Friday, January 27, 2012

Got any good recipes?

I got a crock pot for Christmas. Nothing fancy, but it's what I wanted. I've never had one before but was intrigued. Now I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to leave it on during the day if I'm not home AND I'm having a hard time finding 4-8 consecutive hours that I am home (except at night when I'm sleeping). I've done the hard part - I rearranged my cupboards to find a nice home for it, washed it out, and now it's there just waiting for me to use it.

My family aren't fancy eaters. We like chicken, we like beef, we like pork, we like potatoes, we like veggies, we like gravy. My hubby isn't big on soups - he says 'Soup is something you eat with a meal, it's not supposed to be the meal.' My daughter and I, though, would quickly disagree.

Does anyone have any good recipes to send my way? Something simple, limited ingredients, something I could try preparing on a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon after church? I seriously don't want my new crock pot to end up like my exercise videos in the cabinets ... bought with the best of intentions, but never to be heard from or seen again.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is it wrong to want to be a winner?

Here's a question for you? Is it wrong to want to be a winner? I know I have a competitive side ... I yell at high school football games (ok, maybe it's more like screaming), I want to win when I play cards, and trust me - you may not want to play miniature golf with me or shoot baskets at Dave & Busters (right Tim?). But sometimes, at least for me, winning isn't about beating someone else and being number one, it's more about wanting to be the best I can be at that given moment. Some would say it's a grey area, but I don't think so.

I recently entered an essay contest for Ford Warriors in Pink. The prize for the winners is pretty cool, I'll admit, but for me the prizes isn't what caught my attention. The contest is for breast cancer survivors. What caught my interest was the opportunity to share my story and hopefully provide hope to even one person. If I could do that I'd be thrilled.  Am I still hoping to be chosen as one of the winners? You bet I am, I'm only human, but what I'm really hoping for is the opportunity to talk to people and provide encouragement. Wish me luck, The deadline has passed and now it's just waiting for the announcement of the winners.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Are you the windshield or the bug?

Do you feel overwhelmed today? If you do, you're probably not alone. There's a lot in the world that can cause stress. Perhaps you're not feeling well. Perhaps you're still searching for a new job. Perhaps you're dealing with an unresolved conflict. Perhaps you've been working feverishly on a new project and it just hasn't taken hold yet the way that you'd hoped. And if you're like me your 'magic wand' is probably rusty and out of commission.

I read a blog entry this morning that said 'Some Days The Dragon Wins'. How true is that? I remember a song by Mary Chapin-Carpenter that had a line 'some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug!' Very similar thought process don't you think? Not every day is going to be perfect and not every day is going to get the results that we want, but that's just 'one' day. Tomorrow is a new day. Wake up tomorrow morning, start fresh, clear your head and think positive. As long as you keep marching forward you can defeat the dragons! Hang in there ... I'm rooting for you.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Are you a sponge?

It's been a few days since my last blog posting. Does that mean I've had nothing to write about? Actually, it's just the opposite. It's been a busy week, but then most of them are (for just about everyone). I've been busy at work, busy at home, busy as a parent, etc., etc. I'm not sure what I would do if I had to sit still. I had a broken ankle last year that kept me from driving for 5+ weeks, but my awesome husband drove me to and from work each day, and to the grocery store so I could drive a motorized cart and do my shopping. For some of us, slowing down can be quite difficult.

This past week involved a full work schedule, a new Bible study, my daughter's high school orchestra concert AND an orchestra festival, car repairs, grocery shopping, card night with friends, and even an evening out with the girls to play Bunco at church (that was something new and fun!). Not sure what it is about having a blank space on my calendar that makes me feel the urge to fill it ... quickly ... lol. Maybe I should seek therapy for that.. schedul-'itis' ... calendar-'osis'. Something to think about.

This week has been much of the same ... work ... Bible study homework ... car pool night for my daughter's symphony rehearsal ... my mom's birthday lunch ... a hair 're'-cut (that's a different story all together) ... getting our daughter packed for a winter youth retreat weekend ... oh and did I mention my daughter has had high school midterm exams all week?

With all the 'normal' stuff that goes on in my daily life be assured that I have been making numerous mental notes and observations for future blog entries. I love being around people and just watching. I'm like a sponge that just wants to soak everything in.

Question: What does your normal week look like? Do you make time for yourself? If you had 24 hours (or even 3 hours) to do anything you wanted 'what would it be?'

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What are your responsibilites?

What are your responsibilities? Are you a spouse? A son or daughter? A parent? An employee? A Christian? A survivor? Depending on the question, your answer will probably be different.

As a parent you have the responsibility to feed, cloth and provide shelter for your children. You should love, protect, and encourage them.

If you’re blessed in today’s society to be employed then you have the responsibility of giving your job 100%, showing up on time, having a positive attitude and being productive.

If you’re a Christian you should be living in the Word and sharing your faith through your voice and your actions.

And if you’re a survivor, you should be celebrating! You may be a survivor of an addiction, of an abusive relationship, or a deadly disease. Like anyone you have a right to share your triumphs and your roadblocks, but as a survivor you have a responsibility to share your hope. Not everyone is blessed with a support system when going through something tough. Whatever your situation has been, whatever obstacle you’ve been fortunate enough to overcome I would ask that you share your inner strength with someone who needs it. They could be a family member, someone at your school or church, the cashier at the grocery store, or the neighbor down the street you never stop to talk to but only wave at when driving by. Everyone needs someone. I urge you to be there for just one person today. Then start again fresh tomorrow. Let’s make 2012 an awesome year.

Monday, January 9, 2012

How are you doing on your list?

There is a blog written by Jon Acuff that I follow occasionally. He has some good insights and puts a new and younger perspective on things that sometimes make me stop and think. He will take a topic and (in my mind) simplify it. I suppose there are times when we are each our own worst enemy and tend to get in our own way by complicating things. I can admit that I sometimes have a tendency to think too long and too hard and about too much – maybe that comes from age or experience, I don’t know. I wonder who came up with the bright idea that complicating things made them better or made them happen quicker and without stress. If I ever meet that person I might have to tell them what I actually think of their approach … of course first I’d have to think about it long and hard … lol.

We are now moving into our 2nd week of the new year. For some that means they are right on track with their resolutions. Others may still be thinking about what to actually write on their list. Still, others could be thinking ‘Are you serious, I’m still trying to get a handle on last year’s goals.’ Whichever scenario describes you best, you are probably not alone.

Jon Acuff has written a lot recently about his New Year’s list; what’s on his list of goals, how he plans to make them more attainable, about writing down the list and putting it somewhere so that you’ll have to notice it day in and day out, and about sharing your list with others in hopes of making yourself accountable and gaining support along the way. There is a lot of wisdom in his approach. On his blog site he asked people to actually write down their ‘list’ for 2012, take a picture of it and post it to his site. In this way it accomplishes a couple of things … #1 it puts your list out there for people to see and #2 it gives you the opportunity to gain support from others. Ironic … last week the Lay Preacher at my church talked about his goals for 2012 during his sermon. He said something interesting. He said that if you never share your resolutions and goals with anyone then when you don’t succeed or hit a rough patch, no one will know and you won’t feel as bad (because you didn’t let anyone else down). He said he was sharing his goals so that he would have more accountability. He had an excellent point.

I’m willing to give it a whirl in hopes of making myself more accountable and at the same time gain some feedback and support. So here goes nothing …

#1 – I plan to walk in a 5K breast cancer fundraising walk in May. I walked in the Michigan Susan G. Komen 3Day in 2010 and have participated in numerous Relay for Life events. As a cancer survivor, I feel that I have a responsibility to continue to celebrate life, raise awareness and fundraise for a better future for my daughter, my nieces, friends and strangers alike.

#2 – I plan to continue tweaking my blog. Writing is one of my passions and it brings me joy. I want to make it more user-friendly and find ways to obtain better reader feedback so we can all be supportive and share valuable insights with one another.

#3 – I plan to take at least one Bible study this year. Working at a church like I do, it’s not always easy for me to sign up for studies or attend events – strange as it may sound, it can make for a longer day (but I’m already on my way with this one. I signed up for a 6-week study that begins later this week.)

Now it’s your turn … share with me some of things on your list! It’s my turn to be there to support you.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Do you have the Post-Christmas blues?

Are you still feeling the excitement and adrenaline rush from the Christmas holiday? Or are you feeling out of sorts this week? If you're feeling a little sad or a bit let down right now - know that you are not alone. I've heard from several people that they're having a hard time with things. If you had to go back to work this week after enjoying some leisurely time off you probably didn't spring right out of bed when the alarm clock went off. If you've just gone back to school it might take you a day or two to get back into the routine of doing homework and meeting deadlines. It's no wonder that some of us feel this way, especially after all of the preparation and time that went into getting ready for and experiencing the holidays. We shopped, we wrapped, we baked, we cooked, we hosted gatherings, and we socialized ALOT with friends and family. Then the Christmas tree, with all it's lights and glimmer, got taken down and things got packed away. I, for one, love every part about Christmas - but there's a part of me that also likes order and getting things back to normal (especially when I get my end table and lamp back). Sounds petty, I know, but I'm being honest.

Now we just need to focus on moving forward. I like making New Year's resolutions and setting some goals for myself, but more important than that I feel a sense of excitement after the holidays. This week I feel very positive about so many things. My outlook is bright, my attitude is positive, and I'm excited about potential upcoming projects. I'm starting a new Bible study next week ... I'm excited about that. I'm going to be tweeking the layout of my blog ... I'm excited about that. I'm thinking of walking in a breast cancer 5K in May ... I'm excited about that. I have a new pair of shoes ... my feet are REALLY happy about that. And I have 'date night' with my husband tonight ... I'm excited about that.

What excites you right now? Do you have some ideas in mind of things you want to do?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Kicking Off 2012!

It's the beginning of a new year. There's a lot of talk about resolutions, changes we have good intentions of making, big hopes and even some dreams. Many of us will succeed at some and others we'll fall a little short. But that's the reality of it. So I'm curious ... did YOU make any resolutions for this year? I know one person who said they want to be smoke free in 2012, another wants to lose weight and get healthy, and another just wants to be happy. My resolutions and goals for 2012 are to be healthy, to have a positive attitude and to grow in my abilities.

It's January 3rd and I already feel like I'm off to a good start. Today I went back to work after being off for 11 days. All in all it was a REALLY busy day, but at the same time - very productive. The first day back is always the longest whether you've been off for 2 days or 10. I came home tonight feeling a little tired, but at the same time I felt energized. I feel like this is my year to make a difference. For the last week I've had some ideas churning around in the back of mind - things I want to accomplish this year to make a difference for myself, as well as others around me.

Whether we can share our goals openly with others or we're more comfortable keeping them to ourselves until we have just a bit more confidence, it's important that we stay positive and supportive with those around us. I don't know if the person standing next to me in line at the grocery store is thinking about whether or not to take on a challenge - a friendly conversation or a positive word could be very supportive. Today someone approached me at work and asked if they could try to write an article for an upcoming newsletter. I had asked them to contribute in the past, but they weren't ready and it was clearly out of their comfort zone. I could not be happier for this person. They lost someone very dear to them in 2011. They said they'd been thinking a lot about it and felt they really have something positive to share. They asked if I would help them. This is just one reason why I think 2012 is going to be a GREAT year for so many people.

We have unlimited choices and opportunities. I, for one, can't wait to make the most of them. What about you?