Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The buck stops here


I was watching a story on how ISIS became a threat (CNN) and they had a quote from President Obama from about 7 years ago where he called ISIS the JV team dressed up in Lakers uniforms pretending to be Kobe Bryant.   Move forward about 5 years and in an interview he is asked if he underestimated their power.   President Obama spends a good flustered moment trying to blame his National Security Advisers for giving him bad intelligence.  

No, Harry S. Truman you are NOT, Barrack.  It hit me like a sucker punch at that moment, the biggest problem with this President is the same problem in society. Lack of accountability and responsibility.   

Obama blames the other guy.  In this case, bad intelligence even though his retired advisers indicate he failed to properly address their warnings at the time.  Everyone in bad situations seems to have taken an "it's not my fault" pill.  Nobody is at fault for their actions or decisions because someone made them do it. 

"It's not my fault, the cop was bullying me." 
"It's not my fault, I was abused as a child and I killed/rapped someone." 
"It's not my fault, I had a bad day at work." 
"It's not my fault, I grew up in the ghetto." 
"It's not my fault, the ______ man is caused this." (Insert any race you want here.) 
"It's not my fault, look at the mess the world is in." 

"It's not my fault.." has become the rallying cry of a generation of Americans to misbehave and break the law.  It has become the excuse of rapist and murders.   It is the reason people protest the unfair circumstances and bigotry they experience while become hateful bigots themselves.  It is the excuse that seemingly absolved everyone of everything.   It is as if these bad things are unique or special.  The problem is we ALL have things in life that happen to us that are not fair or right and we don't all seek to blame society for robbing a store or beating up a cop or getting hooked on drugs.  

Let's step back a moment and examine Ben Carson who grew up in the ghetto of Detroit with a single mother and a missing father.  His friends were in gangs, a lot were on drugs and many died young.  By societies standards, if Dr. Carson had gone that way, it wouldn't be his fault.  He didn't go that way however because he had a mother who believed in him and he found belief in himself.  It is his fault that he went to college and medical school.  It is his fault that he became a successful surgeon and head of neurosurgery at John Hopkins.  It is his fault that he has scholarship programs set up for inner city kids.  It is his fault that he is a successful author.  It is his fault that he is now running for POTUS.  It is exactly his fault that he is the honorable man that he is today.   This isn't a pitch for his campaign, just a reality check.  Dr Carson had a choice and he chose to go the path less traveled.  He chose to pull himself up by the bootstraps and overcome.  He chose education.  

But that's not society.   Everyone today wants something for nothing.   Free money and a free ride. People just don't seem to understand, nothing is free, even freedom itself.  There is no free in life. Everything requires sacrifice.  Everyone pays a price. 

Do you know how many friends have told me their son isn't going to college because he aspires to be the next great white rapper?   Reality check, aside from Eminem is there a decent white rapper?  (I don't listen to that kind of music but my husband does and I couldn't tell you a soul.)  I don't know much about rap music once Slim Shady and Vanilla Ice are removed from the equation but it seems to me the theme is about inequality, unfairness, and of course women.  Now, tell me what an 18 year old white boy from a middle class area knows about that stuff (girls aren't women, BTW).  These boys all end up bartenders and waiters because nobody is going to buy a record about the hard life in Allen, TX. 

We have problems.  There are bigots running wild in all the races and inflaming hate.  There are people who need jobs and hope.  There is rampant drug abuse.  Women are becoming victims of sexual violence in places they should be safe; home and school in record numbers.   Domestic and foreign terrorism is frightening and real.  All of these problems result in a lack of hope for the future and for the next generations.  

We need hope and we need people to stop making excuses.   We all have a sad story, trauma, struggle, but not all of us give in to the pain. Some of us said "The buck stops here.  I have a choice.  I can let this beat me or I can rise above.  I can take the easy way or the hard road.  I can be a victim or I can make something of myself."  Will it be easy? Nope.  Will it be worth it?  Yes!  

God gave us life and then He gave us free will.  We can live in denial and blame our circumstances, friends, parents, teachers, police,  or someone who hates us because of our race.  Heck, we can even blame our National Security Advisers if we want to, but the truth is,  we have the choice. We have free will.  We are not all victims and it does a disservice to all actual victims who find a way to rise above when anyone blames bad behavior on victimization.  

Americans need to grow up.  Americans need to take responsibility.  Americans need to stop blaming others.  It can start with the President admitting he screwed up with ISIS and race relations and discounting the military and police.  It should start there.  Harry Truman would do it.  Barrack Obama never will.  

United We Stand  More Fashion at  Free Pinterest E-Book Be a Master Pinner
I can't help thinking about Sept. 11 when I look at this country today.   Do you remember Sept. 11? Do you remember how this country came together?  Do you remember seeing American Flags flying in all the neighborhoods, shops, and city streets?   Do you remember how we came together?  Do you remember the Fire Engines flying flags and how people applauded when they saw firemen, police, and military personnel?  Do you remember how we were united?  Do you?   

This country is more divided than I can recall in my 45 years.   History will tell us that things like Pearl Harbor and 9-11 bring us together.  We have a sense of pride and patriotism.  We, as a nation, refuse to surrender.  If we are attacked again what will happen?  Do you know?  I can't even fathom right now this nation pulling together as fractured as it seems.   I can't imagine the catastrophic event that would be required to shake this country up and make us understand again that United we STAND but divided we FALL.  We are simply, that divided.   

Yes, I blame the President for a lot of these problems.  In the history of the USA, nobody has had the chance to UNITED this country the way Mr. Obama has.  Nobody has ever had the ability to stand in the middle between the Caucasian race and the African American race and say, I am you.  Nobody has had the unique circumstance of being both before.  Nobody has ever had that chance and nobody has ever failed as miserably as Obama.   

I wish I could see into the future and know what is to come.  I wish I could say "it will be okay."  I wish there was an easy answer, a quick fix, and a better understanding of how to heal.   The truth is, nobody in the forefront of our problems has a clue what to do and this, more than ISIS, is the worst threat facing the US today.   This will be our greatest victory in history or our most catastrophic collapse.   This, more so than any moment in the past from the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the fall of the Twin Towers, will be our day of reckoning.  

But first we have to take responsibility for ourselves.   First we have to remember we are ALL Americans.  First we have to accept that there is only one race of people in this country, the American Race.  First we have to become color blind and see individuals.  First we have to stop making excuses.  First we have to accept that injustice happens to everyone, everywhere. First we have to understand that LIFE is NEVER FAIR.   First we have to stand up and say "It is my fault and I will do better."  First we have to be adults. 

*I know this is a strange pre-Thanksgiving Day post.  I did not intend to write another blog this week. I am praying for this country in a way I never have before.  I ask that if you pray, you pray for the USA too.   If you don't pray, I ask you to consider starting now.   This will be my final wish tomorrow before I thank GOD that we are at peace, for now. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

thanksgiving table & decor ideas | planning it all

Hey, it is almost Thanksgiving and I wanted to do what will probably be my last blog this week because, well, I am going to be cooking, cleaning, and shopping for the next 5 days.    

I'm thankful to have a family who takes eating as seriously as I do. | Thanksgiving Ecard:
I like 100 million other Facebook people, have been keeping up with a 30 days of Thankful status update.  Yippie!  Anyway, I thought it would be nice to share a few things I am really thankful for in no particular order.

*Friends who stick with me, by me, and around.   I posted to Facebook the other day that as I have gotten older, I find I have eliminated more and more 'Friends' from my life because they really and truly aren't friends.    I am glad for the ones I have left who text or call me or who I know I can text or call if I need something.  It is good to have a support system even when you don't need it too often.  

*My husband who isn't perfect.  WHAT?  I said he wasn't that allowed?   No it is true.  What's more, neither am I.   Sweet Jesus the whole world will be shocked to know there is one couple who isn't actually perfect here on planet earth.   I know you can't tell from social media...oh wait, this is about being thankful, right?   Well I am truly thankful for him.  I am thankful that every once in a while he says things that truly surprise me like "I love those jeans on you" or "You look nice tonight." or "I am cooking dinner."  Yes, those things are rare but it makes me feel good when I hear them.   

*My family who I don't get to see enough but who I love with all my heart, especially my nieces and nephews.   They are the best. 

*My dogs and chickens who again, are not perfect, but who make me smile.

*My step-kid who drives me insane but makes me laugh when she isn't driving me insane.

*The Service Men and Woman who spend time, energy, and their life giving to us so that we can be free.   I think, given the recent world issues, it is imperative that we recognize the sacrifice that these brave men and women AND their families make for us.   Thank you every single one of you both those serving, those who served, and the families who love them because without you, not only would we all be speaking German right now but we would also all be subjects of radical Islam or some other crazy group of crazies.

New Review: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving remains a classic! 4.5 STARS
Alright some totally superficial things I am thankful for, ready?

My hair dryer.   
I could not live without you red.  You are my life.  Okay you are the life of my big Texas hair. 

My iPhone and iPad Mini:
Dear Siri, without you I could not communicate.  I would never get or send a text, buy stuff online, or read a book.  It is true.  I have forgotten how to function without you, sweet, wonderful, amazing Siri.  You complete me.  (Don't tell my hubs!)

I mean, how wonderful is Amazon anyway?  You go online, search for what you are looking for, and 200 other things you don't need, click a button and they send it to your house or office.  If you have Amazon Prime they even ship it in like...2 days, and they give you free books and movies and oh, just so much wonderfulness, it makes my heart jump....right up until the time I have to pay off that credit card each month, but never mind that.

My Pickup:
What is big, orange, and eats gas?  My Ram.  I love it.  I really secretly call it Bevo but nobody but you and I know that.   When I was picking it out and they had only the "Copper" one on the lot, I thought to myself, this is mine.  I mean, I went to the University of Texas so it checks the box for owning an orange vehicle nicely, not that that was every on my bucket list but you can expand, right?

Happy Thanksgiving from Miss Information and some great Christmas Ideas to get your started!

My wish for all of you on Thanksgiving:

Alright back to some serious talk for a second.  We live in a world where we are being attacked from the inside and out and this year has been a hot mess.  I mean, some great things probably happened in 2015 but right now, I can't recall anything that wasn't just a mess from beginning to end starting with internal protesting over everything and anything and ending with internal and external terrorists.   Here is the thing people, all 12 of you (or maybe a couple more) who read this thing I do here each week, BE SAFE, be happy with your gifts because you have them, know you are loved (I love you all even those of you I don't know, which is most of you.) Tell someone you love them and mean it.  Remember those we lost this past year and appreciate the sacrifices we all make just to be together.   Thank the cook.  Enjoy some time outside giving thanks for the world God made.   Remember your furry and feathered friends.  Don't drink and drive or Text and drive.   Spend as much time around the dinner table not fighting as you can muster.   If all else fails, use the Adele method of getting along.   

Happy THANKSGIVING my friends.  

Thanksgiving funny holiday lol thanksgiving humor pinterest pinterest quotes blessings thanksgiving quotes turkey day:

Just for grins and giggles here is my menu for Thanksgiving which will be spent, at least part of the week hunting.  I already started cooking because when you are going to be eating out of doors, you want some of the prep work done in advance.  To be fair, this is the first Thanksgiving I won't be with my mom and brother and the kids.  It sucks but it is what it is.   Anyway, I am doing the bulk of this cooking myself except pumpkin pie which I am politically opposed to cooking. 

Scalloped Potatoes
Corn Casserole (If you never had this it is amazing.  I will post a recipe next week.)
Stuffing not from a box
Stuffing from a box (The kid prefers Stovetop...whatevs!)
Green bean casserole 
Cherry Pie
Buttermilk Pie 
Maybe Rice Krispie Treats 
Pumpkin Pie (Samantha is bringing this)
Summer Sausage, crackers, and cheese
Wine and Beer (not for the kid)
Okay that is what I am making, don't ask me what everyone else is making aside form the below:
Probably a box of Ding Dongs because Harold always bring them.  
Lots of beer and probably some other junk like cookies or something because none of us have big enough butts now and we never met a fruit on Thankgiving that wasn't in a pie. 

Feel free to share with me what you are making, I would love to hear!

Monday, November 23, 2015

How to survive in Texas without an oil well

I grew up in Indiana, well at least the first part of my life.  When I moved to Texas at 10, I swore I would never become a Texan.   Up until that point the only person I ever knew from Texas was this girl at Girl Scout camp when I was 9.   We had the misfortune of bunking together and I swear that the entire time all she did was talk about "In Texas we do...."  "Texas has ...."   "Texans do/don't..."

Nobody cared.  

So the truth about Texas?   Okay here is the truth for those of you who aren't fortunate enough to be "Texan".   There are a few things Texans love beyond reason.  If you know a Texan, love a Texan, or just visit Texas, these are the things you should understand.  Most make me scratch my head but a few are really worth it.  Here they are in no particular order.

Texans Love:

Meals at Whataburger under 500 calories.
I am not going to lie here, I don't get it.   It's a hamburger.  It isn't the best burger I have ever eaten by far,  not even close.   It is fast food and while it isn't as greasy as McDonald's, it is just a burger.  Oh, and their special ketchup?  The regular kind is....Ketchup.   People go crazy for this stuff.  It tastes different.   Maybe it has a little extra vinegar but it is just KETCHUP.   The spicy is okay but in large doses it is too much.  My husband hates it.  I tolerate it at times.   Really, the love is unreasonable.  People who leave Texas and come back make Whataburger their first stop the minute they get back to Texas.   I think I may eat 2 a year.  Nothing they make can't be made better at home.  Really, my taquitos are the BOMB and my husband's burgers are even better than that.   If I want a burger on the run, they are okay but I am not going to lie, I like Carl's Junior better.

I survived the Blue Bell Famine of 2015 shirt - Gray shirt:
Oh. My. GAWD!   The summer of 2015 will be surely go down as one of the darkest moments in Texas History!   Why?  Well, first Blue Bell stopped selling ice cream then Whataburger stopped selling taquitos.  Dear lord, the world was coming to an end.  Every time I got on Facebook or Twitter people were in panic. (Don't get me, a chicken lady, started on how it is pathetic people can't buy eggs and make their own breakfast.  It is the simplest thing in the world!)    Blue Bell is okay.  I mean, I liked it a lot the first time I ate it....when I was 10!   Now?  Well there are actually a lot of ice cream and frozen yogurts that I appreciate more.  I am not 10 anymore, after all. My taste has actually learned to appreciate a finer quality of ice cream.    Still, don't tell a Texan that God didn't gift them with Blue Bell because they are sure it is actually the closest thing to heaven on earth.  

Dr Pepper:
They drink it for breakfast, lunch, dinner.  They drink it in the ballparks, football fields, deer stands.  They drink it everywhere.  I seriously think some of them take it to the bathroom with them.  If you drink coke or pepsi you are obviously a Yankee because no self respecting Texan drinks anything but Dr. Pepper and don't even pretend with anything but the real stuff.   Don't be surprised if you go somewhere and ask for a 'coke' if they ask you what kind, either.  They aren't being funny and they aren't offering you a wide variety of flavored coke.  They mean do you want a Coke, Dr Pepper, Sprite, ect.   They call everything Coke here.

Sweet Tea
Alright when they are not drinking Dr. Pepper or beer (see below), they are drinking sweet tea.  It's ice tea with sugar.  No biggie but they have recipes for it.   They are darn near militant about how it should be made.  You use simple syrup which is basically sugar dissolved in hot water. Then you brew really strong tea and add the simple syrup.  That is apparently the right way to do it so I have been told.  Guess what?  As long as the tea is strong enough, I can't actually tell the difference between real sweet tea and what I make which is tea without sugar and added Truvia.   Don't tell the Texans though!

Chips and Salsa/Queso/Guac
Okay seriously this is one of the greatest things ever!  I mean as soon as you get seated at any good Tex-Mex place you get a heaping bowl of chips and many bowls of salsa. If you are feeling really adventurous you may get a side of queso or guacamole.  Life is good in Texas when you are eating Tex-Mex.

Texans love beer.  Especially Shiner.  Now here is another thing I do agree on with them.  Usually, if I do drink beer, which I don't often, I will chose Shiner because, well it's good...for beer.

Football is king in Texas.  High School football takes up 20 minutes of the nightly news on Friday nights in DALLAS during the fall.  I swear you have never seen anything like the football fever.   Me?  I prefer baseball so I just sit back and watch.

Joe T Garcia's.... Love everything here.... the food the atmosphere... EVERYTHING!!!
Margarita's and Joe T's
Alright, there are a few places in Texas that make amazing Margarita's and this one is definitely completely worth it.  For my money Baby A's in Austin has great Rita's and there are several places in San Antonio that make a Prickly Pear Rita that would make you drool.   In DFW the best is definitely Joe T Garcia's in Ft Worth.   I stand with every Texan in the love of Margarita's.   They are well worth the sip. 


buc-ees images   Near Houston, Texas  2012:
Nobody gets excited about going to the gas station unless it is Buc-ee's.  Oh lord in heaven there is no place on earth to fuel up both your vehicle and your body like Buc-ee's.  This isn't just a gas station it is a shopping experience.   Yes, I will agree with the Texans, Buc-ees is the BOMB!

Country Music
No everyone doesn't listen to it.  When I was in high school I thought it was stupid.   I swore I would never give in.  I was not a country fan.   Then I moved to Austin, Texas to go to college and Garth Brooks happened.  Next thing I know, all I listen to is Country or Christian.

Now believe it or not, Texans don't actually wear boots and cowboy hats everywhere, no matter what you saw on "Dallas".  We don't all own oil wells either.  In fact, most of us work regular jobs and it is too darn hot in Texas to wear boots in August...But......


I love winter mostly because I get to pull out my boots.  I have probably 15 pair of  boots, maybe more.  That doesn't really include booties either which is an entirely other issue.  Okay so most of my booties are heels and I don't wear heels much anymore because, let's be honest, where am I wearing them when most of the things I do are outdoors and a lot of it is in the mud?  Not to hunt and not to the ballpark.

No, they are very Texan but they are warm!
Somehow, when I take photos of my boots it is usually my western ones.  Not sure why except they are obviously the Prettiest. Things. Ever!

These are the shortest pair I own and frankly they are the most comfy with jeans. I wish I had them in grey but alas, I didn't pick up both.   Silly me.

These are my favorites, my wedding boots.  I have shared them before but sue me, they are just so amazing!

These are my most colorful.  Love them.   They were one of my first pair.  I have a pair of Ropers that I have had for a long, long, long time.  I can't recall the last time I wore them.  I need to dig them out of the closet. 

Cowboy Hats

Truthfully, I rarely see anyone wearing cowboy hats around town unless I am at a country concert.

Here is me in the same hat looking a little different.   I still crack up at the Halloween pictures.   I swear I should have been a man.  Seriously, these photos freak my husband and kid out.

Okay, so there I am for real.

And hat 2.   Seriously, both these photos are of me going to a country concert.  That is really the only place I ever wear them, except on Halloween, of course!   

Friday, November 20, 2015

Battling Depression: Enough never is


Let's face it,  the state of the world today is sad.  It isn't just what we see on the news, which is bad enough.   It's that life is hard.   Even when things go right, things don't always feel right. Something feels missing.   When things go wrong it can become overwhelming.  The battle is inside.  The battle never seems to end.  The battle is within and endless. 


Forgive the errors, please.  

This was my Facebook status yesterday.   Sometimes things sneak up on me without realizing it.   You see, a few years ago I suffered a few blows that rocked my world.  It started with a bad relationship and ended with me meeting my husband.  In between were a series of betrayals that made me question my ability to judge people and myself.  But it had a happy ending. right?   Yes, of course.   The thing is that the fall out from the bad relationships hide there in the background and sometimes it knocks me down like a blow from a prize fighter.   I have gotten good at covering up the feelings.  Hiding the hurt and pain.  Ignoring the bomb because my life is pretty darn good.   Except this week.  Maybe it is the holidays.  Maybe it a combination of stress that is invading my life from outside sources.  Maybe it is just the feeling that the whole world moved on without me.  Nobody cares anymore except me. 

Never enough:

We all bring our own baggage into relationships.   We all have regrets.  We all battle an inner demon that rears it's ugly head when we aren't looking.  I have them, my husband has them, everyone has them.   The feelings of not being enough.  Maybe they stem from a bad relationship where you were betrayed or several. Maybe they come from loss of people, friendships, loved ones.  Maybe they stem from a traumatic event that changed your life.   Maybe they play on your own insecurities about not being good enough or smart enough or pretty enough.  Maybe the hurt lies just below the surface but is so deep and so hard that you forget it isn't reality.  It is easy to play mind games with yourself and feel like nothing you do is right.  It is easy to get wrapped up in the negative hurt from the past and forget the gifts of the present.   It is easy to tell  yourself there is something wrong with you. 

The other day I heard my stepdaughter say to my husband "I don't ever do anything right."  I was sitting on my bed trying not to eavesdrop and that is the only part of the conversation I heard.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  "Join the club."  I thought to myself.   Even when my husband compliments me I hear a "But" inside.   That isn't his fault, that is mine.   If I feel like I am not a good enough wife, mom, aunt, daughter, sister, employee, who's fault is that?  Mine.   Nobody says those things to me but me.   Nobody feels those things but me.  My husband goes above and beyond to tell me I am enough and my kid tries her best.  

“I’m afraid sometimes you’ll play lonely games too, games you can’t win because you’ll play against you.” - #DrSeuss
Source: Dr Seuss

This is my favorite quote from "Oh, the Places You'll Go" which is probably my favorite book of all time.   Why?  Because it is the most accurate quote I have ever seen.  It is reality.

I have seen friends say things like "you never feel more single than when it's the holidays".  Here is the sad truth.  You can be in a room full of people, sitting there with your family, your spouse, your kids, and still feel alone.  You may feel empty or broken.  Nobody can fix that but you.   Nobody can fill the void.  Nobody should.  In the end, it isn't their problem, it is yours.   

Loneliness can overwhelm you.  You feel like you are fighting the unknown, the unseen, the unreal.  The UN.  The whole world has gone on and left you sitting alone.  It is a hard place to be.  Nearly impossible to face.   

Being Perfect or Pretending

For as long as I can remember this was the goal. Being the best daughter, friend, employee, wife, mother, aunt, sister.  This was the goal.  Being everything for everyone. Everyone except me.  Still, I am terribly fallible.  I am too quick to temper.  I am too emotional.  I feel things too strongly.  I am way too passionate. I wear my heart on my sleeve and it gets kicked, a lot. 

 I am not perfect.  I never will be.   I see perfect people all around me and know they aren't.  I see people constantly fooled by these people and wonder why can't anyone but me see the lie?   It seems that some folks have everyone fooled but themselves.  They fight the inner battle too, you just don't see it.  They don't talk about the bad things.  Maybe they are right and that is the way things are suppose to be.  We all just go around pretending there is no bad so that we don't have to see it.  That is exactly how my grandfather handled it.  His feelings about World War II and the things he saw were wrapped up in a little box and put on a shelf somewhere inside his heart never to be brought out again.  His feelings about losing my father, his first born son, were in another box somewhere.  He didn't talk about them. If he thought about them, he never shared.  Only once in my entire life did he ever show me his hurt at losing my father.   It was a terrible moment in my life.   A moment I will regret forever.  

I went to visit my grandfather for one of the last times in his life when I was 30.  I was emotional.  I was hurt.  I was feeling sad.  Everywhere I went people were telling me how much I looked like my dad.  Everywhere I went, I thought about how we never talk about him.   Everywhere I went, I was reminded of the father I lost at 5 years old.   A man who never got to see his children grow up.  A daddy I never got to know as an adult.  Nobody would talk about him and it made me angry.  He was MY father and I wanted to know him and understand him.  So I got into an argument with my grandfather about why he refused to talk about him.  I threw a good old, ginger fit.  My grandfather was hurting and I didn't see it.  Finally he said words that I will never forget and always regret hearing: "Do you think I don't miss him?  Do you think it doesn't kill me that he is gone?  Do you thing I don't love him still today?  He was my SON!"  I can't type this without crying 15 years later. 

Let His peace fill you...He IS faithful. #overcomeroutreach

At times like these, the only thing that pulls me through is my faith.  Faith that I am loved by God. Faith that I have a husband that does his best to overlook my faults.  Faith that the sun will in fact, come up tomorrow.   Faith that there is a reason for everything under heaven and that even though I do not understand those reasons, God does and that is all that matters.  God has this and I just need to let Him work it.  

Not beaten

And yet, I am not beaten.  I will not go down without a fight.  I will not let these feelings take me over.  Somewhere inside my inner voice says "Just you wait.  I will show you."  Who do I want to show?  Not the men who passed me by, for sure.  I don't actually give a damn about them.  Not the people who walked in and out of my life without thinking about the fallout from their actions.  Not the family and friends who love me, even though they are my entire world. No I need to show myself.  I need to prove to me that I am enough.  I am good enough, smart enough, pretty enough.  I am worth it. I  know I sound like an SNL skit but it is true.   Somewhere inside of me, is the will to rise above.  Somewhere is the knowledge that I will be okay.  Somewhere is the reality that life is going to work out.  

Moving On

Some people will just say "Move on and forget it."   I wish there was a magic pill that allowed all of us to move on and forget.  The reality is, we would never be who we are today without the hurt, the pain, the betrayal, the loss.   We wouldn't be able to grow and get stronger without those blows to our psyche, ego, and self esteem.   Forgetting isn't the answer.   Moving past it is.  

Learning from it so that you don't repeat the same mistakes is the only way to become healthier.   Between the bad relationship and my husband I talked to someone.  I examined the mistakes I was making over and over again in relationships.  I realized my mistakes. I was settling. I was making excuses for men who treated me poorly.  I was accepting being 2nd or 3rd or 15th because I didn't know how to be 1st.  I was willing to accept less than I deserved because I felt bad about myself.   

When I met my husband, I was overwhelmed with the need to do things the right way or at least not repeat the same old mistakes. Not everyone in my life could see it.  Some people in my life thought I was on the same old path headed for disaster.    They were wrong, of course and things worked out pretty well,. Only when these old feelings show up and I start feeling like I am competing with someone I can't win against do I fall backward.   That person doesn't exist except in my mind. I don't owe anyone an apology for being happy and I don't owe anyone justification for my actions.   I did what was right for me.   I am learning that sometimes, that is the only person you have to prove things too and sometimes, you are the hardest person in your life to please.   

Forgive me

Forgive me for this blog.  I know it is heavy and I apologize for being so stuck in the past today.  
I read somewhere in a book recently something to the effect that blogs are silly.  Maybe they are.  For me they are a way to work things out a little.  I am trying to grow and be a better me.  This blog helps me do that and sometimes, just once in a blue moon, it helps someone else too. If that is silly then so be it.   

Thank You

From the bottom of my heart, if you made it all the way through this blog, thank you!   Thank you for sticking with me and hearing the inner ramblings of my disturbed mind.   You all are the best! 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: Go Set a Watchman!!

I can't really talk about Go Set a Watchman without To Kill a Mockingbird.  
Although Watchman was written first, Mockingbird is the better novel.  The characters are more real and likable.  This doesn't mean there isn't value in both novels.  

Book Description from Amazon: 
From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch—"Scout"—returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past—a journey that can only be guided by one's own conscience.
Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision—a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.

My thoughts: 
To Kill a Mockingbird (TKAM) is a classic book and most of us either read the novel or saw the movie as a kid, or both.   We all loved Scout, Jem, Dell and Atticus.  Sadly, we only see some of those characters in flashback in Go Set A Watchman.  
Before I read this book, I read the reviews on Good Reads.  There are a lot of disappointed or angry people because the characters we thought we knew in To Kill a Mockingbird aren't exactly the same.   To me this book is such a reflection on life.   Have you ever gone back to a place you use to live and while it looks the same, it seems different, smaller, and not the way you remember? That's kind of what it is like reading this book.  
There are things missing, characters missing, and the ones that are there have changed, some for the worse..  Again, I don't see this so much a lack of continuity between the two novels as  growth, lack of growth, and life beating people down.   Much has been made of Atticus not being the hero he was in TKAM.  The thing is, Atticus was such a paragon of right, Justice, and  wisdom in TKAM, he was almost too good to be true.  In this novel we see his flaws.  We basically find out that he isn't the paragon of virtue we thought we knew.  I don't see this transformation so much as a change in who Atticus was as a reflection of life mellowing or hardening a person's views.   Unlike Scout and many readers, I don't feel betrayed by Atticus.  
To me the only problem with Go Set a Watchman is that without TKAM, you probably wouldn't enjoy or care about this book.   The characters aren't as innocent because Jean Louise has grown up and suffered loss.  She moved to New York and is returning home to visit her family and boyfriend, a childhood friend who we don't see in TKAM.  From there the book is simply an exploration of how things change, people, places, life, and learning to accept it.  
I found the book an easy read and the exploration of race relations to be pretty honest, just as it was in the first book.  There are a few inconsistencies between the two books regarding the rape trial but you move past that fairly fast.   
There are things I don't like about this book and one exchange I still don't understand.  The entire chapter with Calpurnia made no sense to me.  Of all the characters that changed, I actually found Cal's the hardest to understand.   
I guess the thing I took away from reading the two novels back to back is that with time, everything changes and not always for the better.   I couldn't help but feel these books are relevant to today just as much as they were 55 years ago.  
Overall this is a worthy follow up on much beloved characters.  

Winner! Winner! 
Well my first give away is over and I learned a few things about marketing these things better next time but I want to announce the winner of the random drawing:  congratulations to Military Wife!
Thank you all who participated and I will be doing another give away soon so stay tuned and be ready to enter!  

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Walking Dead: Questions I need answered

I think we have all had a rather trying weekend with current events so I was thinking, we need something to really divert our attention and take our worries away.   I mean, with everything going on in the world, who wants to be serious right now? With that in mind, I found my mind fixated on The Walking Dead.  There are some things that really bug me about this show and I need answers.  Okay aside from the most obvious question,  there are other questions I need answered.   In no particular order here we go.

7 Pups That Would Make Anyone Smile… ANYONE!!!

-What happened to all the dogs? 
Let's face it,  most dogs I know are smarter than the people I know.   You can't tell me they won't sense the difference between a zombie and a living human.   Where are they?   They are too fast to have not survived.  Have you ever tried to chase a dog?  Come on.  Those zombies could not have outsmarted all of them.  They are slow and stupid.

-Why does Judith barely age but Carl has aged like crazy?  
Did something happen in the zombie apocalypse that stunts baby growth?  Maybe Carl's growth has been sped up somehow? I need to understand.   Why is Carl a bearded wonder teen and Judith still not walking?

The Walking Dead season 5 episode 1 OMG!!!!!! Still crying over Daryl n Carol and Rick n Judith:

-How does Daryl reload that crossbow so fast? 
Have you ever shot a crossbow because I have.  They simply are not easy to pull and load.  Seriously there is some massive pull required with a crossbow and Daryl shoots it off like he is shooting a regular bow.  This isn't the same bow that the Indians used people.  It is hard to pull and you have to aim it in a way that you don't catch your fingers by mistake.   I realize Daryl Dixon is a bad dude but really?

-Where are their clothes? 
It's odd that they never really seem to carry a change of clothes and yet they always have them.  I get that they probably had a stock pile in Alexandria and at the prison but each character has a certain style.  Are they really that lucky to always run into a closet tailor made for them?   Yes, some of the characters had bags on the way to Terminus but they weren't exactly stuffed with a full wardrobe.  You have to assume that they carried what?  Something to sleep in?  Some food?  A bedroll maybe?
-When does the ammo run out? 
I am assuming that they don't have an endless supply because you haven't seen them raiding a police station in a long time.  Eventually, they have to run out.  Is there a bullet maker in Alexandria who haven't met?  What about Daryl's arrows?  Is he carving his own now?

-Why can there only be one?
T-Dog, Tyreese, Bob, Noah,  Morgan,   This is one of the most annoying issues with this show.  I just don't get it.

HECK FRECKIN YEAH seriously stop killing the good ones!
-Why Glenn or Hershel or Dale, or Beth?

Count me as part of the group that accepts that Glenn is gone but why?  Glenn never hurt anyone that didn't deserve to be hurt.  Why is it that every character that doesn't have a serious moral flaw on this show, manages to die?  Hershel, Dale,and Beth are among the moral missing.  Are we to believe that in the end, the world will only be safe for the people who embrace their bad side as well as their good?   Lord knows that Rick and Carol will be safe but who is next?  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Love, Life, and Young Living! PLUS a GIVE AWAY!

First I have to share that you can expect a few posts in the coming month about different oils I am using to make Christmas gifts.   One of the things I decided this year to make it different what that I am going to be making some gifts myself.   I have a couple of things in mind for the holidays which will include the use of Cinnamon Oil, Peppermint Oil,  Ginger Oil, Lemon Oil and Lavender Oil among others.   The list of things I intend to make are simple things and things I use in my own home often.   I tried to figure out if homemade gifts are cheesy or thoughtful and I decided I was going with thoughtful because you have to take extra time and energy into making something special for someone special.

Today I am sharing a few of my favorite oils to diffuse (among other things).   I want to say this is a short list today only because there is a lot to share on this subject and I really suggest you check out some of the amazing Christmas gift ideas if you are an oil fan or interested in becoming one.   

Lavender Oil:

I love lavender.  I diffuse it at bedtime.  It relaxes me.  I sleep better smelling good things, I guess because whenever I diffuse it my husband says I am impossible to wake up.

Stress Away:

I don't have a mother in law but I think during the Holidays my husband could use this, not that my mom is one of those Mother In Laws.   LOL!!!

Stress Away is literally my go to oil to diffuse.   I use it at work.  I feel like Michael Corleone from The Godfather when it comes to stress.  "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!".   Don't get me wrong, everyone has it but I just seem to be surrounded by a lot of drama at work it is a hazard of my job.  The drama at home?  Well, I have a 12 year old, if you know what I mean!   When I diffuse this at my work, people literally come into my office just to sniff.  It must help because I have had comments like:  "I love how your office smells like a spa!" and "I just stopped by to sniff.  It smells so good!"   To my favorite "Oh, she is diffusing today!  I can smell it at my desk and I missed it."   (I forgot to diffuse during Halloween.  I wasn't in my office much anyway because I was out decorating the team area.)

Here are some helpful links to find out more about Young Living, sign up as a distributor, and order oils.    I recommend becoming a Wholesale Distributor because the perks are awesome!  One thing you should know is that Young Living doesn't require you to actually sell oils in order to be a Wholesale Distributor!  I know, that's awesome, right? 

Sign Up:

You can check out Young Living Essential Oils Here and you can sign up here!

If you are interested in signing up for Young Living Essential Oils as a customer or Wholesale Distributor (the best deal) you can Sign Up here entering my Member ID in the Sponsor ID and Enroller ID fields which is 2931544.  You are always free to email me and I will try to answer any questions you may have.  Please let them know that I referred you.  I would love to have you on my team!  

About Young Living Benefits:

Wholesale Pricing: Save 24 percent off retail pricing on Young Living products, and save even more money with exclusive specials and promotions every month.

Essential Rewards: As a distributor, you are eligible to enroll in the Essential Rewards program and earn as much as 20 percent of each order in Essential Rewards points.

Give Away Time!

This is a first for Simpy Me the Way I see it!  I am giving you a chance to win a free Stress Away Essential Oil from Young Living so Join as many times as you can and let's have some fun!  
(PS:  I respond to all comments on my blog but I may be out of cell range most of this weekend which starts for me...well, now!  So, don't be upset if I don't answer immediately.  I will do my best to get back with you.)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Stepmom Diaries: Being a Real Mom

Before you read this there are a few things you should know.  First, I don't take a laid back approach to much in my life except maybe squats and push-ups. No, really.  Have you ever seen me eat chocolate?  I dive right in!    Second, to the best of my knowledge nobody mentioned in this blog actually reads it, except on the rare occasions when my mom or my husband decide to give it a whirl. Third, this is my perspective and experience, obviously based on my observations and interactions with certain individuals.  Finally, if you are new to the blog, know that while I have always wanted to be a "real mom" that isn't the plan God has for me.  I am okay with that.  I just do the best I can being a good wife and step-mom. 

Last week someone hinted at flat out told me that my place as a "step-mom" was unworthy because I am not a real mom.  I was amused by this 3rd parties opinion,  not because I think she is right or care what she thinks of me because I don't on either count. No, I was amused because I couldn't help but question what her idea of a real mom actually is.  To insinuate that only a birth mother can be a real mom is leaving out an entire list of caretakers from step mothers, grandparents and  adoptive mothers to aunts, uncles, and cousins raising someone else's kid.  To question the parenting ability of a person who did not give birth because they did not give birth, is not only insulting it is misdirected and it shows how insecure some people can be.  There is no instruction manual that comes with birth.  There is no magic insight that a birth parent gets that an adoptive parent or step parent doesn't have.  In fact, I would put out there that sometimes, just sometimes, parents who get in the game a little later are able to see little things more clearly without all the "My Baby" syndrome that is attached to actually giving birth to a child.  That is not in any way discounting a mom's role in a child's life, or a dad's role for that matter.  It is just that when I see my step-daughter, I see who she is today not the baby my husband and his ex-wife brought home from the hospital 12 years ago.  I missed all the cute moments of learning to crawl, walk, and talk.  She talks just fine now.  Too well sometimes.  I missed all the dirty diapers and spit up.   I just get the preteen drama and boy is there  a lot of that lately!  That's okay, I am was a preteen handful myself.  Ask my mom! 

So here are the things that do or don't make me a parent depending on your definition of motherhood, I suppose.  We share custody so this is an every other week ritual for me. 

What I do for my step-child:

I make most of her meals during the week.  I cook 90% of the time not "heat up" and we rarely eat out. 
I do our part of the back to school shopping.   
I take her to school functions or I go with her dad to them.
I drive her to school 5 days a week and sometimes, I pick her up.  
I listen to her concerns.  
I give her advice on how to handle friends who are hurting her or the bullies at school. 
I encourage her to talk things out. 
I constantly talk to her about how important grades are and picking a college wisely, yes, at 12.  
I help her make decisions like what electives to take in school.  
I painted her room pink because that is her favorite color.  
I ground her.  
I take away her phone. 
I keep her in line when she speaks to an adult, including me, her father and her mother in a disrespectful way. 
I correct her language. 
I let her know when she is right.
I let her know when she is wrong.
I expect that she will be respectful to me, her father, her mother, and her step-father and I let her know that. 
I talk about faith and God to her. 
I am honest with her and do not keep things from her.  
I encourage her to talk to her mother and her father about things that are bothering her.  
I sometimes play referee.  
I remind her she is loved by a lot of people.   
I color her hair pink when she begs her parents to have pink tips.   
I bought her her first pair of boots and jeans.  (Which is all she wears now.)
I sit in the deer stand with her, by her choice.  
I encourage her to read.  
I talk to her like she is a person with reasoning ability.  
I get upset when I feel like she is being picked on at school and I get upset when I feel like the school is not handling it right.
I talk to her about things that happen in school that worry her.
I encourage her to attempt to have a relationship with not only myself and my family who she has freely adopted as hers, but also with her step-father.    
I communicate openly with my husband and his ex-wife on what is going on with my step-daughter. 
Along with her father, I give her responsibility and expect her to help do things around the house. 

I do all of this with the support of her father and her mother.   They have both been incredibly encouraging of my developing a relationship with their daughter. Why?  Because a child can never have too many people who love and care for her.

What I do not do for my step-child:

I do not take her parents place when it comes to confronting the school about the things they have done wrong, and in my opinion there are many.  Just an aside here, I really want to tell them how wrong they are and this has been hard for me. 
I do not interfere in her mother and father's role as legal guardians and parents.
I do not bad talk either of her parents or her step father.  (I have no reason to.)
I do not ever try to take her mother's place.  She has one mother.  I am simply a bonus to her.  
I do not expect her to call me mom.  
Because she refers to me as her step-mom, I don't introduce her as my daughter.  (This hurt for about 2 weeks until I realized it doesn't matter.) 
I do not keep secrets from her parents for her.   Her father and mother are informed of anything that is a danger to her and her security irregardless of if she told me in confidence or not.  I have told her they have a right to know these things and while I know I run the risk she will stop telling them to me, I also have an obligation of protecting her, even from herself. 
I do not lie to her.
I do not lie for her. 

Now, there are some people out there who feel that my role in my step-child's life is not important. I can tell you three people who do not feel that way: Her mother, Her father, and my step-child.  Does she drive me crazy sometimes?  Of course she does, she is 12.  

My personal opinion is that a lot of parents feel threatened by the step parent and the truth is, they just need to get over it.   Most step-parents are not there to try and take the place of the mom or dad. (Unless they are forced to because the mom or dad is missing or pretty much worthless). Most are there to support their spouse and the child they gladly agreed to help raise.  That is what they are doing, by the way, helping to raise this child.   The relationship should be encouraged by the parents because it is what is in the best interest of the child.    Moreover, if you are so insecure with your relationship with your child, you should really work on having a better relationship with your child and not point fingers at the step-parent who is just trying to give your child a little bit of extra love.   Can any child have too much love?

I can tell you this, in the 2 years that I have known my step-daughter and in the 1 year I have had the honor of being her bonus parent, I have worked hard at gaining her trust.  I have worked hard at finding out who she is today, not who she was at 6 months old.  I have spent countless hours learning her likes and dislikes from food (she hates sausage) to boys (she likes funny boys like her daddy), to colors (she hates purple).  I have seen this child develop from a girl that wears yoga pants and tennis shoes to school to one who worries about what she looks like and hogs my long mirror in the closet. I have had to fight her borrowing my make-up that she was never going to wear and now won't return (Oh, how my mom laughed at that one!) and had to reminding her that she can't wear my shoes because her foot is bigger than mine!  I have loaned her cloths to wear to school and I have tossed her out of my closet.   I have asked her 200 times not to get in my personal space only to have her do it over and over because she knows doing it drives me crazy.   I have had knock down, drag out arguments with her about her 'attitude' and eye rolling (GOD how irritating is that?) only to have her come apologize an hour later.  I have sent her to her room before I lost my mind at least 15 times.   I have laughed with her about her goofy dad.  We have shared the raising of chickens and dogs and talked about goats, ducks, and cows.  She has cried over the loss of her grandmother and tells me funny stuff that happened with her mom. 

We have worked on our relationship because I made her a priority in MY life.  Does this make me step-mom of the year?  Not even close.  I am flawed. I made a ton of mistakes with her.  I am overly passionate and sometimes I defend her when I shouldn't and sometimes I see way too much of myself in her, however that is possible.  I am too hard on her sometimes and way to easy on her others. 

So why did I laugh at the real mom who said my role isn't important?  She is one of those Facebook moms.  She is mother of the year on Facebook but has no clue what her daughter is doing in Sunday-Saturday or maybe she does but doesn't choose to confront the problems.   She is the last person I would accept parenting advice from or care what she thinks of my role.   I am not saying she doesn't love her child, I am sure she does.   I just don't think she has any clue what is going on in her kids lives and she tries so hard to be their buddy she has no time to parent.  Sadly, she ignores the warning signs with her daughter even when her child's father and step-mom try to address them.   That's my take on the situation.  I don't really know her and she doesn't know me. We have met twice. I do know that I was aware of things happening in her daughters life for 2 weeks before she knew about them.  I also find it funny that I have known her child almost as long as I have known my step-daughter and that I have no problem getting her to behave for me when she apparently doesn't behave for her mom.  I am totally amused that she is now questioning my capabilities when she thought nothing of letting her child come to stay at my house 30 miles away for a week, having never set eyes on me.  I find it sad that the first time I met this woman and told her how much I liked her daughter, who was polite and well behaved with me, that her response was "It is good to know she is that way with someone."  Maybe I doubt her parenting skills when she is more concerned with teaching her child how to walk in heals and put on makeup then how to do laundry and dishes.  Maybe my own mother was wrong in setting real life expectations for me as a child and that is how I approach parenting today.  Maybe that is my problem. I mean, what do I know?  I am not a real mom....

Special Announcement:

Tune in tomorrow for my very first, ever, ever, ever Give Away!

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