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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Oh, Baby! A Repurposing Tale

Occasionally I have what I consider to be a somewhat brilliant idea.  Don’t we all?  This is one of those that falls under the categories of “ooh, I needed that for...” and “why couldn’t I just use this for that”.  It’s what we in the biz call a “two-fer” (not exactly sure what that biz is, mind you).  I hope this is something you can use, too.

I’ve been working out quite a bit and need to make some nutritional adjustments to my life.  One of those adjustments is introducing a protein drink or shake within 45 minutes after an intense workout.  I tried a canned drink, it wasn’t bad.  It wasn’t great either.  What has been great is going to Smoothie King afterwards for a chocolate malt with protein powder.  That gets a little pricey though and the caloric intake is equal to what I’m burning in an hour.  That’s not really practical over time.

Right now I’m going to try the powder route.  I’m also not going calorie free.  I’m not a fan of any sugar substitute other than agave nectar.  The taste just really bothers me.  I’ve found one that I’m getting ready to try, I’ll let you know how it goes.  The problem is transportation.  I’ve seen people dump their mixes in zippy bags, but that seems a little messy to me.  If only there was a little container meant for carrying powders!  Oh, but there is!

I gave my little guy powdered formula when he was a wee tike.  I still have that little round 3-sectioned canister with the pour top.  I got it out and you know what?  Each section holds 2 scoops easily!  This will go with me to the gym and my new blender bottle for refueling without worry of making a mess.  I think I’ve solved my electrolyte issue by mixing the powder with an enhanced water – another “two-fer”!  I wonder what you call that?

Anyway, I’ll be testing out this whole setup tomorrow and I’ll let you know how it goes.  The class should be interesting.  It’s been a while since my last serious workout.  I did go to an oceanfront Zumba class last Thursday while at the beach.  I don’t think I’ll complain about the studio at my gym being hot again.  81 degrees with nearly equal humidity was quite humbling.  I have a feeling I’ll need this shake.

Check back in on me to be sure I’ve survived.  I’ll fill you in on more details to help you with your own journey.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Approaching Normal

Vacations are ended.

Groceries will need to be bought on a regular basis now.

Laundry begins it unending march up the insides of the hamper only to be partially emptied and begin again.

Floors are in need of daily sweeping.

The pool and gym call to us on a schedule.

Life is getting back to normal here.

Then there are the big things:
A house that we have not lived in for 3 ½ years is no longer ours to make payments to the bank.  We are still left with another small house where we thought we would be living and rent on the one we actually are in.  This is our normal for now, but it is closer to the general sense of normal.  I have had a difficult time keeping up with bills and insurance and maintenance for 3 places.  At least our life is contained within the boundaries of one state now.

A new normal will begin in a few weeks as the little guy starts preschool a couple days a week.  He is so hungry for learning and friendship.  He is much like his momma at times and doesn’t like the isolation of our cul de sac life.  I may feel like it’s a bit of a return to some normal for me, as well.   18 years of marriage without children is a long time and establishes pretty strong patterns.  I’m excited for both of us.

So while “normal” is elusive and means a myriad of different things, it seems we are closing in on it.  I like normal and am excited for the future. 

Does your summer throw your normal out the window?  Are you looking forward to a change in your life?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Linked up with Lisa over at Little Writer Momma.  Go say hello.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

I hope you've all been having a wonderful summer.  It's been a little busy, a little stressful, a little fun for us here.  I've had the oprrortunity to meet some new people, start thinking about some new ventures, and plan for the next phase in our faimly's life - preschool!!  All these things will be shoing up on here in weeks to come.


While I'm away and recovering from a little bout of "who know's what I've got this time", I invite you to check out some of my wonderful friends.

Here's is the start of a list of some of my favorite spots to stop on the web.  Check them out and say hello while you're there.  You won't be disappointed.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Getting Stronger

Photo Credit

I’ve mentioned on here a time or two my love of Zumba.  I get a great workout and I smile the whole time (almost).  For a few months I have also added a cardio kickboxing class to my regime twice a week.  So three days a week I kill it at the gym.  This frees me up for eating junk the rest of the week relatively guilt-free.

Here’s the problem.  My body has gotten stronger, become more fit and is annoyed at me for the junk.  Another problem is that this isn’t completely sustainable with the way my life is functioning right now.  My diet is completely controllable.  My sleep, however, is not.

Right now my sleep “patterns” are under the iron-fisted dictatorship of a feisty 3 year old boy.  I can count on one hand the full nights’ sleep I’ve had in the past year or so.  This is not beneficial to your anaerobic threshold.   It’s caught me for my past 3 workouts.  I’m going along fine, then my heart rate jumps and I’m out of the game.  No fun!

After some discussion with my instructor for these two classes I’ve learned about some changes I need to make.  1) I need to improve my nutrition and caloric intake.  This also includes supplementing my protein amounts with some sort of post-workout recovery drink.  2)I need to back off one of the classes and focus on some more strength training to get all of my body up to speed with the more developed parts.

So, here’s where I’m at.  Today I’ll be trying something new.  I’m going to take a barbell strength class for the first time.  I did some Body Pump when that was all the craze in the mid-90’s, but I think this will be different.  I’ve also done some weight work with machines.  I’ve heard good things, but some scary things, too.  I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m learning more about my body and how to make it function better.

What have you learned that has required you to change your tactics?

This post is linked up to Life In Bloom.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Following a New Passion

Fence on White Top Mountain leading to the Appalachian Trail

I’ve just had a wonderful experience with a new friend.  When comfortably settled into your home and family life it’s not often that you are given the opportunity or the pleasure to make new friends.  My “home” life, probably better said my HOUSE life, hasn’t been particularly settled for the last 17 years.  We have moved 8 times to 7 states.  We did have the great fortune to move back to Chicago for a second time.

That being said, I’m one of the lucky ones that has crossed paths with so many amazing people.  You’ve met at least one of them here and I hope to introduce you to more of them in the near future.  Today was one of those days when an acquaintance starts to become a friend.  You know it because that’s when it gets personal.

Part of what made it wonderful is that I was able to take the purpose of this blog and flesh it out in real life.  I was able to give and show and explain what I know in a way that will help her reach a new goal and realize a new passion.  Her excitement is contagious!  Seeing passion grow in others is what ignites my own passion.  In fact, that is my passion.  To see her eyes light up with possibility and find undiscovered pathways is exactly why I write these words.

What a privilege to experience this face to face with someone I admire and enjoy being around.  I hope to share her story with you soon.  It is one of strength, energy and the desire to follow a course that is out of her normal comfort zone.  It encourages me, and I think it will do the same for you.

Do you have a path that is inviting you, but you just don’t seem to know how to open the gate?  Are there people you can ask for advice?  Want me to take a shot at it?

I want you to be courageous and take that first step.  I took mine here 3 months ago.  Your turn!

I'm linking up today for Frequent Flier Club at Funki Planet.  Come over and meet some amazing writers.  Also linking this up at Just a Thought for What's Up Wednesday.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Soft Answers and Results

Something strange just happened(Sunday afternoon).  I was here in the office writing an e-mail to our landlord.  My adorable little boy came in to offer me a pretzel.  I declined with thanks and asked him to return to the living room to let me finish.  A few minutes later he returned with a Lego flower that was guaranteed to make me sneeze – which it did.  I asked him again to go back to the living room.  Finally, he came back hidden under his toy hamper bag.

Third strike.

I questioned him as to whether he’d been asked to stay out of the office, or not.  His reply – NO.  I then reminded him he had.  Stay with me this is where it gets weird.

I said, “My precious little boy, you know I love you and think you are wonderful, but I need you to stay out of the office and go back into the living room.”

His reply – “Okay”

And he did.

And he hasn’t been back in here giving me time to finish the email, read a blog post and write this!  Wow!  The phrase “a soft answer turns away wrath” comes to mind also, “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”.  

I think I’m a hard, vinegar momma at times.  And you know what?  I get wrathful answers from a fly.  Not really, but you get my point.

I needed to write down this success as a reminder and positive reinforcer to myself.  My words and tone really do affect my little guy as much as any mood or state he may be in temporarily. 
Now if I can just remember this!

I've linked this up with Mary Beth over at New Life Steward for WIP Wednesday.  Seemed fitting since this is all about being a Work in Progress.  Hop over, check out her blog and all the others who have linked up and show some love.  Thanks.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Cost of the Details

Just paid my phone/cable/internet bill online today and noticed that it was significantly higher than last month's.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a fluctuating phone bill due to long distance calls.  Unlimited long distance calling is the greatest thing since sliced bread in my daily life.  I hardly ever make local calls and I rarely bake bread – like nearly never.

So, how often do you actually read the details of your bills?

I’m talking about flipping that baby over, pulling out the magnifying glass and calculator, and READING IT.  Sometimes you might even have to lay them side by side to see where the changes happen.  Electric bills can be interesting because of the changes in generation and transmission rates.  However, the cable company seems to be the most notorious
Frankly, I’m more concerned that my little guy doesn’t destroy the actual cable box while I’m paying bills than what’s written on the back of them.  Case in point, I have a dvd player with a permanently open door.  I’ve fixed it before, but not this time.  It’s been open for about 8 months now.

I know that organizers tell you that you only need to keep a year’s worth of bills, but if I’m still at a location, I have the bills.  I even keep them after moving until everything is completely closed and settled out.  You learn a few things moving as much as I have.

Any who…  I turned this and the last month’s bill over for comparison.  I noticed that a promotional rate had expired.  That’s fine.  I also noticed 3 lines of services that I had no recollection of ordering and didn’t want.  One I had forgotten to cancel after a three month trial– that’s on me.  The other two I didn’t know about.  That was $21/month wasted.  FOR. A. YEAR!!!  UGH!

I called the company and worked with a perfectly lovely costumer service agent.  She was able to speak to someone in charge and give me partial credit back for several months.  It was, after all, written on the bill.  This was a nice little bit of grace offered to me regarding my own lack of attention.  Now I need to go through other statements and see what else I have been overlooking that is draining my financial resources.

This has me thinking.

What grace am I continually given by God that covers my inattention to more important areas of my life?  Have I gotten so in the habit of my life that I don’t see areas of sin or lack of obedience?  What resources are being drained?  Just as the bill was eye-opening, the recognition of daily grace should be heart and mind opening.

So, how often do you actually read the details of your life?

For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift.
                                                John 1:16 – Amplified Bible

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Flying Unfinished with Stacey

I'm hanging out over at another friend's place today.  I'd love for you to go check out the why and how I started this little blog.  We're all Flying Unfinished through this life.  Hop over to Stacey's Daze and say hello.  Look around while you're there, you might just learn a thing or two.  Stacey has an amazing heart for God and His Word.  Since it's Wednesday there's also a word for you.  :)  See you there.  Oh, and don't forget your coffee cup.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Fresh Start

I need to make a fresh start today – for several reasons.  One of the biggest places I’ll be starting over is in my refrigerator.  Last weekend we had a major storm  that knocked out most everyone’s power.  Here that was about 1.5 million customers.  That’s a lot of people, folks.  South of here there are a few going on day 10 without power.  Ours was off for about 3 full days.  

The “great” thing was that I was at the beach.  The not so great thing was that we left 5 hours later than planned and that made our drive about 3 hours longer than it should have been.  Is that a super way to start a relaxing vacation, or what?

While I was splashing in the surf and applying sunscreen on every visible inch of skin the various items in my freezer were thawing, becoming quite icky, and then thankfully refreezing.  The stuff in the refrigerator side was just warming up enough for bacteria to do a happy dance then go into hiding.  So out it all went.  It’s waiting at the street right now to be picked up by my trash service.  I’m sure those poor guys have had quite a busy past week.

So I get to start over guilt-free.  You’ve read those food and health blogs that encourage you to get rid of the bad stuff you have and just restock with the healthy.  Honestly, that’s a little financially horrifying to most people – me included.  I’m getting ready to start off to the store in a bit.  It will be a little painful, but I can do it with a keener eye and my menu plan for the week.  Guys, this is huge.  I hate meal planning!

So here’s the other part.  I’m not crazy about the path my little blog here has veered onto.  It isn’t exactly what I wanted it to be, not always a bad thing.  It’s just not true to me or the general vision I had.

I’m going to look at it as an empty refrigerator.  I’ll see where the shelves need to be wiped down and I’ll fill it up with better stuff.  The staples need to be higher quality and more fresh goodies.  I want to try new things and rediscover things I love, but haven’t had in a while.

It’s all about learning here.  Mistakes and failed methods are two of the greatest teachers out there.  Was there something here you particularly liked?  Something you thought you would find, but it was missing?  Are you looking for something that I don’t have in stock?  I want to be here for you and your friends.  

I've linked this up with Mary Beth over at New Life Steward for WIP Wednesday.  Seemed fitting since this is all about being a Work in Progress.  Hop over, check out her blog and all the others who have linked up and show some love.  Thanks.