Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Resolutions

2014 is coming to an end and with that, it's time to start thinking of 2015 and changes I want to make in my life.  Here's my to-do list for 2015: 


-post regularly: at least once a week.  I have been so bad in 2014 and I need to give my blog some LOVE this year! 

-read blogs I follow and keep up with them.

-comment more on blogs.  I have tried to do this more lately. 

-blog positively. 


-quit smoking- I picked this up hunting because the guys all smoke and it has to stop.  There is no reason to smoke and who can afford it? 

-be a more calm wife to my husband and stop sweating the little stuff. Marriage is a different experience for me and adjusting to becoming a "we" had been hard. 

-spend more time with friends: 
2014 was a crazy year personally and I lost track of time and friends. 

-work out regularly even if it is just walking

-read a book a month:
I have to find the time because I have a lot of books on my iPad! 

-finish my house, for now.  There are a few things, like refinishing the hardwoods under the carpet that will have to wait because it's a HUGE project but getting life organized for 2015 is a must. 

-do one fun project with my step-daughter a month

-work smarter 

-get up early and get things done before work. 

-cut out my sugar habit 

Now, if I quit smoking, work out regularly and cut out the sugar...all at the same time, I maybe a little bit bitchy to be around but I WILL be healthier so it's a trade off. 

What's your 2015 goal? Are you planning early?  Are you looking forward to the New Year?  Happy New Year everyone, be safe and sound and peace to us all. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

5 things I wish I could forget about 2014

In no particular order here is my list of things I wish I could forget about 2014:

-Planes going missing:
I realize that it is a big ocean and a tiny plane and relative to car accidents planes are much safer but I doubt I will ever fly in a plane out of Malaysia. Ever.

-Ferguson, Mo/ Hands Up Don't shoot:  
I have been kind of vocal outside of this blog however I have stayed away from this on the blog however not knowing where Ferguson, Mo is should still be a reality in all of our lives.   This particular case was egged on by irresponsible media and witnesses who's story changes more than my hair color in the  last 5 years.  That's a lot of change, for the record. Are there cases where police should be scrutinized and questioned? Yes! The Los Angeles case and the Cleveland case are perfect examples.   This case is not one.  You don't try and take a police officers weapon. Ever. 

-Goodbye Heathcliff Huxtable: 
My childhood isn't changed but my memories are soured by the accusations faced by Bill Cosby.   I don't think I will ever laugh as hard as I once did to reruns of The Cosby Show. 

-Robin Williams: 
What can I say? I forget he is gone and I see shows like Night at the Museum and it makes me sad. 

-The number one thing I would love to forget about 2014: ISIS.  I don't think this one needs explaination. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

So Long 2014: a year of change

2014 was a year of ups and downs and huge changes.  We lost a few friends and were reminded that nothing is guaranteed, life is precious, and never take anything for granted.  We spent time traveling Texas, going to ballgame a, planning a move and a wedding, getting married, and settling in to our amazing new life. 
The year started out with a little NYE party with the kids and included a Super Bowl party for adults later on and by Febuary we had snow! 

We spent the early spring hunting and fishing and seeing my nephew play ball. I love the times all the kids get together.  Then came Opening Day.  It was GREAT fun and in the middle of the ballgame, he popped the question!   I said "Yes", of course! 
There were trips for spring break to Caddo Lake and summer break to San Antonio and in between we spent a ton of time enjoying Lake Lewisville and our land out east.   Oh and Concerts!  There was Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw for starters! 
There was a ton of packing and saying goodbye to my home of 15 years. While we waited to move into our new home and marry we spent a lot of time with my good friend Shanna. 

There was a beautiful, amazing wedding filled with family and friends who are family.  It was perfect!  
There was an early snowstorm, Halloween, Thanksgiving and a new truck. 
We said goodbye to baseball and I said hello to a house full of new furniture and eyeglasses for the first time in my life. 

When I look back at 2014 in years to come, I know the pain of loss and tragedy that started early and the missing people who left out lives by choice or not, will fade and the good memories they leave behind will be all that matters.  The amazing love that we have is what we hold onto in times of struggle and 2014 has been polka dotted with bits of sad news for the country and trials.   I look forward to 2015 but I thank God for 2014.  I will never be sorry for this year! 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Podcast Obsessed: What I am listening to..

It started innocently enough.  I was looking for some advice one marriage and relationships.  Suddenly I found the podcast button on my iPhone that I had been ignoring for years. 

Then my friend Micah posted a status on Facebook about "Serial".  I was interested simply because I had no clue what it was or why everyone was hooked.  Two days and 11 podcasts later I found myself desperately searching Pinterest for more podcasts.  That was this past weekend. I admit it, I am a ID and Forensic Files addict so nothing will hook me faster than "Murder Who Done-It's".  I go back and forth, over and over, in my head, everything Sarah shared trying to figure out: Did he or Didn't he? 

Next up I started listening to "Criminal". In one afternoon I finished almost the entire series, so far.  There are some crimes that just make me shake my head in that series.  I mean, really people are stealing plants! 

So you might say very quickly I have become a Podcast Junky.  Yes, I am late to the ballgame but I love listening.  I have a good size commute so I can get at least one podcast in on the way to work and home.  

If I ever catch up with what I have loaded I plan to add a few additional podcasts.  Something on writing and something on health.  I like to be well rounded.  Right now, I need escape into lives a little more crazy than mine.  Ok, I need Christmas vacation but I need escape.  

So, PLEASE tell me what your favorite podcasts are and share with me!!! I can't wait to find more obsessions.  After all, "Serial" is only once a week! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Things I don't Understand: Fear of freedom

You really wouldn't think something as innocuous as a nativity set would upset people.  It's pretty.  It's sweet.  It's a baby. 

Apparently it is upsetting to some atheists who find the one at the state capital in Austin offensive.  Now, obviously I don't understand.  It isn't hurting anyone.  Growing up, there was always a manger outside the courthouse in the small town in Indiana where I come from.   The town wasn't sponsoring a religion it was just respecting the members who believe.  

The nativity scene in Austin wasn't paid for using public funds.  A private group donated it.  The state is simply respecting a large percentage of the population of the state of Texas who chose to celebrate Christmas.  I am sure they would do the same with any religion that choses to donate something, within reason.  (I doubt something morally offensive would be displayed nor should it be).  

So what is it about a sweet little baby Jesus that is so troubling to a group of people who choose  to believe in nothing? After all, our government is full of nothing every single day. There are hundreds of branches of Christianity so the state is not sponsoring any religion.  If atheists are so sure there is no God then a few little statues of a cute baby and his momma and daddy shouldn't upset them. After all, Jesus was a historical person. Should we remove the statues of Sam Houston next? 

If you choose to not believe I respect that. Respect my right to believe.  It isn't hurting you.  If you don't want to see the manger, don't look.  Don't hide behind the 1st amendment because we all have rights including the people who donated the nativity set.  They have a right as citizens of the great state of Texas to be Christians and donate to their state a symbol of their faith.  

People have gotten off track and way too wrapped up in things that just don't matter.  If you want to protest something, protest injustice, poverty, animal abuse, spousel abuse, traffic laws for heaven sake!  Make some difference where it matters but leave God alone, and Allah, and whomever else. 

Can I get an amen? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy sayings and Friendship

Friendships matter. 
Good friends find a way to stick together through the years.  
Today I salute some of my friends who manage to support me through my life changes.  Some have been a part of my life for years and years and some I "inherited" when I got married.   
Love you guys! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Raising a child and being a Bonus Mom: it's an honor

When I married I became a stepmom.  Now, if you know me, you know I always wanted to be a mom.  I had visions of little dresses and sailor outfits, hours spent rocking my baby to sleep, taking the kids to baseball games and to pick out a Christmas tree, letters to Santa and parent teacher conferences.  I looked forward to the first day of kindergarten and crying as my baby grew up and became independent.  I have adjusted my goals as I got older and things didn't work out.  

What I have instead is a beautiful, independent, stubborn young lady who knows her mind already and is sometimes too smart for her own good. I am blessed.  

So, being a stepmom or bonus mom or whatever you want to call it is my calling instead. What I have learned in a few short months is that kids need to know they are safe, loved, and wanted no matter how old they are and how you come into their lives.   They need to be able to trust their parents to be honest, good examples of how to live. 

What I have learned from my stepchild is that what you say or do isn't just about you.  You are showing them with your actions what matters in your life.  If you make time for them, find common projects to share with them, and take the time sometimes to snuggle and watch a movie or just listen when they are upset because the school bully is calling them names or treating them wrong, they will come to you. Being a stepmom is part about being a parent and raising them and part about being a friend and safe haven.  I don't get between her and her parents, I encourage her to talk to both of them. 

Someone asked me if it bothered me that she "wasn't mine".  Not at all.  She isn't a possession to fight over.  She is a child who needs love and that love can come from 2 parents or 4. The key is that the parents put aside their differences and do what is best for the child.   I look at helping to raise her as a beautiful opportunity given to me by my husband & his ex-wife but more importantly by her.  I was lucky because she accepted me and my family.  She has embraced my nieces and loves hanging out with them. She has that boys are dumb approach to my nephews that all 11 year olds have and it makes me laugh...because boys only get dumber as we grow up! She is a great kid.  Not perfect, no child is.  

So I started thinking about all the people who miss their opportunity to parent because they are too young or too selfish and it makes me sad.  I am sad because I know first, having a baby, watching it grow first inside me and then in the world, is an experience I would have given my left arm to have and there are people who take it for granted, throw it away, or simply never give their kids the time needed or moral example to have a chance to grow up healthy and strong.  They put themselves first and never think about how their actions effect their kids.  

It's a cruel world.  Life isn't ever going to be easy for any child.  Every family has a unique set of challenges and struggles but parents, in my opinion, have to grow up and be responsible adults and good examples.  Things don't really matter to kids but time does.  Giving your children the time by taking them to the park, woods, or fishing and teaching them the value of a dollar by giving them chores and an allowance and making them earn things.  These are the things I have found matter.  Take it for what it's worth from a part-time mom of someone else's amazing kid, who lets me be a part of her life and family.  Count your blessing and thank God for your chance because once you screw it up, the kid won't forget or forgive easily.   

Monday, December 8, 2014

Marriage Monday: Learning MARRIED: A little help please!

First let me say that Every Single Day, I thank GOD for my husband.  Being single today is hard.  Harder than most people think.  There are a lot of good single people out there but unfortunately, there are a lot of single people out there who are single for a reason.  Don't believe me?  Ask your single friends about their last date from Hell.  I bet most of them will tell you about the last date they actually had.  :(

I came to a realization very early on in my marriage (I have been married 3 months so everything is early on right now but this was about week 3) that I had no clue how to "be" married.  You see, I had been a "me" all of my adult life and now I needed to start thinking like a "we".  This was all new to me, even though my husband and I lived together first, I was still doing my stuff.  

So at some point I decided I needed to find some help on just being married. This stuff doesn't exactly come naturally and relationships, all relationships, are hard.  I mean, all relationships are really hard, family, friends, kids, and husband and wife.  You only have to look at the divorce rate to know that marriage isn't easy.  

So, I turned to a sweet and awesome couple I know and asked them for some books.   Thanks Donny and Katie for helping me out on not only on recommending books for me but also on making me feel, not so alone in learning how to be married.     I admit, I came into marriage thinking everything was going to just be natural.  Living with another human isn't natural automatically, it takes work.   Especially, when one or both of those humans are stubborn, know it all's who have been doing things their way for a long time and not expecting to change.  GUILTY!

Anyway, Donny and Katie individually sent me a list of books and being the cutest couple on earth, they of course sent me the same list without knowing it.  (Seriously, y'all).   I completed one book so far in the Donny and Katie healthy marriage series of books.  (Okay, that's my name for it, like it or not) and that book was AMAZING!

   The first book they recommended was The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  I read this book very quickly and part of it is because it is an easy read.  The thing is, it makes so much sense.   I realized very early on in reading that my love languages were physical touch and gift giving.  Now, physical touch doesn't mean getting busy for all the guys out there reading thinking, "Oh yes, that's me!"  It means hand holding and kissing that doesn't lead to getting busy and just cuddling.   Yep, that's me.   Next is gift giving.  Much to my husbands dismay, whenever I come home from the store, I usually have a little something for either him or my step-daughter.   Nothing big, mind you but a little gift.  Gummy bears or peanuts or something I know they like.  It drives him nuts but I realized immediately, that's me saying "I love you and thought about you while I was shopping."   Now, I am not going to share his love language but know that they are not mine.   It took a while for me to figure him out but when I did, I started adjusting some of my behavior to speak his language.  Not only has life gotten easier but it has made us closer.

I also did some research and found a lot of books with high recommendations on Amazon.  How we Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich is one of those books.   Now, to be honest, I just started this book so I can't give you a ton of input on it yet, however, it gets 4.5 stars on Amazon and that is always a good sign to me. 

Finally, I discovered iTunes has a LOT of podcast material and since I have a good little commute everyday, I have enjoyed the ability to listen to several on my way to and from work.   Here are the three I am enjoying most:

Ohana Baptist Church Marriage Classes podcast:

I am not Baptist, I am Catholic but that makes absolutely no difference when I am listening to the pastor in this series.  The pastor is funny and speaks in a friendly manner that is inviting and captures your attention.   A little background.  This is a class he gave at his church in 2004.  The class is based on a handbook they provided and some of the audio is hard to hear because you can't hear the questions but you still get this amazing weekly or daily pep talk about God's plan for marriage.  I highly recommend this series.  

Save the Marriage podcast with Lee Baucom PhD.

I am not going to lie, this is my favorite.   The podcast is enjoyable, easy to listen to, covers a vast amount of information and situations and even though it is called SAVE the marriage it doesn't mean you have to have a troubled marriage to learn.  In fact, Dr. Baucom mentions a few times that he does the podcast with the idea of teaching people how to have healthy relationships before their marriage needs saving.   The latest podcast, by the way, has Dr. Gary Chapman being interviewed about the 5 Love Languages.  The interview is funny, insightful, and I wanted it to go on and on.

Marriage today with Jimmy and Tammy

This is a series I just started listening to but I have to tell you they seem cover a variety of personal issues that effect the marriage and it is done, again, from a biblical basis so they are teaching family values with a sense of humor and the information is spot on covering subjects that trouble most people in today's society like fear, anxiety, and insecurity.  

One of the things I found most interesting in all of these classes is how they all agree on the basic principal that making a marriage work, in the end, is a lot healthier than letting it fail and falling into a pattern of marriage and divorce which seems to happen, a lot.  The failure rates on 2nd and 3rd marriages are even higher and people tend to get on a merry-go-round searching for a 'soul-mate' who understands them perfectly never realizing, that person doesn't exist.  I mean really, do you even understand you perfectly?  I don't.  
 *With the knowledge they are not recommending you stay in every situation.  Abuse is abuse, pure and simple.

Alright, that is my list.  So what books or podcast have you found most useful in making your relationship healthier?   Any relationship, parent, friend, husband-wife, kid.   Seriously, I am going to need that kid one soon.  I have an 11 year old now!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dear Santa

I believe in Santa.  Yes, it's true.  I am a Middle Aged woman who believes. 

So when I sat down to figure out what I want for Christmas this year I realized that I don't need much.  Oh, sure we need new plumbing in our old house but we have that under control and the fix is coming.  Let's be real, in 2014 I sold a house, bought a house, got married, gained a daughter, and a new truck.  I am pretty set. 
So here is what I want for Christmas: 

-ISIS to go away and all the prisoners to come home.  Santa has enough room on his sleigh to do what the U.S. Military can't, rescue them! 
-Racial peace:
This is a tall order even for Santa so he is going to need God to help and our prayers.  

-The protection of good police everywhere:
Yes, there are good police, in fact most of them are good regardless of what the media would have you believe. 

-No matter what your politics, I ask for wisdom for the POTUS in the last two years of his presidency.   Not that I am going to be sad to see him go, but we have crucial times ahead and he has to get us through them so until we get to elect someone stronger in World issues, Santa, give him courage. 

-Ebola & Cancer: 
Santa do you have a cure in that bag? Can you bring one? While you are at it, cancer has been plaguing us forever and I would sure appreciate a cure for that one personally! 

In the Middle East to begin with and basically everywhere else.  I am exhausted watching the news.  We need Santa to pull out a peace pill or something.  

Maybe I expect too much from Santa. After all, these are our problems and we got ourselves into this mess so we need to get ourselves out but it sure would be nice if we could all remember, especially at Christmas that we are all human and we share this little planet.  We should try and get along while accepting our differences and celebrating our commonalities.  After all, we are mostly the same, red blood, flesh, brains that we tend not to use most of the time, and a lot of untapped forgiveness and love.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Surviving Hormonal Women, an Open Letter to Men

Women have that special time of the month, followed by that special time of life. If you are really a lucky man, somewhere in there you get to experience the extra special pregnancy years too, which I am sure are a special kind of hell on their own.  I am here to share with you how to live with your woman during that extra special life phase and survive her hormonal rages. 

Without further ado here are the top things not to do or say around a hormonal woman, and no this isn't a don't tell her she looks fat list, of COURSE you don't tell her that, what kind of a death wish do you have?  This is more practical stuff.  Stuff you already know but may need reminding.  Simple, everyday stuff. 

- Never ask a hormonal woman for a back rub, foot rub, or for anything ELSE to be rubbed.   Why?  Everything from her hair to her toenails aches so she doesn't really give a rats hind end about your pain.  Go take a hot shower and put your big boy panties on.  

- If you want dinner, go get a pizza.   Really, she is hormonal!  You may end up with something special in your sweet tea if you aren't antifreeze. 

- When a woman is hormonal, it isn't a good time to bring up laundry, dishes, or the fact she forgot to make the bed unless you want a switchblade between your eyes.

- Spending time with the boys is okay but when your woman is hormonal you have two choices; spend time with them and get in trouble or don't spend time with them, and get in trouble.   Either way, you are in trouble.   Hey, I didn't say women are logical, I said they are hormonal.   

- During the special times of the month when your woman is PMSing, it is not the time to discuss your ex's.  Let me let you in on a secret, we don't care in general but during that time of the month, not only do we not care but we are liable to burst into tears because the sun is shinning or it is raining so you can't win.  When you can't win, don't talk about other women.  Don't think about other women.  Okay, really, just don't breath for a week. That is probably best.  

- Never say these words to a hormonal woman:  "You are freaking out over nothing! Your period must be coming."   First we are probably going to run to our phones to pull up our tracking app to prove you wrong then we will be forced to throw our phones at your head in anger because, of course you are right and we can't have you being right, damn it!  Just shut up.  Really, you know we are hormonal, it should go unspoken.  There is no need to point out the fact that we are hormonal in the illogical hope that we will suddenly snap into the loving, reasonable woman we are 3 weeks out of the month.  This won't happen.  Deal with Hell Week like we have to and keep quiet.

- When you catch your wife or girlfriend eating chocolate during that time of the month, don't ask her if she really needs it, offer here another piece.  Seriously, there is nothing that is going to make her feel better except that little bit of foil wrapped heaven.

-If she comes back from the store and she purchased a new pair of shoes or handbag, now is probably not the time to remind her she has 85 pair of shoes and 55 handbags in the closet.  Especially if the new shoes have heels because, well, have you ever been hit in the head with a stiletto? 

- Sex:  Now is the time to appreciate whatever you get, when you get it and not complain about being deprived.  Suck it up buttercup.  Remember those days when you were single and you didn't know when or if you were going to get any again?   That time could come again if you aren't careful!

Okay, if you can remember those simple little tips, you should survive your wife or girlfriend with just an average amount of anger and tears.  If not, you are going to have that extra little bit of hell to enjoy every month.  It's your choice.  I am just here to guide and advise. 

*This is all tongue in cheek and my husband would NEVER do any of this stuff...of course he wouldn't....I am just guessing there are men out there who do this.   

Monday, December 1, 2014

Today I will....

This is where we spent Thanksgiving.  We had a wonderful 4 days and's over. :( 

So today as I reflect I decided to find a positive post idea and decided Today I will: 

-ignore the critics, 
They are very good at throwing all your faults in your face and pretty bad at seeing their own. 

-feel pretty, 
I spent 4 days in the woods without running water so anything is an improvement in feeling pretty! 

-love first, 
No matter how hard it is sometimes, today I will love first.  

-stop nagging: 
Here is the thing about nagging, it does no good.  You put the other person on the defense and any chance you had of getting a point across fails.  Related to this, 

-not say all the sarcastic little comments that come into my head, 
They hurt the people I aim them at and that is probably what I want in anger but not later, 

-take a walk,
Especially if I am upset...walk it off. 

-work in my Christmas tree.   
It's up but the decorations aren't finished. 

-Tune out the negative, 
I am going to ignore it today.  Sometimes you realize the negativity is just suffocating you.  You either ignore it or you leave it behind altogether.  

-eat right,
Because Thabksgiving is a day, not a month! 

-be myself,
Like me, hate me, whatever.  I am me and I like me, the way I am.  If you don't, there's the door. 

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