's but he was with a lot of teams over the years and was a baseball guy through and through. Baseball lost a great one and heaven got another class act.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Weekends, Mountain Biking, and Family

This weekend was a blur of activity and calm spent with my special someone and my special little someone. We spent time playing games, packing, doing crafts, fishing, and yes, mountain biking!

There is a park behind my house and for years I have wished there were dirt paths through it so recently, when we discovered there are, I started scoping out the mountain bike potential. Finally, this weekend, an early birthday present provided the opportunity for all three of us to go biking and I found out my new youngest best friend is a 10 year old Mountain Bike beast! Nothing makes me smile more than watching a kid enjoy themselves outside doing a healthy activity and having a blast! That smile is worth everything. Added bonus to the Bobcat who crossed our path and gave us something really fun to share, just us girls.

In all the years I have lived here, over 14, I have never explored the park and creek behind my house the way I have in the last 6 months. It just goes to show you, how amazing the places right outside your back door can be when you open yourself up to new experiences. I am going to miss this house and park when we move across town but luckily for me, I have great friends/neighbors who I can visit and I can't wait for the next chapter to start in our home.

Life is amazing and the best part is sharing experiences and places you love with the people you love.

Special shout out to my sweetest nephew who turned 13 on June 1st. I don't know where my baby boy went but he is turning into a special young man and watching him grow is a pleasure.

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