Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I needed a smile...

And you're being forced to join in. Power. Control. Mwahahaha... Ehem... I really, really need a smile. Thank you FB! This simply makes me feel better.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Prayer life...

This has made an appearance because I've been working on mine, and I have a few friends who want to improve theirs.

Starting from ground zero: No prayer life. Actually, I don't really know what that's like. I have carried on conversations with God all my life. That being said, there have been times of low communication, and it wasn't when I was angry with God. The most likely time for me not to pray is when I don't feel like I have the right to approach the throne of God. Handy little tool of the adversary's that.

Prayer was difficult after I lost my horse, and again after I lost my dog. They were with God, and I couldn't be there. I didn't now how to pray without weeping, so prayer became very surface. "Just checkin' in God. I'm still here, and I still don't want to talk about it, because I'll cry."

God will wait.

Once I felt like I was ready to start praying more formally, I found myself without a thought in my head. Really. I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to pray for myself, because I knew what I'd ask wasn't possible.

Probably a good place to mention that I prayed all my life to find someone with whom I could share my life, have a family. It didn't happen. All the promises about God answering prayers (yes, I realize that God sometimes says, no) including the ones about if you're praying for something good, then He will give it to you, in His time. It's all I'd prayed for sometimes. I hadn't figured out my deeper dream, yet.

So what do you do? I could do gratitude prayers. Even after the loss of my furry children, I was thankful for friends and work. But that's a benefactor, not a relationship. I knew I needed more. What was the next step?

I tried praying for me again, and found those old questions filtering through. When am I going to marry? Having children is becoming less and less likely. I'm seriously messed up. I don't want to enter a marriage this messed up, because the type of person I attract scares me silly.

Stepped back. Went back to gratitude prayers, but was quickly back to needing more.

I was blessed with new friends. They asked me to pray for them. I could do that. They asked me to pray for their friends and family. I could do that. They asked me to pray for people on their prayer list. I could do that. It only took a moment. There was no excuse not to take that moment to offer a prayer for them.

I still couldn't pray for me. My life was such a mess. I was working to straighten it out, but I didn't even know where to start. Counseling helped me sort, and I could pray to ask for help with the homework assignments given by my counseling.

Then August 2010, I was encouraged to try a 40 days and nights challenge. There were several things on the list, but I chose to focus on praying on my knees, every day. Every 40 days, I start over. I have it on my calendar, which sends me a reminder. Every day I go in and change which day it is, so I receive a new reminder the next day. I don't delete the reminder until I've said my prayers. At first, they were quick prayers, right before I went to bed, because I'd forgotten all day long. But gradually, it's lengthened, so has my prayer list. I actually remember to pray first thing in the morning, sometimes.

This last year, I knew I needed to pray for me. That was when I started the exploration of what is it I truly want from God. Children are off the table; I'm too old. Marriage is unlikely; when would I have time? So what was it I wanted? After months of searching, I finally realized that what I wanted more than anything was to be a blessing. I have no trouble praying for help with that.

Now, all that being said, I have talked to God all my life. One of the things I loved about my horse was going out every morning to take care of him, and talking to God the whole time. Telling Him what my plans for the day were. Asking Him to bless my horse and my dog. Thanking Him for the beauty of the day and for my horse and my dog and and and and and... How did I form that habit? In high school, in one of my religion classes, there was a story about someone praying but not closing the prayer. So, I stopped closing the prayer, until the end of the day. I close my prayers now, but I have a running dialogue on the side.

God knows everything. I can't tell Him anything He doesn't already know. Prayer isn't about telling Him or informing Him. Prayer is about me doing what is within my power to develop and strengthen my relationship with Him. He will do His part. Every single time. He will never falter. I may not understand some of the things He lets slide and some of the things He doesn't, but He is perfect. I'm not. This is about me acknowledging that I'm not, and that I need His help. This is about me doing my part to make this relationship work. There is so much I cannot do. Prayer is such a simple, small, seemingly insignificant thing, and yet it is connecting to God who is all powerful, all knowing, and all loving.

When I refuse to pray, it saddens God, but it doesn't diminish Him in the least. It diminishes me, and locks me in a dark, silent room, with a door that only I am able to open. And all I have to do is say, "Our Father Who Art In Heaven..." and "God..." works, too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Carpe diem... No NASCAR...

Alas no NASCAR. Didn't want to let go, yet. Sigh. Okay, moving on.

What I plan to accomplish, today, keeping in mind that PLAN is a four-letter word:

~Bake cookies. I'm out. Tragedy!

Have I mentioned that I love the Funny Cat Photos widget? ;-D


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #79

~Matthew West's Strong Enough

~Friends with whom I am able to share my heart.

~Laughter that comes from deep inside, true and honest. It isn't the same as the laughter that is there for show.

~Amazing, delicious food.

~Beautiful days.

I think this is post #500. Wow. What a chatterbox. :-)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Heroes... Abuse Survivors...

Abuse survivors who choose to be chain breakers, to not pass the abuse along to another victim.

This post could/will be triggering for some readers, as it addresses issues of sexual abuse. Do I think someone's child could read it? With an adult. It won't contain much that hasn't been in the news recently. It would be a good opportunity to talk about boundaries and respect for self and others. If you haven't been abused yourself, you know someone who has been, even if you don't realize it. When I was growing up the statistics stated that 1 in 4 to 1 in 3 girls and boys do not make it out of their teen years without being sexually abused. I've heard more recent statistics that suggest that the number is greatly underestimated, because so much is unreported. For far too many, it is not a one-time event but repeated.

Many of the following thoughts have been hanging around in a rough draft for a long time, waiting until I felt ready to share them. It's ugly, and it's painful. There comes a time when you have to stop pretending like that elephant isn't in the living room. It's there, and I'm willing to talk about, even when it's uncomfortable.

Tell the truth, no matter how uncomfortable... was the original title of this post. I didn't want to use heroes; I don't see myself that way. I've fretted and waffled and squirmed, then decided to post on a day and a weekend that will see little traffic here. This is not pretty or fun. I debated with myself. I know some people will see me differently. I know that this will burn some bridges. How do I know I need to follow through, no matter how difficult? It lays on my heart like a weight. So, I pray God will be able to use what I write here to help someone step onto the path of healing or turn a stumbling block into a stepping stone.

Never underestimate the power of telling the truth. That being said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” – Barry Stevens, born Mildred Fox.

The trigger for me: What's been going on with Penn State started it. An expose on a different incident on the news. And then a place I enjoy visiting shared a picture for the picture itself, without taking into account the words on the picture. I could have simply stopped going, saying nothing. But I couldn't remain silent and stated that being a sexual abuse survivor, the implications made me cry. The picture was removed with an apology. There are plenty of things that don't appeal to me, and I have the right not to look. And have done so on numerous occasions, without a problem. Not this time. It triggered flashbacks. I was trembling, and crying, and felt crushed and betrayed. And it wasn't about them. It was me recognizing that I had established boundaries that were violated, however unwittingly, and I had to take hold of my courage with both hands and stand up for me without being nasty about it. I don't know how successful I was. I still feel out of sorts. I want to feel proud of myself for standing up for me, but I simply feel tired and sad about the whole thing.

I know, I've left out a lot of information. The details don't actually matter, because if it hadn't been this, it would have been something else. And to be honest, this post is more for me than anyone else. I needed to know how far I've come in my journey to healing.

What I learned from the experience: I have a line that I will not cross, not for any reason. And that line isn't where I thought it was. I now know the defining difference between my no-go areas as opposed to my prefer-not-to-go areas. I will not remain silent anymore. I am willing to be vulnerable, and making that choice strengthens me even as it scares me. Others may be embarrassed or uncomfortable with my decision to speak out, but I will not be ashamed anymore. I never should have been in the first place, but it's a difficult lie to overcome.

I read an article that questioned whether or not sexual abuse really was abuse. It is, but it isn’t about sex; it’s about power. Disgusting, despicable, evil. EVIL. The sex is used to humiliate and control. Something good and sacred is turned to filth and evil. It’s the final violation of all boundaries, because it is inflicted on the body and the mind and the spirit. It’s a brutal attack on trust. There is no excuse. These degenerate, depraved individuals need psychological help, and if they still aren’t able to grow a conscience, then they need to be put in jail in order to protect society from their perverted insanity.

Ritual abuse is real and is usually wrapped up in church rituals, to glean trust and respectability, though there are other forms of it as well. You only have to see the face of evil once to know how real it is. This is not spirituality; this is evil all dressed up in pretty clothes to make it more palatable. These liars go hand-in-hand with those who declare that sex between adults and children is perfectly normal and causes the children no harm, because it's all love. How Evil must laugh with glee for cloaking itself so cleverly.

Incest isn't only between parents and children. It's often between siblings, or close relatives. Family is supposed to be the relationship of trust on which we build all others. Someone who is trusted and loved violates their power and authority over someone who should be protected. Again, they will call it love, but an honest lover does not destroy the loved one. And that is what must be done for this behavior to continue. The victim must be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually crushed in order for the predator to maintain power and control. The predator will always blame the victim, and lie without compunction.

I saw a recent report about how victims are encouraged to call the police. I scoffed and shook my head at the ignorance regarding victims. Some will, but most will not. The victim is brutally taught that it is their fault, and that they are to blame.

The following quote was made in regards to a Washington scandal, but is an accurate statement regarding predators: Kirsten Powers wrote - "But even if I could see past the lying and extreme narcissism that is noteworthy even by Washington standards, there is the issue of his attitude toward women. What has emerged is a picture of a predator trolling the Internet for women—some half his age—with which to engage in cybersex.... This is not about sex. It’s about dominating and inflicting physical pain on a woman, a fantasy the hard-core porn industry makes billions of dollars on selling to men."

Talking with my dear friend, the other day, we both realized that the problem with calling it sexual abuse is that it isn't about sex. It's about power. Power to control, manipulate, and destroy another human being for the predator's own ends. They can rename it, disguise it, try to normalize it all they want, calling it love or affection or obsession or irresistible, but it's a lie all the same. It's the attempted murder of a soul. And sometimes it succeeds, when you consider how many abuse victims commit suicide, because they can't live with what happened.

Penn State certainly isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened, and it won't be the last. How does this evil continue to perpetuate? "It's a secret." It's shameful. It's horrific. It's someone else. It couldn't possibly be true. Excuse me? Why not? But go ahead and choose your excuse of the day. Maybe if we pretend it isn't there, it will go away. It won't.

The only way to end this evil is to drag it into the light, and not allow it to crawl back into the safety of darkness.

Sunlight is a great sanitizer, and the Son's Light is the perfect sanitizer.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday...

...or not.

To those out shopping till you drop, have fun!!

I'm staying home, to enjoy leftovers from yesterday's dinner. The day was fantastic. My friend and I went to dinner at Cracker Barrel, and had their Thanksgiving special. Yummy!! Then we chatted, for hours. Around dinner time, we had a slice of pumpkin pie, with whip cream. Yummy! We talked about everything and anything, with a bit of Christmas music playing in the background. By the time I headed home, our throats were sore, and we could have talked for several more hours. A very blessed day.

Once I returned home, I hopped onto the internet to see what catching up I needed to do, and found the following picture in my Funny Cat Photos widget, and thought of more wonderful friends who helped to make this holiday one of gratitude for the rich blessings in my life, of which my friends are among the dearest.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Week Twenty-Two of REAL...

The 18th: weigh in: 237.2 lb. Likin' this. One SEAL puppy rep.

The 19th: weigh in: 237.4 lb. One SEAL puppy rep. One-mile walk.

The 20th: weigh in: 238.8 lb. Wait a minute... Actually, I know what happened. Stress. Nasty critter.

The 21st: weigh in: 236.8 lb. More stress, but of a very different variety. The Sprint Cup Chase was the best EVER, nail biting all the way to the end. Who could eat? One-SEAL puppy rep.

The 22nd: weigh in 237.2 lb. I'm liking the changing in sleeping. It's actually reduced some stress.

The 23rd: weigh in: 237 lb. Two SEAL puppy reps. The new schedule is a bit strange, but it seems to be working for me. We'll see how I do over the holidays. So far, so good.

The 24th: weigh in: 236.6 lb. Waist circumference: 40". Wow. So, this is what happens when you finally decide to follow you're heart's work. Cool. :-)

Happy Thanksgiving! May you be blessed with peace and joy and friendship and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. May God bless our troops and their families, for they are the ones that have too often made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and liberty.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

Since tomorrow is REAL, I'm starting Thanksgiving a day early. Every Sunday, I have my list of the things for which I'm grateful.

This Thanksgiving will be unlike any I've ever known. I'm sharing it with a friend. I'm looking forward to lots of chatting and laughing. I don't care what we eat. I'm going to be allowed to be myself wholly and completely. That is truly something for which to be grateful.

Sometimes, when God closes a door, He opens a window. And sometimes He closes a window and opens double doors. But those double doors may look incredibly scary. That being said, the doors are wide enough for me to put my hand in God's and walk through with Him.

This was taken 15-20 years ago, and about 70-80 lb lighter. (Never noticed before that it's the weight of my dog.) My baby has been gone from this life for five years, and I still miss her desperately. I am so grateful God gave her to me for seventeen incredible years. I would never have made it through some of the insanity I did without her. Who would take care of her, if anything happened to me? She was my angel from God, my living reminder that He loves me and is aware of me. Thanks, God, for blessing me with such a precious angel child. They say that dogs and their owners look alike. I always wished I was as pretty as she was. She taught me to be enthusiastic about the little things, patient in the everyday annoyances, and love no matter what with all that you are. She also taught me to be aware that though some people look friendly, they aren't and to stay away. It just took me a little longer to figure that one out. In my prayers, from time to time, I ask God to throw a ball for her, or hide a treat, or give her a cuddle because He can do what I can't.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Too cute not to share...

...and today's the perfect day for it. I think I saw it on FaceBook.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Carpe diem... NASCAR...

NASCAR ~ Nationwide ~ For the record, Ricky Stenhouse Jr won the championship. In Saturday's race, Carl came in 3rd. Sprint Cup ~ Homestead ~ Last race of the season ~ Carl had the pole to start. In-car camera with Carl! Whoohoo! Tony Stewart won the race and the championship. Congratulations! And Carl came in second in the race and the championship. Well done!! Looking forward next Season, starting in February.

What will I accomplish, today? Hard to say. Family is visiting for the week, so the schedule has been turned topsy-turvy. I will read and work on some projects.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #78

~Amazing Grace by Andre Rieu

~Faith to follow Jesus, no matter what.

~Incredible, supportive friends.

~Jimmy Thomas calender and more yummy pictures made it through the USPS unspoiled.

~Unexpected possibilities.

I have no idea where this picture came from. It showed up in one of my widgets, and I thought it breathtaking; still do, every time I see it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Heroes... Diane Gaston...

Diane writes romance novels, amazing Regency romance novels. Here's her website: Why I chose her this week, as opposed to some other week (she was going to end up here sooner or later) is because of her blog post.

I've known Diane for a few years now. My friend Mary, sent me one of Diane's books, The Mysterious Miss M, a Regency romance. It resonated with me. I then bought every book by Diane I could find. She is on my Must-Buy list. Diane is the first author I ever wrote, April 16, 2006. I wouldn't have done it, except that Mary assured me that authors loved to hear from readers. I didn't think she'd have time to bother with me. She answered, and we've kept in touch ever since.

Because of my experience with Diane, I've written several other authors. Most have written back. A few have not. I've met some amazing, generous, heartwarming women. Actually, I haven't actually met most of them. I have met a few, and I like them in person, too, though in person I feel a bit like a fan girl, and it feels really awkward. Not their fault, but mine. I'm learning to be more self-confident. Huge difference.

My favorite writers have characteristics in common, like honor, courage, hope, and love. They believe in good winning over evil, that it's important to keep trying, and that happily ever after is possible.

So, drop your favorite author an email, and let them know you appreciate them. Writers write for themselves, but if they didn't want to share their stories, they wouldn't bother with publishing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Well, pickles...

Those who have been reading this blog, for a long time, may recall my battle to change certain words in my vocabulary. In fact, I knew I couldn't find the references so I added the "Search This Blog" gadget, and it works. Yep. There are the references to me wanting to change swear words to "pickles."

Update: It didn't work. Shoot.

That being said, I think I've finally found a word that works. BAH!

Consider: Dam is a closed word. Say it. Feel how your mouth works. Then say BAH! Nice an open. It occurred to me that when I'm swearing it's because I want to let something out, stress, tension, frustration, anger, fear. I want it out. So why am I choosing a word that keeps it all in? I've been using BAH! for a while now. I still slip into the old habits from time to time, usually when I'm trying to keep things in, i.e., not explode all over someone. For those who have seen it, yes, I'm exercising control. I know, hard to believe. But true, nonetheless.

In case you haven't figured out by now, I'm really into words. The English language is the most amazing language on the planet. It incorporates words from other languages without apology. It's diverse, rich, and difficult. Nothing worth having is easy.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. ~ Mark Twain

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Week Twenty-One of REAL...

The 11th: weigh in: 239 lb. Overslept. Missed my nap. Noticed.

The 12th: weigh in: 239.2 lb. One SEAL puppy rep. Walk two and a half miles. One SEAL puppy rep.

The 13th: weigh in: 239.8 lb. Overslept, again. All the rain is great, though it has triggered my allergies. Not complaining. Needing to recognize that it wears me out. It's that not being able to breathe thing.

The 14th: weigh in: 239 lb. Hmmm.... Two SEAL puppy reps.

The 15th: weigh in 238.2 lb. Ooooo I'm liking this.

The 16th: weigh in: 237.2 lb. Whoohoo!! One SEAL puppy rep. One-mile walk. One SEAL puppy rep. The change in my schedule seems to be working for me. YAY!

The 17th: weigh in: 238 lb. Waist circumference: 40". Well, will you look at that. Despite the bad day for REAL, that's pretty good. I like the consistency, especially since it includes a downward trend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A bad day for REAL...

How do you know it's a bad day for the REAL program?

~You're proud of yourself for rolling out of bed, in the morning.
~You're proud of yourself for eating only half a loaf of bread, instead of the entire loaf.
~You're proud of yourself for eating only six cookies, instead of the whole bag.
~You're proud of yourself for actually having breaks between meals, instead of one meal, all day long.
~You're proud of yourself for remembering that you really do need to exercise, starting tomorrow.
~You're proud of yourself for changing out of pajamas, before it was time to go back to bed.
~You're proud of yourself for remembering you have a REAL program.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas shopping ideas...

Saw this at FaceBook and wanted to be able to find it again easily to help me remember and plan. I looked for an original elsewhere but didn't find anything:

This is GREAT "people power" advice as shared by Doris Bowen....great thoughts for Holiday gift giving...really something to think about....

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre? Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

I've also recently become acquainted with someone who works with Charity Hill, and she suggested keeping gift cards to local grocery stores with you to give away to people who seem to need it.

Confession: I watched the red carpet show for Twilight, last night. Yep. I did. It was fun. And yes, I waited to the bottom of the post to mention it. :-) Team Jacob!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Carpe diem... NASCAR one to go...

NASCAR is in Phoenix, this past weekend. Nationwide ~ Carl came in third. Well done! The track has been redone since the last race there, so it was a good opportunity to acquaint himself with it before the Sprint Cup race. Go Carl!!! Spring Cup ~ WHOOHOO!!! In-car camera!! Carl came in second! Well done!! And he's still #1 in the Chase! WHOOHOO!!!!

Plans for the day:

This always makes me smile:

No laundry; saved for another day. Doesn't that sound so much better than procrastinated for another day?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #77

~Matthew West's My Own Little World

~In keeping with this weekend: The military and their families.

~More rain! I think Texas still needs rain, as well as the South. Peanuts are important, especially if you love peanut butter.

~Yummy bread. I really do love this bread recipe. It makes me wonder why I bothered buying bread all those years.

~I've started my TBR Christmas books. They're Christmas-themed books that I re-read every year. This week I finished Tara Taylor Quinn's The Promise of Christmas. It may be a trigger for some survivors, but I've found it inspiring.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Heroes... Veterans...

As I read about Andrew's recovery, I am inspired and impressed. I also know that he is one of many. I feel blessed to know him, if only second hand, so to speak. He and his family, from what I've read, are symbolic of the warrior spirit, and those who choose that path. I may be coming to it late in life, but I hope to learn from these awesome examples of courage and perseverance and strength against all odds.

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America” for an amount of “up to and including my life.” ~Anonymous

I'm Proud To Be An American ~ American Soldier Tribute

Freedom isn't free. No freedom is free. God may give it freely, but then we are charged with nurturing and protecting it, for the adversary is bent on destroying it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day....

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you:
Jesus Christ and the American G.I.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

WallBuilders History of Veteran's Day and link to ways to thank a veteran.

We Are One: Time to Remember

Found on FaceBook by Jennifer Hartley:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Week Twenty of REAL...

The 4th: weigh in: 241.4 lb. Bad dreams, but not unexpected. Comfort food: My yummy homemade bread.

The 5th: weigh in: 241 lb. Wait... What? Did you see what I ate yesterday? One-mile walk.

The 6th: weigh in: 241.6 lb.

The 7th: weigh in: 241.6 lb. One SEAL puppy rep. No walk. It was raining, which was wonderful, but no walk. With the change in DST, I'm having to shift my schedule a bit. I did take a half-hour nap. I like doing that. There is something about calming myself, body and mind, in the middle of the day.

The 8th: weigh in 241 lb. How did that happen? I don't know, and I'm not complaining, only curious, so I can keep doing it.

The 9th: weigh in: 241.6 lb. I ate badly, yesterday, so I'm not surprised, though I'm pleased it isn't worse. Today, starting new. One SEAL puppy rep. One-mile walk. Two more SEAL puppy reps. Physical therapy, without weights.

The 10th: weigh in: 239.8 lb. Waist circumference: 40". Well, will you look at that. The weight stayed pretty steady, and yet going down, a bit. I like that. Now, how do I continue that trend? I'm really liking the nap. It's taken a lot of stress off of the nighttime sleep. If I don't sleep well at night, it's okay because a nap is coming. It's also cooler for me sleeping in the middle of the day, than when I go to bed at night. I sleep better if I'm cooler. I like the new routine well enough to follow it for another week.

"Happy 236th birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps! Semper Fi!" God bless them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why can't I ignore it....

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"By their fruits ye shall know them."

On a previous post, it was suggested that I simply ignore what it going on in the world around me that I have no control over. It led me to asking myself, "why don't I ignore it?" I certainly did most of my life. And look where that landed me.

Okay, that was snarky.

So, why don't I ignore what's going on in the world around me? Especially when I have no power or influence regarding it.

Even if there is nothing within my capabilities to change or influence what is happening, this is an opportunity for me to do a gut check. WHAT do I believe? HOW do I feel about it?

In fact, this is a great time for me to explore negative feelings, because I'm not personally invested in it, except how it applies to me.

More than that, it's become an opportunity for me to take responsibility for the information I glean. There was a time when I allowed others to feed me all the information I took in. Their opinions. Their ideas. Their values. Their beliefs. They were people I trusted. What I didn't acknowledge was that I was handing over my rights to be a human being to someone else. I was allowing someone else to live my life for me, by allowing them to all but make my decisions for me. Making my decisions based on their information was not independent thinking or trusting God.

Then I started the truth campaign. It is a difficult, frustrating, terrifying road to choose. I came to realize that some of those trusted sources of information weren't trustworthy. I discovered that most of those sources of information held opinions, beliefs, and values that may have seemed like my own on the surface, but when I looked deeper were nothing at all like what I wanted to believe.

Choosing to search for the truth isn't an easy decision to follow. It requires an incredible amount of work. If I hear something from one source, I find myself searching for other sources. Is it true? Does it matter? I'm learning to turn those questions around. Does it matter? Is it true? If it matters, then I better make sure it's true. If it doesn't matter, then it doesn't matter if it's true or not. But I like to know, because it's astonishing how interrelated our world is.

And "I feel good about it" is not an acceptable answer on its own. I have to have done my homework, in every possible way, and truly studied out to the last possible piece of information available to me, before I'm allowed to claim I feel good about it. Granted, there is so much information available that one could become lost in it. Striking a balance between studying and procrastinating through study isn't easy. But too often I allowed myself to be easily swayed by what I thought I wanted to hear. That was the root of more problems than I care to recollect. I wanted the answer to be easy. Pray about it, and God will tell me. Wait. What? Where did I learn that?

James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to al men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

And here in lies the problem with picking and choosing. Whenever anything is done piecemeal, without tying it into a whole, you end up with slipshod work.

Ephesians 6:13: "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

Whoa! I know what's involved with putting on armor. It isn't a snap decision. It isn't a "I feel good about it" activity. One does not do it alone. It is not easy. And it cannot be rushed. And you had better have done the work required beforehand to accept what wearing that armor means. And I don't mean the end part, being in battle. Armor is heavy! You have to have the muscle strength and stamina to wear it.

When I ask myself questions I'm asking if I'm prepared. Where do I stand? What do I believe? Me. Not what was I told to believe. Not where was I told to stand. What is my decision? What is my choice? Because it is those decisions and choices that make me who I am.

For so many years I felt very one dimensional, a chameleon. I existed for whatever purpose I was told I existed for; never for myself. Then it stopped working for me. I started making some defining decisions. I no longer fit in the mold. And I was utterly lost. What saved me from the abyss? My knowledge that Jesus Christ is my Savior.

Am I suggesting that everything in my life is life or death? Pertinent to my Eternal Salvation? No. I do believe that my core beliefs are essential to my Eternal Salvation, and asking myself questions allows me to explore those core beliefs.

In the past, I've been trapped, repeatedly, by questions that seemed wholly unrelated to my beliefs, until the clever questioner snapped the trap shut and accused me of being a hypocrite. And to my horror, I would realize they were right, because I hadn't done my homework to find out what the questions really meant.

So, I step back, and question, and question, and question. I look around me today and see so many similarities to what was happening in Germany before the Holocaust. I don't believe saying, "I didn't know" - when all the evidence was there - is an acceptable answer. Closing my eyes and la-la-la-ing is not an acceptable answer. I pray things do not reach that impasse, but I cannot guarantee it will not. It wouldn't be the first time. I will not pretend such reprehensible behavior is a thing of the past. Evil exists. The only thing that keeps it at bay is people choosing and doing good.

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." ~Edmund Burke

I will not be a pawn because I was ignorant. I spent my whole life being used as a pawn, being used against one person and another, as others played their elaborate games. I will not be a pawn again. I will not plead ignorance. If I don't know, and it matters, I will do the work necessary to find the truth. Sticking my head in the sand is no longer an option. Allowing others to force feed me is not an option.

So, no; I won't ignore it, I may not be called upon to give an accounting of my beliefs, yet, but the time will come. I want to be able to answer boldly and with confidence what I believe and think and feel, not depending on anyone to prompt me or guide me, but God. The only way I will be able to fulfill that desire is to ask the hard questions now, study now, decide now.

God gave me a brain and a heart, not to be idle but to use. I will be held accountable, sooner or later, for my thoughts and actions. And I won't be able to lie. God, and only God, is able to look into my soul and see the truth there. Oddly enough, I find comfort in that assurance.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

God breeze...

Nikon Sniper made this post at his site Nikon Sniper: Mount St. Helens

Go read it. I'll still be here when you finish. And be sure to click on the picture! It goes full screen. Breathtaking.

A little background information. Nikon Sniper was touched by the downturn in the economy, like many of us. His job went away. He's been working toward finding what God wants him to do now.

Inspired from God for NS or me, I do not know, but with that knowledge in mind, this comment slipped out of my heart:

As I looked at this picture, I thought about how when you took this photo you had no way of knowing how your life was going to "blow up" in two years, and yet God gave you a peek into His ability to turn the most catastrophic events into awe-inspiring beauty, in His time. I need this reminder, too. My life "blew up" last January, and I've been fretting about the destruction and the lack of change, but God is creating something beautiful, if I will quiet my heart and allow it in His time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Carpe diem... NASCAR winding down...

NASCAR ~ Nationwide series, in Fort Worth, Texas. Carl led most of the laps (157/200) and came in third. Good to see Trevor Bayne win it. Well done, Trevor. Go Carl! Sprint Cup series, in Fort Worth, Texas. In-car camera with Carl. WHOOHOO!! Ooooo learned something new. If I click on Carl's camera, instead of the mosaic of four cameras, including the back stretch, I can listen to the radio communications of Carl's team, including Carl. Fun! And possibly I'm easily amused. ;-D Carl came in second!! Whoohoo!! And he is still #1 in the Chase!! WHOOHOO!!!!

Plan for the day:
~Adjust to the new time, and reschedule everything back an hour. *stupid daylight savings time*
~Bake cookies
~Prepare to sort papers on Tuesday


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #76

~Todd Agnew Grace Like Rain

~Fresh, hot bread, with butter and honey or butter and homemade peach jam or butter and homemade blackberry jam or butter or nothing at all but yummy bread....

~Rain! We've had some lovely rain. And I picked out the song for this week, a few weeks ago.

~The power of a good book, to enlighten, encourage, uplift.

~Love the cute cat pictures from places like funny cat photos and

Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Heroes... Vernon, New Jersey

Yes, I've chosen a city this week. It was a city crippled by corruption within the city's government. They decided to go back to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Is it perfect? No. But it's better, and they've rediscovered hope.

I look at what they've done and look at myself and what I've been trying to do. I recognized that what I'd embraced in my past was corrupt, and I needed to change. So, scrapped the old stuff, and started over, stripping down to the foundation, and re-examining everything that to be added to that foundation before going ahead with it.

No, I don't expect everyone to be inspired by Vernon. In fact, I suspect most people will not be, but that isn't the post of My Heroes. My heroes are the one's who inspire Me. I hope others will find their own heroes. You see, I spent most of my life without any heroes. There were people I admired, and people I wanted to be like, or thought I wanted to be like, and yet it didn't feel quite right. I hadn't realized the problem was that my life was based on lies, a lot of them. When I started the truth campaign I realized that a lot of those people I admired no longer fit the me I was trying to create, and never really had. I had to start over, make new definitions, and allow for flaws.

Some heroes are more heroic than others. Trying to find a hero every week has given me the opportunity to explore my definition of hero. Some of my heroes are bigger than life as I see it. I could never hope to be anything like them but a pale shadow. And there are those who inspire me not in their extraordinariness but in their everyday enduring.

So if you wonder at some of my choices, from week to week, here is my criteria: Each week I try to choose someone who inspired me that week, and I don't repeat myself, because there isn't time or space. There are so many amazing people in the world. I also haven't featured any of my friends, not because I don't admire them and hold them as lamps in my life, but because I don't want to invade privacy or inadvertently hurt any feelings. I try to let them know, in private, how much they mean to me.

I prefer a life with heroes.

Friday, November 4, 2011

I've felt worse in my life...

...I've also felt a lot better. I'll be better, in a few days. So, since I am putting myself in isolation, because I'm always squirrelly this time of month (and I'm really annoyed that it came a week early), I'm sharing a cute picture instead of saying anything more. It's safer this way. Trust me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Week Nineteen of REAL...

The 28th: weigh in: 242.6 lb. Made bread, really, really yummy bread. I forget that having bread in the house, or should I say not having bread in the house, is a trigger for me. I need to remember to make it before I run out.

The 29th: weigh in: 241.4 lb. One SEAL puppy rep. Two-mile walk. Today, I realized that my schedule is not working for me. A while ago, I toyed with the idea of changing my sleep patterns. It didn't work well, but I realize that there were aspects I'd neglected to consider, let alone plan. New plan starts, today.

The 30th: weigh in: 240.2 lb. So far so good.

The 31st: weigh in: 239.6 lb. One SEAL puppy rep. One-mile walk. I managed to take a nap in the middle of the day, for about an hour. I'd been doing laundry, and roasting from the activity. Blessedly, by the time I woke up an hour later, I was all cooled down, and feeling more alert.


The 1st: weigh in 241.4 lb. *pfft*

The 2nd: weigh in: 241.4 lb. One SEAL puppy rep. One-mile walk. I had trouble going to sleep last night. Easy enough to find the problem: too warm. It's cooling off outside, which means the A/C doesn't turn on as often, so my room is toasty. I don't sleep well toasty.

The 3rd: weigh in: 241.4 lb. Waist circumference: 40". *harrumph* If you don't want to read about "women stuff," stop reading now. I feel lousy, but it will be better in a few days. What's wrong with this picture? It's a week early! What is up with that? I hope this doesn't mess up my work schedule. I tend to be so brainless. I would worry about crying in frustration, except that it's normal for me at this time. Experience tells me that I should send me to my room, and isolate myself. At least I've arranged for some things to be done ahead of time. Good planning, on my part. I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm going to grab some ibuprofen, and pray I make it through the day without too many.... shoot... it's started.... brain went blank....

This fits, today:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Truth/Lies... more on mistakes...

Funny how thinking about something brings a cascade of awareness.

Here are several cutesy saying I can support 100%:

Mistakes are proof that you are trying.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Einstein said, "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."

God commands us to repent, every day, because He knows we make mistakes, every day.

“What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning - and some of them many times over - what do you find? That you can swim? Well - life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live!” ~ Alfred Adler (Austrian psychiatrist whose influential system of individual psychology introduced the term inferiority feeling, later widely and often inaccurately called inferiority complex, 1870-1937)

Think Exist is a great site for finding quotes, with references, which is where I found the one by Adler.

I heard this yesterday morning. I really needed the reminder: MikesChair Someone Worth Dying For

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OWS... what's wrong with this picture...

I hadn't planned to mention this, but I'm watching the insanity escalate, and there's so much going through my head I'm doing a brain dump. So the following are random thoughts. Hopefully, sharing them here means I can stop thinking about them. This is Andrew Klaven's article on the event.

I finally found this posted as the "official" statement:

"Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants."

"Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions." Actually, it isn't leaderless. The likes of 60s revolutionary criminals and union leader thugs have been preaching this event for months. There was even an ad on Craig's List offering $400-$600 a day for people to "work" as occupiers. Yesterday, we received a recorded phone call from "Justice For All" asking us to support OWS. That is a coordinated effort, an expensive coordinated effort. The rest of the sentence sounds good, but could be applied to any sports event, concert, state fair, or public event.

Side note: The phone call from "Justice For All" said that big corporations were holding back two trillion dollars from loans for small businesses and hiring. What the phone message didn't tell you was that businesses aren't spending money on much of anything because policies currently coming through the federal government are so anti-business that they don't dare hire, unless they are suicidal regarding their business. Would you hire a new landscaping service, if you didn't know whether or not that money you had budgeted would actually be there when you went to pay them, because you may or may not have a hefty tax bill coming and you may or may not have your health insurance double? They started with a lie and kept right on lying.

"The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%." This is a blatant lie. I've seen the support they're receiving from the likes of Michael Moore, Susan Suranden, the media, politicians, including the president, even George Soros, who is definitely in the 1%. They've picked numbers that make great sound bites, but don't mean what people think they mean. More importantly, they are slanderous and libelous. They do NOT represent me. Not now, and not ever. And I am most assuredly not in the "1%." Do I oppose greed and corruption? Yes, I do, but I've seen it in the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. Many a criminal is not in the 1%, and I definitely oppose them. In fact, I'm more worried about them than I am the richest. I'm more likely to be killed by a common criminal, not in the 1%, than I am one of those in the 1%. These people need to rethink their priorities.

"We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants."
This is the same Arab Spring where Lara Logan was raped while the men chanted "Jew," and where Christians are being murdered. If it's supposed to be nonviolent, why do protesters admit that they've been trying to antagonize police by throwing rocks and glass bottles? Why are they advising that rapes not be reported? How is this by any stretch of the imagination non-violent, or am I not supposed to ask that pesky question?

What's wrong with this picture?

OWS is touting sharing the wealth, and yet they complained about the "professional" homeless (those that actually are homeless) eating the food that was being offered...

What's wrong with this picture?

OWS is opposed to corporate greed, while they use their laptops, cellphones, store-bought tents and sleeping bags, wearing their designer clothes, and eating organic and gourmet meals...

What's wrong with this picture?

OWS is opposed to the bank bail-outs, the bail-outs given by the federal government...
~taxpayer money was used to bail-out the banks, but there is no hue and cry against the President or Congress who authorized it and are paid with taxpayer money...

What's wrong with this picture?

OWS is openly and knowingly supported by Nazis, Communists, Marxists, Socialists, Fascists, Anarchists, anti-Semitics (anit-Jew, anti-Zionist, anti-Israel), anti-Capitalists, anti-Americans...

What's wrong with this picture?

And why doesn't everyone see how wrong this is?

I know lots of people who agree with some of what OWS is saying. Here's the problem: The adversary is the laziest creature in the universe. Why go to all the trouble of creating a lie, when the truth with a twist will do?

The more I learn about OWS, the more narcissistic behaviors I recognize. The hypocrisy that abounds in this whole thing is astronomical, and yet no one seems to care about these little inconvenient details.

What I've come to realize is that this "movement" isn't one in which there is the luxury of picking and choosing what one wants to support and what one does not want to support. There is no "well, I like that idea, but not that one." There is no "they're right about this, but not about that." The only time that opportunity to choose occurs is in your own life. This movement isn't about you or about what you want. This is about a collective platform. And if they have their way, your right to choose will be over. This is all or nothing.

This is the counter view: We Are The 53%. 53% of the population pays income tax, while the rest enjoy the benefits provided by that tax. If ever there was a time to do one's homework, this is it. The adversary says, "Let me tell you what to think and what to believe. Let me feed you all the information you need. I want to make it easier for you." God's way was never the easy way, but it is the only way to true, lasting happiness. Whose plan will you choose? I choose God.