May Day

A friend once told me that the perfect time for a new beginning is when the first of a month falls on a Monday.  Start the diet, give up the habit, resolve to do better in some aspect of your life…it’s a  new week and new month so there is no excuse to not go for it.

I have a habit or two that need to go, and a habit or two I need to resume.  So today is the day.  But no pressure, right?

The weekend was nice.  I took my fourth unit exam and finished the final paper for my Business Ethics class; I will complete the final exam this week and move on to my next course:  Organizational Theory.  I also finished this crocheted blanket shrug (mine has no fringe).

img_5999

Yesterday I washed bed linens as I always do on Sundays, but I also washed our down alternative comforter and dried it on a clothesline out back.  The natural fragrance that saturates fabrics dried this way is intoxicating.  I slept like a baby last night.

Out back, the fuchsia will soon bring forth its blooms and the hummingbirds will become frequent visitors; this plant is right outside our back patio door so we have the perfect viewing spot.

817

This crazy flower is already blooming; Jessica gave me a packet of seeds during an Oregon trip last year and I randomly threw them into this wine barrel.  The California rains came and a whole lot of weeds grew up in the barrel.  Tom (with his green thumb) spotted these two among the weeds and cleaned everything up so this is all that remains. These are some kind of day lily and I’m not sure that these are the Oregon flowers but no matter…a happy surprise anyway.

img_1614

Today’s lesson in Entrusted focused in on 2 Timothy 3:6-9; the passage that illuminated like a neon sign for me were verses 6 and 7:

“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”

Oh snap.  Oh crap.  The “among them” are the people who, in the last days, are lovers of self and money; proud, arrogant, abusive people; ungrateful, unholy, and heartless people; those with no self-control; brutal people; conceited people; lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; and those “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power”…among those kinds of people are those who prey on the weak (not necessarily just women).

But I think our own lack of self-control, our own desire for pleasure, our own arrogance and pride lead us astray more often than an actual person.  I know that’s true for me.  While there was a time in my life that I was easily captured and led astray by the influence of others, these days I’m more apt to quietly look like I’m doing just fine but secretly relying on unhealthy ways to cope.

May is bringing forth a rough month of upheaval and the beginning of change in a significant area of my life, and I need to be strong.  I’m preparing for it by strengthening my healthy habits and starving the unhealthy ones.  Good food, exercise, and restful sleep are in order.

Join me in making May the beginning of healthy changes?

Have a blessed week.

signature

 

How I Spent a “Me” Day

The very best way to end a relaxing weekend is with Monday off…in  my humble opinion, that is.  Today is a federal holiday celebrating the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. and as a county employee I join in with the schools and banks and government services to enjoy a day off.  For my husband, who works for the private sector, this is not so.

So not only is this MLK day, it’s a ME day.  Here’s how I’ve spent it so far.

I am an early riser, even on days off, and most days start the very same…tea, prayer, time reading my Bible, and doing my best to knock out a chapter (or as close to) for whatever course I’m in for my master’s program.  Chapter six, done.

img_5716

I ate my current favorite breakfast which I learned is only 5 WW Smart Points.

dscn3735

Checked in on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and email and then played a couple of riveting games of Spider Solitaire on my laptop.  I did a bit more studying and then got dressed.  By this time, Tom had left for work, so it was time to watch stuff in our DVR queue that I prefer to watch by myself and without his commentary.  Like Sister Wives. During commercial breaks I did laundry and changed the sheets in our room and the guest room.

img_5713

Sister Wives was (happily) interrupted by a FaceTime call from Hudson and his mama.  His two-and-a-quarter year old brother likes to run around the room during daily FaceTime, but Hudson is into it and rewards me with many smiles and coos. This particular picture was snapped yesterday I think; he was very distracted by his yummy big toe and the sun was shining on them despite temps in the 20s where they live, which gave the picture a unique touch.

img_5709

Late morning included a supermarket run followed by a Starbucks run, then back home to make this gourmet meal for my lunch:  smoked trout tartine and salad.  “Me” day must include a meal fit for a queen, and this was.

img_5714

Tom came home for lunch a bit after one, but I left him alone to do his thing in peace and went in to take a mid-afternoon bubble bath.  I mean seriously, who does this, except maybe newlyweds on their honeymoon? As a working woman who has been married her whole adult life (almost four decades!!) and raised three kids, an afternoon bubble bath on a weekday is just an outrageous luxury.  Perfect for ME day.

My afternoon included a visit with these two princesses.  Aislee insisted we wear tiaras while playing and then taught me how to do her version of the robot while listening to Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”…she hadn’t had a nap but was in such a good mood.

And now it’s about 45 minutes until Tom gets home.  We are having leftover Pancit Canton, marinated cucumbers, and roasted pork stuffed in homemade Chinese Steam Buns for dinner.

It’s been a wonderful day off, but back to the grind tomorrow.  In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday (and the whole reason I got to enjoy a day off), I share two of my favorite MLK quotes:

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

 

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

signature

Lifelong Learning

I am energized by learning new things and this has been true about me as long as I can remember.  When I was old enough to walk by myself to our public library I found a whole world opened up to me, where I could find a book on any topic that interested me and teach myself something new.  I liked (and still like) fiction but my favorite books have always been instructional.  Every week or so I’d check out the maximum limit of 10 books, usually one or two fiction books, a memoir or biography of someone I wanted to know more about, and an armload of books about something I wanted to learn to do.  Through books I taught myself basic ballet poses and moves, yoga, sign language, make up techniques, hair styles, home decorating, how to crochet, knit, macrame, embroider, and quilt, astrology charting, handwriting analysis, shorthand, cooking, poetry writing, many other creative pursuits such as dish gardening, drawing and painting.  Some of these skills I have mastered and some proved to be passing fancies.  I’ve just always believed that I could learn to do anything, given a set of instructions to follow.

The Internet, to me, is the richest and most vast library beyond what my childhood brain could have ever comprehended.  Knowledge is literally at our fingertips.  I was just this morning watching my DVR recording of this week’s episode of The Blacklist and pondering what to make for dinner, given today’s forecast of stormy weather.  In one scene Reddington, while in a restaurant, comments about the exquisite flavors of the Cheeseburger Chowder he is enjoying.  Instantly, my phone is in my hand and I’m googling a recipe for Cheeseburger Chowder because that sounds just like something my husband would enjoy.  Google delivered with a multitude of recipes to choose from.  Dinner dilemma solved thanks to knowledge at my fingertips.

Later in my life, sparked by a brutal season of trial and tribulation, I became an avid student of the Bible and this passion continues today. Hebrews 4:12 says:  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  I have learned more about  myself, others, spirituality, and the mysteries of this world through Bible study.  I have found that at different times of my life, scripture I’ve read over and over will suddenly be illuminated for me, speaking into circumstances I’m experiencing or questions I’m pondering.  My Bible is full of little notes, highlights and under linings. Someday when I am gone, I hope those I leave behind will open my Bible to find comfort and will be surprised to learn something new about what mattered to me.

Currently I am working on my master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.  I am just beginning  my third (of 13) courses, this one in Marketing Management.  I must say, two chapters in and I’m realizing that in my vast array of interests, marketing concepts has not been knowledge I’ve sought out beyond the normal consumer experience.  Perhaps my lack of interest is tied to my shopping aversion?  In any case, of all of my  master’s program topics, this one is the most foreign to me and likely to be most challenging.  Most of the other courses are familiar given my educational background in psychology and my 24 year career in social services of which the last three have been in management.  But I’m on board to learn.

Today I’m spending a stormy day in with this little miss.  As I finish this blog post this is what she’s up to.  I do believe I’m seeing the beginning of her lifelong love of learning.  May it be so!

signature