Monday, August 31, 2009

THIS IS IT. Are You Ready?!

The 30-Day Throw Down! begins Tuesday, September 1, 2009.

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Here are your final details.

Our first objective: Say good-bye to fast food for 30-Days and get in touch with your inner healthy eater. Your body – MY body – longs to be fed. The fatter we are, the easier we get sick, or the less energy we have, the more likely it is we are starving ourselves. This may not be true in terms of food volume, but we are depriving ourselves of life-giving food filled with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (the stuff you get from all the gorgeous colors in fruits and veggies), enzymes, and trace elements that are essential to good health and well being. God created it without pesticides and chemicals and he created our bodies to extract every good thing possible. So with that in mind, let’s go.

One example of what not to eat:

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THE MAIN THING:

MOST IMPORTANT – DROP FAST FOOD. Eat whole foods as often as possible. Make healthy choices when eating out.

ALSO IMPORTANT: Avoid HIGHLY (key word here) processed foods at the grocery store which are just fast foods, or convenience foods, we fool ourselves with by thinking they are healthy options or it doesn’t matter that much. We wink at the fact that they are full of chemicals, flavorings, additives, hydrogenated oils, dyes, emulsifiers, door knobs, and possibly, coat hangers. Okay. The last two were just to see if you were paying attention. For a more complete overview of how to make healthier choices at home and when EATING OUT, read THIS. In the next few days, I’ll be listing label examples of HIGHLY processed foods and the ingredients they include. I think it will be helpful.

DISCLAIMER; I DID NOT WANT TO DO A LONG “AVOID” LIST OF PROCESSED FOODS BECAUSE I DON’T WANT THIS TO SEEM OVERWHELMING. This is as short as I could get it:

Avoid products with MSG. In a different 30-Day period we’ll talk about why and all the different names for it but the BIGGIE is Monosodium Glutamate - MSG. Avoid sodium nitrates or nitrites (mostly found in processed lunch meats and some bacon), and trans fats/hydrogenated oils. Avoid foods that have long lists of ingredients, most of which you don’t understand. Buy organic – IF POSSIBLE and buy local – IF POSSIBLE. If not possible, make your BEST choices and feel good about it. These few changes will go a long way toward taking a load off your liver, or nervous system, and/or blood fats (bad cholesterol and triglycerides – those things the doctor is always on you about).

I have been asked, “What about flour? It’s processed.” And, “What about dairy? Same thing.” Or, “I just CAN’T give up my diet soda. Can I do this anyway?”

The answer to all these questions is, “I need a hair cut. I SERIOUSLY need a hair cut.” I scared myself this morning when I looked in the mirror.

But I’ll try not to think about it for a minute and address your concerns.

Here’s the deal: Remember the rules? “Do Your Best. No, REALLY, do your best.” That’s it. I told you that would be hard. Because your best won’t be perfection. Neither will mine and I’m not convinced they need to be. If we feed our bodies healthy, REAL food most of the time, they can stand up to the occasional assault of bad choices. Our problem, especially as Americans, is we often live the other way around. We eat pretty poorly, especially if we eat fast food a lot, and then think we can regain our health, or proper weight, if we throw in something healthy now and then.

QUESTION TIME:

What if I slip up and find myself at the drive through?

There are no cameras and no police to arrest you. YOU will be asking yourself, “Is this my best?” Only you can answer that. If you cave this time, keep trying! Did you know that research shows ONE MEAL can make a difference in your blood chemistry? For good or bad. Keep going and don’t let one bad meal make you quit. DON’T GIVE UP!

But, what if I can give up fast food and not my diet soda (or regular soda)? Do I even qualify to join you?

Of course! If you can give up fast food, you’re STILL way ahead of the game. Don’t count yourself out. After 30-Days of no fast food, you may find you have the willpower to say goodbye to soda, too. Keep the big picture in mind.

Okay, I gave up fast food but I’m not ready to worry about processed foods. Am I still in?

Again, YES! Because one good choice often leads to another and I’m betting you’ll start thinking more about what you’re feeding yourself.

But what about if I already eat well?

You’re WAY ahead of the game so start trying to find organic and locally grown as much as possible. And increase your veggies, especially raw. It’s where most of us are lacking even when we eat well.

And if I’m already doing all that?

Then start growing your own organic grains and grinding your own wheat and baking bread for the rest of us! And please ship us your grass-fed beef and free-range chickens! And weigh in here frequently and tell us how you do it all. Because you are much admired and I honestly have NO idea.

There are multi-levels and ways of doing this.

Will I buy flour? Yes. Mind you, I buy organic, and mostly whole-grain flour but I’m not growing and grinding my own. Don’t I think buying fresh, recently grown grains, and grinding them into the flour I will be using to bake our bread is the best way? Well ABSOLUTELY! It’s just that most of us will not live that way and don’t find it sustainable due to busy schedules and full, demanding lives. So then we quit in a puddle of failure, drive through “Diabetes R Us,” and give up. This isn’t “all or nothing.” This is a very healthy and balanced “SOMETHING.” And it is HUGE.

Will I buy milk? Yes. But I will, and do, buy organic milk. If it costs more, we drink less. And I supplement with raw milk which is readily available in California. We’ve also been drinking raw milk for over three years. Luscious. If you have questions about this, I’ll be glad to do a posting and send links to great sites.

Will I buy bread or bake it?

Yes. The End. We need bread. But when I buy it, and I WILL, I will look for organic bread, preferably with sprouted grains. Costco carries organic bread and Trader Joe’s carries organic, sprouted grain breads. Also, Trader Joe’s has committed to trying not to buy foods that contain GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). They will not guarantee that it never happens as there can be cross-contamination but that is their desire and goal in all their foods.

Will I drink soda? No. Not diet or anything else. And we don’t use any artificial sweeteners.

Will I eat sugar or chocolate? If the world continues to revolve in 24 hour cycles and does not come to a complete halt, then the answer is yes. If not, then I’m getting off anyway. Now mind you, it will be only OCCASIONALLY and I will TRY to substitute raw honey, or rapadura (raw unprocessed cane sugar – sort of powdery) but it won’t always happen and I will not consider myself a failure. When I eat chocolate – oh, chocolate, have I told you lately how flat, dark, and handsome you are? – I will use or eat dark chocolate, and if possible, organic. In other words, REAL FOOD, not food made to SEEM real.

Will I buy canned goods? Yes. Because I’m not making a pot of beans everyday, or canning my own tomato sauce. If you do, WONDERFUL! but I can’t manage it. So I will be buying organic and made in the U.S.A. (check all labels for country of origin where standards might not be as high as ours and THAT’s saying a LOT…ahem….I’ll stop there). Again, I’ll be showing some label comparisons in a few days but look for SIMPLE, EASILY RECOGNIZABLE INGREDIENTS. NO MYSTERIES. Your food should not be worthy of a C.S.I. episode.

To repeat: This is about making HEALTHY CHANGES. A little at a time. Slowly. In 30-Day increments. This isn’t about thinking of your food 24 hours a day. You know why? I’ve thought about food 24 hours a day. I’ve taken our family down to eating 15 different kinds of food for eight weeks to find out what we are sensitive to. It was hard. It was amazingly informative. What it wasn’t was sustainable.

As a VERY wise 19th century newspaper editor named George Dennison Prentice once put it: “What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn’t much better than tedious disease.” I know that to be true.

SO LET’S NOT COMPLICATE IT!

30-Days from now we will move on to the next 30-Day phase which will be exercise. We will look at ways to incorporate a little or a lot, depending on our individual abilities. But we’ll get moving. And we’ll commit to each other to “DO OUR BEST” if we want to continue on.

My vision for this is a year of 30-Day increments where we change habits a little at a time, slowly adding up to big, significant changes that can impact our health, the health of our families for years to come, and the way we grow our food. But I simply CAN’T do everything all at once. I’m thinking it might be hard for you, too. I’m positive we’ll all be an encouragement to each other. You are not obligated in ANY WAY to continue on, but I think you may want to. I quit fast food three weeks ago – and so did Grizzly, Bo, and The Wild Man. We all feel better for it. We’re all committed to continuing.

And there will be incentives to continue! Even now, I’m negotiating with sponsors who will be supporting our efforts through great giveaways. A big THANK YOU to Chipotle who wants to support our healthy efforts by offering giveaways! They will not be shaping or dictating what we do. They will be supporting what we’re already doing.

One last thing……

PLEASE DO THIS: Make a few tiny notes (or huge long paragraphs if you’re desperately compelled to do so like, uh, certain people I may or may not know and who may or may not author blogs known as Robynn’s Ravings) about any positive change you see. It’s EASY to forget GOOD THINGS and think nothing is different. I have already noticed changes in my skin and weight, and a slight increase in energy (even though I had the usual reaction to medicine which ALWAYS impacts my liver and leaves me in pain and with a liver that doesn’t want to show up for work.) Write it down and share it with us along the way as well as your own readers, if you blog.

And share this with a family member or friend. Don’t become an obnoxious food nazi. But when they ask why you’re packing your own lunch or why YOUR food looks SO much better than theirs, tell them. Gently. Don’t do what I did to a sweet friend who recently asked a bunch of us about all these ideas. I think we opened up a fire hose of information on her. She went away shell shocked. I'm grateful she’s still speaking to me. Use me as a terrible warning.

Time to gird our loins. Time to put on the gloves. Time to kick some serious fast food booty. Let’s THROW DOWN!

(The 30-Day Throw Down! will soon have its own blog so that information about what we’re doing is readily accessible and you won’t have to hunt for back articles.)

Copyright 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Biking Leather and Other Good Advice

Okay....you guys are ALL TOO GOOD TO ME!!!! I have received so much love and encourgement about Bo that I can’t boo-hoo another second.

You gave me comfort, commiseration, hope, and even some great advice and offers of more Kleenex. Then there was Lisa. Lisa who just had surgery and is having to take drugs. I like her a lot. I like her drugged up. I told her she should have surgery and drugs more often and give professional counseling. Her advice yesterday was full of wisdom. Today, it was positively inspirational. This is what she said:

……"Oh...I can't wait for you to discover the future!! It is a very beautiful thing!! Until then, start looking for something you and hubby can start doing together! Ever thought of Christian Bikers? I think you would look great in leather! Ok,..its time for me to lay off the narcotics.”

Really, Lisa? You see me as a biker chick? Yeah, I think I’m catchin' the vision.......

Biker Chick

Copyright 2009



If you’re looking for info on joining us in the 30-Day Throw Down starting September 1st and your chance at a $100 Amazon gift card, click here for details!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ima Bawlin’

Okay. I’m just gonna say it straight out. I’m a blubbering mess. Well, I was yesterday. I sat at Teresa’s, my dear friend, (thank you, Lord, for friends who just have to put up with us) and made her watch while I used up her whole box of Kleenex. My way of life with this first born child has come to an end as college began for her on Monday. I homeschooled her for 13 years. And I raised her for this day. Now I’m beating down my friend’s door and gettin’ her couch wet and throwin’ tissues all over her floor.

Do you see this girl?

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This happy girl?

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This laughing, spirited, carefree girl?

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Her mother looks nothing like this.

Her mother has separation anxiety. But that’s not new for me. I find it hard to say good-bye to people I make friends with in the grocery store line.

Not this girl. This girl is a mover-on-er. She’s pretty sure the world is her oyster and she’s crackin’ open every shell.

I’m pretty sure I’m going back to bed.

But I’ll survive. I’ll dry up. Life is about adjustment. And letting go. And moving on. And celebrating change. And embracing the joy of new discoveries.

What a lot of crappy platitudes. Where’s my Kleenex?!

Copyright 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Death Defying Parenting + 30-Day Info

If you’re looking for info on joining us in the 30-Day Throw Down starting September 1st and your chance at a $100 Amazon gift card, click here for details!

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Today is the first day of the rest of my sanity. Bo starts college today and she is 800% ready, willing, and able. She’s pushing back, reaching out, and stampeding forward. I feel like I’m locked in a chute with a raging bull at a rodeo and killing myself to get to the gate pull to let it escape. Forget riding the thing for 8 seconds. I’m just gonna run out behind, wave my hat at y’all, and let you clap for me that I survived the lock up. I don't mind hanging my head that I didn't even try and stay on. Yeehaw, girly! You go and head right for those clowns and barrels. I’ll be the one in the stands watchin’ you bounce and buck and beller as my life (and yours) flashes before me.

I had time to reflect on all this as Grizzly and I did the couples thing over the weekend in Cambria, at the beach. Don’t we all adore our children in absentia? It’s similar to watching them sleep. They seem perfectly angelic as the day’s madness drifts away. I had time to think about their baby days and all the sweetness and dear moments of mother/child bonding. I am THRILLED I got to become a mother. It almost didn’t happen. I went through four years of infertility, treatment, surgery, miscarriages, and obsession. That seems so distant now but was very present and overwhelming then. And I’m grateful beyond words we were blessed and I became a mother. But I’m beginning to think learning NOT to mother may be equally as hard. I think I have some death-defying lessons ahead but I’m gonna do my personal best to stay out of the bull pen.

By the way, I hope to get pics of Cambria up for you guys tomorrow. If I ever become technically savvy enough to transfer them out of Grizzly’s computer into mine, filter them through Picasa, upload them to my blog photo file, and then drop them into Windows Live Writer WITHOUT ASSISTANCE AND GREAT GNASHING OF TEETH, I will undoubtedly cause pig’s to fly. Let’s hope they are organic and raised humanely. Then, let’s eat them. (My apologies to all you vegans.)

Which brings up my next exciting news.

I contacted Chipotle about supporting our efforts during the 30-Day Throw Down. Our first 30-Days will eliminate fast food and highly processed foods. Our next 30-Days will address another aspect to be announced. And so on and so forth, taking us through a year of healthy habits. Chipotle contacted me and is very supportive. I will be talking to them more and finding out about their offer of giveaways. I will also be contacting other folks about participating in our efforts and hope to bring you reasons (besides FEELING better!) and giveaways that will encourage you to continue on the journey, 30-Days at a time.

I need this! I’ve been doing it for two weeks already and can attest to the difference I feel, and also the difference I feel when I don’t. I’ve been my own test subject with a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing goin’ on. Cambria was an eye opener but I’ll leave that for the next few days.

In the meantime, love yourself enough to spend 7 minutes to watch something that will educate you about a different way of doing business and growing food. Gear up to support your efforts and invest in yourself. Steve Ellis, founder of Chipotle was interviewed on “Nightline.” And I am highly impressed with what he’s doing.

By the way, their slogan? “Slow food, fast.” More and more of these types of restaurants will pop up when we, as consumers, vote with our dollars.

Happy Monday to you and if you started homeschooling today, waved good-bye as you dropped off your kiddos at school, or, like me, survived the stampede of the college student, please know my heart is with you. It must be. I find I’m missing SEVERAL body parts since the rodeo.

Copyright 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

30-Day Throw Down!

BULLETIN UPDATE! How great to see so many coming in and wanting to do the healthy dance! Please don't forget if you've commented "I'm in," you need to click the "FOLLOW" button to be entered into the drawing for the $100 Amazon Gift Card (unless you already follow). If you're not sure, just click the follow button and it will let you know. THANK YOU!

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So, I told you we were working on something. Here it comes. And I'm SO hoping you'll help me spread the word.

What Is It?

A challenge. And a chance at a $100 Amazon Gift Card.

Is It Complicated?

No, it’s simple and it’s free. It’s SO simple it’ll drive you crazy and you’ll want to add all kinds of rules and complicated information. I think simplicity is so simple it’s hard. Is that perfectly clear now?

This is a challenge for 30 Days – only 30 Days - to THROW DOWN FAST FOOD.

Launch Date: September 1, 2009.

(An “appetizing” example of the Not-So-Great American Diet.)

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Are You Nuts?

Yes. Thanks for asking.

But we’ll eat healthier food, undoubtedly feel better, maybe increase our energy, or quit giving our scales a nervous breakdown every time they see us coming. Personally, mine is in therapy. It’s the least I could do after all the trauma I’ve caused it. I’ve also been known to avoid the doctor because people there insist on weighing me. Lately, I refuse unless they let me strip down to my underwear in the middle of the office. I didn’t eat my jeans. Why should I have to weigh them? Try it. They will never ask to weigh you again.

But I do realize I have a few issues. (See the answer to the question, “Are You Nuts?”)

Uh, How Do You Define “FAST FOOD?”

It isn’t only our favorite burger or taco place. It’s processed foods, too. Not swinging through “Big and Beefy – And That’s Just YOU!” doesn’t really work if we go home, throw a frozen dinner covered in plastic into the microwave, and slam a soda. That’s fast food from the grocery store.

My family and I wanted to see if we could MAKE ourselves, if only for 30 Days, know WHAT we’re eating and try to eat whole foods as much as possible. We already shop at Farmers’ Markets, buy locally grown most of the time, look for organic sources, and like to think we care about what’s going in our guts. Because trust me, when we look down, we realize…..they hold a LOT, so that’s important.

Okay, You Sound Holy. So, What’s Your Problem, Man?

We’re lying to ourselves. We are converts in our heads and total heathens in our guts. We still fast food it way too much. A pizza here, a cheeseburger there, a taco or burrito anywhere. And of course, my 14-year-old son’s favorite - imitation processed cheese product look-a-like that you pour over GMO (genetically modified organism) corn chips. (Any real relation to actual food is completely coincidental. Product restrictions may apply. Void where prohibited.)

And the reality is, when we do this, we don’t feel good. I mean, we REALLY don’t feel good. And why would we? What God put on this earth to feed us has been so adulterated, it’s hardly recognizable anymore.

Who Elected YOU The Big Food Sheriff?

I’m not challenging you because I have already arrived. I’m fat. I’m barreling down life’s highway seriously over the legal cheeseburger limit. I’m operating heavy machinery while in a pizza induced state. I’m driving while indoctrinated. I have allowed myself to believe that fast food and processed food can stand in as a decent substitute in a pinch. Well, I actually haven’t believed that for years but denial is a gift and it allows you to skip meal preparation or grocery shopping. And busyness and health issues offer yet more opportunities to fall by the wayside.

But this isn’t a beat-you-up, guilt inducing 30-day trek. This is a wake-up call. This is a belief that most of us can do almost anything for 30 days to improve our lives. Unless you don’t need to.

Maybe you live remotely and NEVER eat fast or processed foods. You are so far removed from this nonsense you can’t even identify with me. Maybe you grow your own food. If so, I’m in love with you and you have my undying admiration. May I stay with you for six months while I detox? It could get ugly. When do you want me?

But if your more like me than you want to admit publicly (and I am not offended if you prefer to act as though you’ve never even heard my name, not once in your whole life........including today), then you might want to do something about it.

The rules are amazingly simple.

Rules:

DO THE BEST YOU CAN. (But no, REALLY do the best you can.) And if no one will do it with you, do the best you can. See? Simple.

How Do We Pull THIS off?

The first question my son asked was, “What if I’m with somebody else and their parents take us to a fast food place?” We believe, for the most part, unless the meal is laced with out-an-out e-coli, mad cow disease, a known allergen, or arsenic, one meal probably isn’t going to derail you. However, we advised him to make as healthy a choice as possible. Choose a salad, see if they have fruit, opt for grilled cheese, reach for water, try the yogurt.

And we aren’t saying don’t eat out at all. But choose a real-food restaurant if you do. Opt for salads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Utilize real cheeses, not processed cheese products. Get whole cuts of meat instead of ground (at least it comes from only one source unless you know they grind their own on the premises). Go for the baked potato or wild rice instead of french fries. Avoid “farmed” fish and ask for wild caught. Share a fruit dessert or something dark chocolate. Or, in the interest of cutting down on sugar (another highly processed food), forego it altogether.

Daily, plan ahead with the old brown bag. Fill it with healthy, whole choices the night before. Include raw veggies and fruits. Choose organic and local, if at all possible. Say NO to soda, including diet. Drink filtered water or, if you just HAVE to, top it off with a little bit of fruit juice while you adjust to foregoing the soda. Cruise through your favorite coffee place and enjoy your daily cup-of-the-Joe, Americano, or tea, but blow off the cafe-latte-dahs and froo-froo drinks packed with sweeteners of all kinds.

Now, this is where it can get harder but, if at all possible, avoid factory-farmed meats and look to local growers, or those who farm sustainably and who have grazing cattle eating grasses and herbs, pigs that can forage and root, or chickens that are free-range. That’s how animals are designed to eat.

I realize this isn’t always possible with meat, due to costs. It isn’t for us either, believe me, but we try to eat meat like this if we find good bargains and sometimes we absolutely do. Every little change, and every meal, adds up – for your health…..or not.

THE KEY – ALSO KNOWN AS “THE MAIN THING”

Meal plan with fresh, whole foods as much as possible. Buy organic IF you can – buy local IF you can. The End. Keep it simple. If you can’t, make your best selections and say, “Yahoo!” because you’re still FAR AHEAD of the fast food game and your consistently moving toward better and better eating.

We can do this. It’s only 30 DAYS. Quit on September 30th if you’re suffering and feel miserable. (I’m betting you won’t be, on either count.) By the way, this isn’t a political idea. I have no hidden agendas. All my agendas are available for public viewing and parades, as well as limited soapbox and high-horse engagements. I am not a vegetarian and will not become one. You’ll go insane trying to convert me and I would hate that for you. I KNOW all the choices. This one is mine. But if you are a vegetarian, you are highly esteemed. Please send me recipes to make my veggies all that they can be and help them realize their full potential.

Contingencies

Now, if life happens, and it does, here’s your contingency plan: know in advance where you can find quick, healthier food vs. fast food. In some areas of California, Pizza Fusion offers organic pizza and sandwiches. Chipotle dishes up super fast service and healthy choices including offering meat from animals raised humanely and sustainably. (You’ll be AMAZED at their philosophy and their food when I post about it.) You might want to forego the white rice in their burritos and get more beans, peppers, onions, salsa, lettuce, and lean meat. And these burritos are huge. You can easily share one and cut your costs in half, though they are already extremely reasonable. Whole Foods has a salad bar with EVERYthing, though the prices can be a little steeper. Trader Joe’s has a salad-in-a-box for $3.00 or so. Look for organic any time you can. And these recommendations aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. Options are regional. Your thoughts are needed and welcome about what’s available in your area. Share what you find in the comments section or email me. I’ll post it here and we’ll help each other.

And if you’re concerned that you might find yourself caught between a rock and a cheeseburger, reference the advice to my 14-year-old son and then go one step farther: Plan ahead. Pull up the websites of the fast food restaurants you normally frequent and look at the calorie and nutrition content of their foods, ask where their meat is coming from, and find out how it’s prepared. Based on that, make healthier choices ahead of time.

These ideas will freak out the purists among us who won’t think this goes nearly far enough. But I believe in keeping the MAIN THING the MAIN THING. And this IS our main thing – for 30 DAYS. Nearly everything you read about healthier eating changes everything about your life almost immediately. Personally, that hasn’t worked for me. It’s often an “all or nothing” or “pass and fail.” But most of us can’t eat, won’t eat, or DON’T eat perfectly every day. This is a nod to real life. IT happens. If you fall off the wagon, RUN (you’ll burn a calorie), and get back on. Don’t let it leave without you. And if you fall off, you haven’t failed so DON’T give up. This is about the process. This is about 30-Day increments.

What Gave You THIS Hare-brained Idea?

One thing, among many others, was watching the movie “Food, Inc.” I highly recommend it and if it’s not already, it should be out on DVD very shortly. Through the years we’ve watched similar movies or documentaries and felt they were eye-opening. But in Food, Inc. I heard things I already knew, found out things I needed to know, and heard my own food beliefs echoed. I did chafe at an example they used which I felt was not well thought out. (I’ll talk about it and give them the FIX in my next 30-Day Throwdown! post.)

It got us talking and debating, and tickled our cerebellums, or amygdalas, or pre-frontal cortexes. Whatever it was, we found our brains still working and decided to utilize them. I required my kids to watch it as part of their school curriculum. I’ve been proselytizing about many of the ideas for years. But sometimes they (read I) need to see it and hear it from an outside source. It worked.

So, Is This a Food Blog?

Nope. Not even close. This is usually a humor blog, if I’m lucky. It’s about everything, and will continue to be. But every day of our lives includes food that fuels us, or not, so it seems relevant. And anytime we join together and support one another, it’s easier, more fun, and we’re accountable.

What’s In It For Me?

A healthier lifestyle. Being in touch with what you’re eating. Maybe losing some weight. Maybe not. You can still get fat on too much good, healthy food even though your body is better nourished. Trust me. I’ve gotten fat any way possible. (Considering portions is a good idea whatever you’re eating. And I’ve considered them. I just haven’t considered limiting them nearly often enough.) But this isn’t about changing EVERYthing. This is about changing a couple of things, making it doable, and taking first steps. When we end up evaluating ourselves at the end of 30 Days, we, our family, will continue on, adding more healthy habits in the aforementioned 30 Day increments.

You can come with us. In a year, we’ll be more aware, healthier, leaner, and we’ll even save a BOAT LOAD of garbage. (Think of how much we throw away with every fast food visit.) So it’s even a green idea.

Where Does The $100 Amazon Gift Card Come In?

If we do it, I truly believe we’ll all win. But one person, on October 1st, 2009, will win a $100 Amazon gift card. How you might ask? So glad you did.

1. Sign up to follow AND leave a comment saying you did. That’s a must. I’ll collect names everyday during our 30 Day Throw Down! and add them to the drawing. All you have to write is: “I’m following and I’ll do it!” Feel free to write more if you’re inspired. (The follow button is to the right – over the photos of other followers, and the comment button appears at the end of this post. Just click on it to comment. Sorry if that’s highly detailed but I’ve had people who truly didn’t realize how they CAN comment and I don’t want anyone left out.)

2. If you already follow, THANK YOU!! But you still need to leave a comment letting me know, “I’ll do it!”

3. If you BLOG about it on your site and link your readers back to this article by using this code http://robynnsravings.blogspot.com/2009/08/30-day-throw-down.html - leave me a comment with a link to your post and, I'll enter you again! (I hope you deem this worthy of sharing with your readers.)

THE WINNER OF THE GIFT CARD WILL BE INTERVIEWED HERE ON THEIR MONTH-LONG JOURNEY AND HAVE A POST DEDICATED TO THEM. (Privacy and identifying details will be respected unless you love the limelight! Then, I’ll link everyone to your blog, if you have one.)

That’s it. Let’s THROWDOWN!! For 30-DAYS!

Copyright 2009 - 30-Day Throw Down! Copyright 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

$100 Amazon Gift Card Is Coming.....

We here at Robynn's Ravings (that would be me and my vast staff of one husband, two teens, two dogs, and a seriously curmudgeon-y cat who hates everyone but Bo), have been working together on a project. And I'm getting ready to roll it out in the next day or two while finalizing a few touches. It has kept me a tad preoccupied so I apologize for my invisibility on your blogs over the last few days. I am continually amazed to find that you don't come here only because I visit your blogs, but because you WANT to come here. And I THANK YOU!! Your comments and encouragement keep me going. And my family knows they can count on quiet when I stare into the blogosphere portal and work or create. They CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH for this and want to bathe your dogs, scrub your toilets, and spend the weekend with your most difficult relative so you don't have to.

They WANT to, I TOLD them they want to, but I'm willing to bet, they won't.

However, we'll be doing something almost as good. And I'll tell you about it soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ukraine's Got Talent - Spellbinding

I found this video clip through my sweet friend, Kelly, at The Glass Dragonfly, who finds the best videos in the world and shares them with us. I hope you will do yourself a favor and take the time to see this. If you do, you won't forget it. I clicked, watched it for five seconds, stopped, and knew I had to call the kids in to watch with me. We we're all spellbound. For me, art must be shared.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fun, Fluent, Fabulous - The JOY of Women

I LOVE to laugh and connect. And I LOVE to hang out with women friends. But as I wrote this morning, I was analyzing friend types.

Do you have low maintenance or high maintenance friends?

In my book, low maintenance doesn’t mean you don’t have problems. We ALL have problems. It simply means you’re honest, upfront, and trustworthy. You don’t continually look for offense or the worst in others. If you have to talk about someone or just need to vent, it’s because you’re looking for solutions and trying to move through to a better spot. And you don’t “sow discord.” I know a few people who are discord FARMERS. They grow so much they could go public with their stock and trade on the open market. But, happily for me, I know FAR more who are purveyors of JOY.

And that’s what I got last night with some dear women friends.

If you interviewed any one of us today, I believe you’d get the same review. We had FUN. We LIKED each other – even though some of us were new to the others. We talked about the frivolous and we soap-boxed about healthy food, our families, our woman-ness. We shared struggles or frustrations but didn’t judge each other. We LAUGHED a LOT. There was no gossip. No one got bashed. This was NOT the “winter of our discontent.” We WANTED to like each other, enjoy each other, and…..we did. And this?

I love.

Here we are, out on the town:


We’re actually more beautiful than this, of COURSE, but I can NEVER remember to take my camera so this look-alike montage of some famous familiar faces will have to do. Here we are – Kim, Kendra, Karla, Kim (the quadruple “K” threat), Linda, Becky, Kendra’s mom, and Me. Ladies, we got it goin’ ON. Some of us are so good lookin’ we needed TWO pictures to catch all of our awesomeness and that’s why I had to use 14 faces.

We went here:


And saw this:




Then stood in the lobby and talked about it for half-an-hour before we could decide we should walk over here:

And eat this:


Well, at least that’s what I ate.

(Thank you stock photos from the internet. You never let me down. I so appreciate YOU bringing a camera. I’ll try to do better. The End.)

So, however you roll, or however many rolls you have, or don’t have, gather some of your gal pals and have fun. It doesn’t matter how many friends are around. What matters is the quality of the friendship and the heart of the friend. And if your friend group is lacking, do what I did: Invite yourself over. Butt in. Insist on being loved. Don’t take “no” for an answer. Act like you belong. Try to get them to feed you. Refuse to run off when they stamp their foot. They’ll weaken from sheer exhaustion, and then, you’re IN! Yahoo!


Copyright 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I LOVED This....!

And now I'm headed to see it for the second time with a girlfriend group this afternoon. Saw it last Saturday. Must take Grizzly, too, so that will make three times. Meryl Streep is bound to receive an Academy Award for her portrayal of Julia Child.

But a feature of the film I did not go in expecting was the truth about blogging.

If you're ANYthing like me, and I'm desperately afraid for you that you are or you wouldn't be here, most of your friends and family do NOT get this blogging obsession - the whys and wherefores and whatnots. And the thing is, we all have different reasons but it's born in creating. It's born in sharing, in connecting, in helping, in receiving. It's a mission field, it's a counselor's office, it's a shoulder, it's a rolling-on-the-floor laugh fest, it's a cry of desperation for some and we, you and I, might be the person God is using to say, "I see you. And I care." It's a WILLING listening ear because nobody is putting a gun to anyone's head and forcing them to show up or keep reading. Or to follow. They say, "Here I am. I came here because you need me, or I need you, or both, but whatever it is, we're connecting."

And this movie addresses and looks at, even stares at, the heart of a blogger. It's a relationship we have. Some of us feel an immense responsibility to each other and maybe, to ourselves. Others are casual daters. But whatever it is, I saw it unfold and bloom on the silver screen.

And now, I have to go see it again.

I also love that the flirting and more sensual scenes - not that anything is hugely graphic - only takes place between two couples married to each other and madly in love. Thanks, Hollywood. This is a feel-good movie.

Copyright 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Looking Through The Slats

Yes, Virginia, I do remember looking through the slats, or bars, of my crib. But I never saw Santa Claus.

One of my dear friends and readers, BZ at The Mosquitoes Buzz, asked me, after my Meme post recalling the horrific clown doll that gave me phobias, if I could truly remember looking at it through my crib slats. The answer is, “Yes.” The answer why though is, “I'm clueless.” But detailed, strong memory is as much a part of me as this computer chair which has now grown attached to my posterior.

For example, if you're as old as I am (first of all, be gentle with yourself and then rush to the doctor for a check up - there’s probably something wrong with you) you may recall a contraption like this from the late 1950's (old people use the word "contraption" a lot):

Car Seat 1950's

I found this photo on the internet. It’s not me or my mother. We weren’t nearly this photogenic or pink. But the chair the baby is in gives you the idea. It was the early car seat. It put the baby right up front and in the middle of all the action. We babies were front and center in case anything crashed into the windshield. We had a birds-eye view. Babies hate to miss anything. And mom could be dutifully distracted looking at baby, like this mother, instead of actually driving the car. Which greatly increased the chances of items crashing through the windshield.

My little seat was equipped with a steering wheel. It was the beginning of my power madness. I was sure it was me, I TELL YOU IT WAS ME!, driving the car. But at the same time, I had a distinct memory of having a horse’s head mounted where the steering wheel was, with a little rein that I could hold and make my dandy automobile giddyap and go. So, which memory was right?

Both felt right and I was comfortable, if confused, in my resolve. It didn’t make sense but that has rarely influenced my opinions. My mother insisted I never had any such seat and was zonko. But every dog has its day and mine was coming, even if it had fleas.

Disclaimer:

The next few paragraphs involve depressing facts. Feel free to skip to the upshot at the end.

In a prior post, I mentioned being given up for adoption or placed in foster care, depending on who’s telling the story. How that came to be was a tragic turn of events. My mother and father married very young and both came from highly defective backgrounds, though vastly different. (Dysfunctional just doesn’t quite cover it.) Neither brought emotional health or stability into the relationship, but my father brought a level of anger and volatility right out of a Steven King novel. One Sunday afternoon he took us all for a ride in the hills and severely beat my mother. (He was known to beat the kids, too, but she was the target this day.) He broke her jaw and knocked out several teeth. She had a violently ill reaction – what other kind of reaction could you have? – as my brother and sister endured the trauma of watching from the car. I have no idea what I saw. This is one memory gone to me and I’m grateful. Somehow, my mother’s sickness snapped him out of his raging fury and he took her to the hospital where they wired her jaw shut so it could heal. The doctor told him it was jail or therapy. He chose therapy. He went once.

But my mother grew terrified at his menacing and began to stay awake not sure what he might do. She had already found him once with a pillow over my face when I was crying. She began to fear for all our safety. And in those days of sleeplessness and injury, she began to unravel. Shortly thereafter, she was admitted to the hospital for five months. (I remember a trip to see her once. I dream about it sometimes. Everything is huge – the elevator, the doors, the halls.) And being the father of the year that he was, he didn’t want any of us. His parents agreed to take my brother and sister, though they weren’t thrilled with getting my sister. She had been sickly and was the scapegoat of the family. And they weren’t willing to add the work and effort a baby would bring.

So, according to my adoptive/foster father, R.Q. – his real name based on the Royal Queen’s Highway in Texas – my biological father walked next door to their house and offered me to them saying my mother was hospitalized and would never come home (which was certainly not true) and he didn’t want me (which certainly was true).

Now, Mary, R.Q.’s wife, had three boys and had always wanted a girl. I guess she fussed over me regularly and when I showed up on the doorstep, they accepted immediately. R.Q. said, when I found him shortly before my 40th birthday (Mary had passed away), they always regretted not starting adoption proceedings, not that they necessarily could have under the circumstances but, it made me feel warm and fuzzy.

They were ecstatic. Their beloved boxer dog threatened me and, believing I was there for good, they rehomed it. They invested in a nursery and decorated it for me. The boys thought I was a fun novelty and regularly tied my shoes to table legs to keep me from getting into their toys (very fun grown up guys when I met them). I had five months of baby bliss in which normalcy reigned. The family was happy and the parents were doting. While I look unhealthy and a little forlorn in some of the pictures, I sincerely believe the time there may have saved my life – physically and emotionally - because I bear far fewer scars from this time period than my brother and sister (who eventually took her life).

Happy Part Continues:

But in those pictures which R.Q. gave me and I will scan in and show you if I EVER get a scanner, there I am, sitting on their couch in a car seat.

With a horse’s head and reins.

They bought it for me for THEIR car. I was right. I had two car seats. And I was in charge in both of them, I’m sure. I also saw pictures of myself in a high chair (most of our family photos were stolen when I was about nine though some remain.) The wallpaper in their home so closely matches the wallpaper in my own home, right now, and which was put up a few years before R.Q. and I found each other, that it knocked my socks off. I recreated my own happy little haven and didn’t even know it. I don’t know if I can ever take it down. I remember seeing it on display in Wallpapers-To-Go and loving it instantaneously in a “must have it” kind of way. Now I know why.

My mother did recover and I would celebrate my first birthday back in my own home. And I remember the dress I wore. Light lavender soft cotton with tiny smocking and a little delicate flower. I loved that dress.

My parents divorced three years later and there are definitely people who wish I couldn’t remember all I do from my childhood, but I am grateful. It has made me who I am, has given me the courage of my convictions, and, if I’m not mistaken, a keen memory and powers of observation help if you ever want to become a writer.

I do. Maybe, I am.

Copyright 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rent a Planted Tree (or) College Help

As you know, I usually try to write about subjects most of my readers can relate to, or at least understand on some basic level, as they consider my highfalutin histrionics, my enigma of experience, and my profundity of complete poppycock. However, today, I diverge.

Today I speak as the mother of a young adult bound for college. I speak as one who has taken a 2x4 to the pre-frontal cortex in the area of college textbooks. I am speechless about how much they cost. I'm sure you didn't notice. Let me go on.

I have decided to forego the current book I'm writing and write a textbook instead. It will be about something completely insipid and basically irrelevant to the human race and will be a requirement for a college class. This will drive the cost up exorbitantly and I will publish it myself. I will charge $300 per book. Very shortly, I will be living large and inviting you all to come visit me at my beach home in the Cayman Islands. But until that time we need these:




Now, I am NOT ungrateful that our dear Bo has received a college scholarship. This includes her tuition for four years, housing, parking, and office privileges. So what are you whining about, you might opine? Whatever I can find, I might say. In fact, do say.

We are Suburban Survivalists. We have existed on one income for sixteen years so I could be with the kids and homeschool them. It was our choice. I have zero regrets. But it did not leave us at the front of the line for financial resources. I looked both my children in the eye in sixth grade and said, "You will go to college. Here's how: scholarship. Get busy." Obviously, nothing is a sure thing and I am open to God trimming our sails for a different direction. But if all things are equal, and they never are, then that was and is the plan. However, I seemed to forget about that little part not covered: Textbooks.

Apparently, I fell into a deep slumber about this financial blow until three days ago when I woke up screaming, "We've got to order all your textbooks!" Bo started shopping online and hunting for every deal. And boy, did we get deals. We took our costs down from about $800 to $325.00. That's worth telling SOMEbody about. Maybe you. Most of us probably aren't living the high-life right now with the economy and if you can save a little bread, you just might have some to eat. So here's what we did: we bought as few books as we could and we rented the rest.

You're probably all brilliant and already know this can be done but we didn't. It's PERFECT. You use the books for four months and ship them back. Do ANY of us EVER look at old college textbooks we got stuck with because they changed editions and the bookstore wouldn't buy them back? They become paperweights, dust collectors, and thrift shop donations. And here's a huge bonus: one of the companies, Chegg, plants a tree for every book you rent. We are tree LOVERS so this was a big, green yahoo from us.

So here are your links if you're looking for less expensive options than the college bookstore.

To buy, check out:

Half.Com at www.half.ebay.com/


We have used both these companies with good results when Bo took college classes in high school.

Others are:


But for RENTING, you can't beat Chegg at www.chegg.com/ and remember, they plant a tree for each book rented. You probably need to know that their prices go up as the start of school draws closer so you don't want to wait. We waited one day and the price went up $3.00 per book. We placed the order last Friday.

Happy shopping to you or someone you know who might need this info.


Copyright 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

Meme Me – Part 2

DEAR READERS.....A new reader dropped by today I've never heard from. She thinks this post was too long and maybe more of you would have read it if I had taken each question as a separate post. You know it's not really my style to milk anything - feels like I'm trying to drag you back over - but I'm open to suggestions if you think she's right. Am I keeping you all too long?! Let me know!

And so we continue from a few days ago......

7. Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?

Jeannette. And Yes. Here she is a few weeks ago with her Sam Elliot look-alike husband, Kevin. (People stop the man on the street!) They came up from Bakersfield for a visit just out of the blue.

We go waaaayyy back and spent many years at the same little backwater Baptist Church together as well as keeping constant company as families. She is Deep and I am Wide. That officially makes us a Sunday School song.

Grizzly and I LOVVVVE them and are guaranteed to be in stitches whenever we are together. I mean, look at them. Their PICTURES make you laugh. And none of us even tries. Either we’re all naturally funny – which is what WE believe – or we're basically moronic – which is what everyone else is going with. It is irrelevant to us. (The reality? EVERYONE loves this woman and thinks she's brilliant! She has a following and an entourage. You can hardly get an audience with her. Good thing I know where she lives. Oh wait. She's moving. Now that I think of it, she hasn't given me a forwarding address.)


IMG_5458



IMG_5459



IMG_5461


In spite of this latest set back, I continue to text her and don't think I've ever told her I have ALWAYS loved her name. We've been best friends since we were about four-years-old. We have so much shared history and heartache that our lives are forever and inextricably woven. We refer to ourselves as sisters – far more than best friends. No one would believe either of our family stories. WE don’t even believe it and we were there. What we have left is God’s goodness and grace to us, along with laughter. No one laughs like those who don’t have better sense. I LOVE you, sister girl.

8. Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?

I think it was Sharon and H.L.’s. I would have been about 12? All I remember was that you could hear her girdle swishing with each step and pass of her thighs as she walked down the aisle. It was the girdle era. We never left home without one. I bought my first around the same age, for my size 3 frame. I remember watching my mother twist and yank and pull her way into one every time she got dressed and then use the Jaws of Life to get out of it at days end. But we looked good and really, isn’t that the main thing?


Girdle


(I mean, what woman wouldn’t be comfortable in THIS?)

But swishing was a side-effect if your thighs rubbed together. I’m sure I’d make big points with this memory. That’s okay. I’ve been on Sharon's list for years. Shortly after she gave birth to her first baby I walked into the hospital room, took one look at her stomach, and asked her when the baby was gonna be born. It went over well. Who knew your stomach still looked eight months pregnant one day after delivery? I thought everything just immediately snapped back into place. My youngest baby is 14. I’m still waiting for the snap back. Sharon would be thrilled.

9. Tell us about your FIRST roommate.

I was going to say my sister but now I’m remembering it was my brother. They put my crib in his room. He was six. He had cowboys and indians on his wallpaper with a dark green background. I would look at him through the slats in my crib. My mom used to iron in there. Don’t ask me why or why this is in any way relevant. Relevancy is overrated.

He and my uncle, who was ten years older than me, decided one day to shoot up the wallpaper with their water guns – filled with lemonade. It didn’t go over that well.

Someone in the family used to wind up a clown that played Brahm’s Lullaby while it turned around in circles. It sat on a table by my crib and the winding and playing were a nightly ritual. I HATED that thing but was without speech to protest. I just had to lay there and watch through the slats. I detest clowns to this day. So, maybe my brother and the clown were my first roommates. This could explain a lot.


CLOWN


10. If you had one wish, what would it be (other than more wishes)?

That all clowns would have to wear girdles. Over their faces.

11. What is something you would learn if you had the chance?

How to find a good agent for my excellent book. And then I would learn how to write an excellent book.

12. Did you marry the FIRST person you were in love with?

Well, any long term readers of this blog will remember the answer to this from my post False Teeth and Pastors. I was tragically dumped at age four by Ronnie Miller who threw me over, withOUT notice, for some chick named Sharon (a different Sharon than the one referenced above). He married her after pledging his troth to me. Maybe I misunderstood and it was his trough he was pledging. But if so, I didn’t get that either.

13. What were the first lessons you ever took and why?

Guitar. So I could play and sing. I still do it all these years later. Any interest in hearing a redneck recording I did with Bo a few weeks back? It’s not professional by ANY means and was done in the study instead of a studio. But maybe I can figure out how to post it here. You can let me know if the money for the guitar lessons was wasted and should have been spent on a voice coach instead.

14. What is the first thing you do when you get home?

Lock the door. I have safety issues. You never know when some clown might try to get in.

Copyright 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Don't Be Scared......

Yesterday's title of "Meme" may have scared you off. Some people don't like them. But hey, it's me. You KNOW I never do anything the normal way. It's really just me turning a meme into me. Well, maybe you should be scared!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Meme Me - Part 1

Before I start, I’m gonna give you the definition of a Meme. I’m probably the only person in the known universe who thinks someone might need this. But the thing is, I read about them for three months before I had any stinkin’ idea what they were. Here’s what one dictionary says:

“An idea that is spread from blog to blog.”

So simple – why didn’t somebody say so? I don’t usually join memes and it’s not because I don’t think they’re fun. It probably has far more to do with the fact that I have a hard enough time shutting myself up about my own ideas. My list is already over 100 topics long and growing. Now, I have to fit in other things, too?

HOWEVER, I do not want the report card that says, “Does not play well with others.” I already have a binder full stating, “Does not work to potential. Does not complete homework. Needs to try harder and pay attention. Should attempt to close mouth and look intelligent. Should stop sleeping on desk. Should stop being hypnotized by dust motes floating through the air. Should not bawl every time the teacher asks her a question she doesn't know the answer to.”

But I always got a “Satisfactory” in Citizenship. Therefore, in honor of my Citizenship success, I will now participate in a Meme while simultaneously closing my gaping mouth.

My friend, Jientje, at Heaven Is In Belgium says, “I first saw this at Thom’s. He stole it from I don’t know who, and then Melli nicked it, too ( I think) and now it’s here …
Would that make me a thief, do you think?

If so, Jientje, move over. I’m sharing your cell. But you’ll like me. I play well with others.

1. Who was your FIRST date?

Well, THAT would be some nero jacket, peace-sign-necklace-wearing poindexter my mother set me up with so she could have a quiet evening with a date. He was her date’s nephew. I was 12. She sent me with my sister and her boyfriend. We went to the walk-in theater (yeah, that’s what we called them in the olden days all you younguns) and we saw the Beatles, “Yellow Submarine.” Sorry, Beatles fans, but that STILL reigns as one of the stupidest movies of all time. He tried to hold my hand. MAJOR cootie factor. I still haven’t recovered. I’ll be right back. I have to go wash my hand.

2. Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

Uh, negatory on that one. I’m not even sure he still treads the earth. I was 12, again. I dated him in our church youth group. He was 17 and had no idea I was 12 - I'm sure I looked at least 13. (The older girls weren't happy with this young interloper, they filled him in, and he dropped me like the proverbial searing spud). But he had ZERO cootie factor. I had a huge crush for two years though I ceased to exist for him. He was desperately handsome and moved to Hollywood to become a star. Very sadly, rumor had it that he became a heroine addict instead. I saw him once in a convenience store when I was 17. He looked the part of the rumors. I pray he recovered but I have no idea. His last name was Banks and I do remain acutely aware that, had things gone very differently and I had ended up married to him, my name would have been Robynn Banks. I’ll give you a minute. There ya go.

3. What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

Well, this would fall into the “Series of Desperately Unfortunate Events” category. I was still 12. 12 was a big year. Actually, every year was a big year in our house. If there’s ever a Meme about the most uneventful year of your life, I won’t be able to write anything.

I was babysitting for Gail and Chuck. My mother worked with Gail. She and her husband had a little baby girl, Susie, who was nine-months-old and had life-threatening asthma. Very scary stuff. I called home frequently, terrified, as she coughed and threw up and struggled to breathe. They were complete idiots. They often left her with me so they could enjoy the high-life, as it were. But they made sure there was plenty of Fresca and an ample supply of reading material in the form of porn magazines so I guess they figured I was all fixed up. (Yeah, BELIEVE me, I'm still in shock as I ponder this from my perspective as a mother - uh, maybe just even as a thinking human being, or as ANY human being, or maybe even as a bean.)

The high-life doesn’t get any higher than New Year’s Eve and I was the chosen babysitter. When they pulled into the driveway and slopped into the house, dutifully liquored up to welcome in the budding year, they thought the babysitter should celebrate with them.

They mixed vodka and orange juice – a combination I will never drink again as long as I live – and shared the joy with me. I have no idea how many of those I drank. I do remember missing the step-up into the kitchen, from the family room, and falling face-first onto the linoleum. I never put my hands out to break the fall. I didn’t feel a thing. I tried to go to bed – I was spending the night – but the room wouldn’t stop spinning. I felt like a blood sample in a centrifuge. It wasn’t long before I spent what was left of the night kneeling in the bathroom at the porcelain throne and thinking I was probably going to die. I’m not sure I was far off. I’m quite sure all 115 lbs. of me had alcohol poisoning. We all told my mother I had the stomach flu the next day. I knew I’d be killed. Their involvement never crossed my mind until many years later when I grew a brain and became an adult. If I’m completely anal about who my children babysit for, what those people have in their home, and what their character is, you’ll forgive me.

4. What was your FIRST job?

Hey, I was 11! We move off of 12. I babysat for a family down the street. They had three kids – a baby and a four and six year old girl and boy – Tina and Lance. How in the WORLD I can remember their names I have no idea. Don’t ask me what I ate for lunch two days ago. That’s completely gone. I also did their ironing and they paid me by the piece. Lance was determined I was NOT the “boss of him” and he was right. It was still a good gig and paid well. They were just regular folks trying to have a life. I must admit I question their judgment a tad. I was ELEVEN. I wouldn’t have left my kids with an eleven year old when they were that little if I had to go pick up my LOTTERY winnings.

5. What was your FIRST car?

Well, it’s what I learned to street race in and what the guy I married at 16 drove – we divorced by the time I was 19 when he left me for the secretary at work (thank you, LORD). So, I guess it counts as mine though I certainly wasn’t ever listed as the owner. He introduced me to drag racing, street racing, funny cars, stock cars, and modified engines of all types. I hung out at “Eddie’s Speed Shop” and lived with engines on stands in the living room. The positive side was I learned a LOT about cars and and what makes ‘em tick. The down side was my continuing education in violent men. And he met a violent death last year on a motorcycle. I was sad for those who mourned his loss but I wasn’t surprised when I got the phone call.

camaro

6. Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?

To San Diego, when I was 13. My sister had taken her own life a few months before and my paternal grandmother, who hadn’t been much involved, now looked toward me with a sympathetic eye. I think a couple of younger cousins may have come as well. My grandmother had a knack for connecting with rich people though no one in our family had two nickels to rub together. How she knew them and who they were is gone to me forever but they lived in a mansion on a cliff over looking the ocean. They didn’t have a yard, they had grounds. They had a pool house/cabana. I was bowled over. I was happy. I was cocky. I told the guy looking through my bags at the airport that I had a bomb in there. He told me I could go to jail for saying things like that even though I told him I was just kidding. This was years and YEARS ago. I never forgot and learned, at least in some instances, to keep my big mouth closed. Had I only applied that to every area of my life I would have stayed out of a lot of trouble – and I would have also failed to fight for underdogs, defy bullies, and right some grievous injustices. Our weaknesses are our strengths, out of balance.

Okay, there’s more to this Meme. But each question has a story and I’m nothing if not WINDY so this is growing TOO LONG. I’ll finish it in the next few days.

If that means you'll wait a week to come back, I'll understand.



Copyright 2009

Look below for a blog hopping event on Encouragement! It starts in a matter of hours. Join us!

Encouragement Blog Hop

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

~This version is credited to Mother Teresa

I frequently get wrapped up trying to please everyone. It even happens in blogging. I wonder, “Is this too much? Not enough? Funny when I should be serious? Deep when I should be light?”

Our dreams and visions will never match another’s exactly. Some will come along to encourage the good work they see in you, but others are dissatisfied and will try to make you into their image. I try to remember, I am made in the image of God. If I am willing to let HIM mold me, shape me, and if necessary, remake me, then there’s nothing left but to move forward in joy!

Copyright 2009



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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Morning Repose

This morning I am resting, recuperating, and reading. It's been a long week of thinking I'm nearly well only to find myself, once more, sliding down the hill I'd just ascended. Most of us have experienced that a time or two, or twenty. Yesterday I thought I was ready to conquer the world only to be tackled to the ground and soundly thrashed. So, for medicine far better than any a doctor could prescribe, I've chosen to be in the company of one of my favorite authors, George MacDonald. If you're not familiar with his writings I most highly recommend him to you. You cannot leave him without a fragrance of beauty in your life and a wooing that compels you to unveil and utilize the better part of your being. Here's a tiny gem........



"Better to sit at the waters' birth,
Than a sea of waves to win,
To live in the love that floweth forth,
Than the love that cometh in.

Be thy heart a well of love, my child,
Flowing, and free, and sure,
For a cistern of love, though undefiled,
Keeps not the spirit pure."


From "Phantastes" ~ George MacDonald (1824-1905)

"I have never concealed the fact that I regarded George MacDonald as my master; indeed, I fancy I have never written a book in which I did not quote from him." ~C.S. Lewis

Blessings to you on this Sunday.