Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year End Meme - 2008

It’s time for the end of the year meme!

I saw this a few weeks ago at Bleeding Espresso and I thought this would be a perfect way to wrap up 2008.
So here we go:

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before? OH, so many things. Got a tattoo, went to Fort Lauderdale, met Donnie Wahlberg, lost 20 lbs., wrote 50,000 words in 30 days, became a youth group leader…we’ll stop there.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t really believe in “resolutions” but I make plans. I think I did fairly well this year, and I have LOTS of plans for 2009, you can read all about those here.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Hmm…one of my coworkers, but I’m not really close to her, I don’t think anyone else did though…

4. Did anyone close to you die? Friends of friends and relatives of friends mostly.

5. What countries did you visit? Didn’t leave the U.S. this year. Must remedy that next year.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? You know, I didn’t lack much this year…but, how about a few good dates? I could go for that.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? As far as “specific” dates, Thanksgiving weekend for the youth retreat, November 8 because that’s when I met Donnie Wahlberg and got my Donnie Hug (what?)…that’s it for “dates” though.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I don’t know that I’d call it an achievement as much as a personal step, but I’d say reconnecting with my faith. Also, writing those 50,000 words in 30 days is pretty amazing. And then there’s the 20 lb. weight loss. Oh, and actually getting that Donnie hug? Yeah, that was an achievement! Ha

9. What was your biggest failure? Hmm…nothing is jumping out at me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just the common cold and stuff

11. What was the best thing you bought? Besides my tattoo? Maybe the HDTV and HT Tivo, kind loving those. OH, no wait, I take it back, best things I bought were my tickets to see NKOTB…twice.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My mom’s for getting me to join Jenny Craig with her, so we could do the weight loss thing together.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Besides the obvious political and media ones? Yeah, those were mostly it.

14. Where did most of your money go? Toward cost of living expenses mostly. No fun.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? It seems I spent most of this year, or at least the second half of this year really, really excited about everything. The youth group stuff, my faith, my tattoo, the NKOTB reunion, taking a trip to visit “Traveller” in Ft. Lauderdale, my weight loss…yeah, it was a really exciting year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? Well, it sort of goes without saying that any of the NKOTB new songs will, but besides those, that annoying Lady Gaga song “Dance” and Katie Perry’s “Hot and Cold”.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? Happier, thinner and richer (financially as well as spiritually).

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Travelling, writing and organization…I spent a lot of time overwhelmed and confused this year, I need to work on that.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Hmm…procrastinating. I REALLY need to stop doing that.

20. How did you spend Christmas? With my family, having the best time EVER.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Yes, but not romantic love. I fell in love with God and with my friends and with the youth who give me great hope for our future. Oh, right, and then there’s Donnie Wahlberg. ;-)

22. What was your favorite TV program? Hmm…You know, I watched a lot of tv, but I can’t say I watched anything that really excited me. I don’t think I have a favorite.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t believe in harboring hate toward people, so no.

24. What was the best book you read? I really didn’t read very much this year, and I really can’t even remember almost any books I read, so I definitely can’t pick a “best” book.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Just recently discovered Straight No Chaser (an accapella group) and I think they’re pretty amazing. Hmm…there was a lot of music in my life this past year actually.

26. What did you want and get? To get back in shape and look and feel good about my self-image.

27. What did you want and not get? A new car.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I didn’t really watch a lot of movies either, and I can't think of one that stood out for me.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33, and I don’t remember what I did. Uh…not good. ;-)

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I really don’t know how I could answer this. This year was amazing, I can’t imagine asking for anything else.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? Well, the first half of the year was “whatever fits that doesn’t make me cringe”. The second half was more of a “self-discovery” of what looks good again. I’ll be back in full “fashion diva” form now though.

32. What kept you sane? God, my faith family, my mom and the blog world.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Do I really need to tell you this one? AS if I haven't turned this whole meme into a NKOTB love fest already? Okay, here's Donnie in case you were wondering...standing MERE inches from me...sigh...

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Well, this was the year of the presidential election that will go down in history, so it was hard to not be politically stirred, wasn’t it?

35. Who did you miss? I missed my grandma a lot this year. There were just a lot of times that I really wanted to talk to her.

36. Who was the best new person you met? There were a few people I met at the end of 2007, but really got to know in 2008 that completely changed my life. I also “met” myself all over again in 2008, and you know what? I’m pretty awesome. Haha. But actual, real people that I met in 2008? It was really cool to meet Frances in person, she’s awesome. Also, my new boss and all the folks at my new job are pretty cool. And then there’s the youth.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Here's one: Lifehouse - Everything: You are the strength, that keeps me walking.You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.You are the light to my soul.You are my purpose...you're everything.How can I stand here with you and not be moved by you?Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?
Let me know if you do the year end meme!

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not really a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. I just think they're sort of a joke. Every year people make this list of things they will accomplish in the coming year, as if January 1st holds some magical power that will make possible the completion of tasks we just couldn't seem to get it together to accomplish the year before.

And yet, for most people, by January 15th those "Resolutions" are already forgotten, shoved aside, postponed, or completely dismissed. And then we say "oh well, maybe next year". As if the other 350 days out of the year didn't even exist. What is that all about?

That being said, there is something inspiring about the idea that you can wipe the slate clean on all your failed projects and ideas and as of January 1, start off brand new.

In this past year I have undergone a pretty huge transformation myself, in more ways than one, so I've got to admit that this year I'm looking forward to making, and keeping, a few New Year's Resolutions. But I'm going to call them Goals, not Resolutions, because I just don't like that word.

So, without further ado, here are my 2009 New Year's Goals:

1. Finish the Novel I started for NaNoWriMo, edit it, and begin to earnestly research how I can go about submitting this thing to publishers.

2. Keep going with my current "decluttering" project. I started a few months ago to work on decluttering my life, and I want to keep this up. There is just too much "crap" in my life, and I need to get rid of those things I just don't need to keep around anymore. These things include not only that old coffee pot I haven't used in a year, or those pants I haven't worn since freshman year in college, but also files on my computer, so called "friends" who only drag me down, and self-imposed obligations that are helping noone, least of all myself.

3. Get organized. This one sort of follows with the previous one, but I spent too much of this year in a sort of chaos mode, so I really want to keep better track of my time and my stuff, so I have less chaos and more peace.

4. Get up half an hour earlier on weekdays. I'm really sick and tired of constantly running late in the mornings, so I need to change my routine so that I'm up at least 30 minutes earlier during the week. If this requires going to bed 30 minutes earlier as well, than so be it, but I really want to stop running late every morning.

5. Travel more. For several years now I had to put traveling on a shelf because my job was so overwhelming that the thought of taking time off only served to stress me out, which sort of defeated the purpose of taking a vacation. With this new job, I don't have that problem anymore. That little trip I took to Ft. Lauderdale last month woke up the "travel bug" and I've been bitten once again. So, in 2009, I plan to travel more.

6. Date. There, I said it. This is the year I will go on actual, real life dates. It's time folks, I'm getting out there.

And there you have it, my 6 main goals for the year. Other than that, my last, bonus one, is this:

7. Keep enjoying life, appreciating every day, and focusing on the important stuff, not stressing the little things.

What are your resolutions/goals??

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh What a Year!

Late December, 2008 and another year drawing slowly, no scratch that...speedingly furiously to a close.

2008 is soon to be gone in a blur, and 2009 will come sailing in, all flashes and confetti at it's tail.

With the new year, new beginnings, plans, dreams, and hopes. But what of 2008? What have we learned? What did we accomplish? How did we make it a year worth remembering?

I don't know about you personally, but for me, 2008 was a year of change, and I'm not even talking about that little thing that happened at the polls in November. I'm keeping this one closer to home, I'm talking about myself.

Everything changed for me in 2008. I lost my job early in the year, and was forced to change my comfort level, my daily routine, my “status quo”. What a blessing that turned out to be. I changed jobs, changed careers, and with that, changed my life.

I love my new job, love my shorter commute and the added hours to my day. A change of environment allowed me to take a closer look at myself and make more changes. My faith took a seat at the top of my priority list, and I gained new perspective on everything. I made new friendships, strengthened old ones, and even learned to let go of others. Surrounding myself with like-minded people afforded me the opportunity to get involved in activities that gave me great happiness and joy.

And then suddenly my own happiness, my own life, became something I wanted to pay attention to once again. So I began to take better care of myself. I started a weight loss program, joined a gym, and started taking care of both my internal and external well being. My physical and my spiritual self received a total make-over in 2008.

I changed drastically this year. Like a butterfly breaking out of the cocoon, I began my life anew in 2008.

I love where I am at the end of 2008 and can’t wait to see where 2009 will take me.

I leave 2008 behind with a bit of mixed feelings. Sad to see it go, for it was indeed a good year to me, but excited at the possibilities of the new year. Happy New Year everyone.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Only The Good Friday

It's time for Only The Good Friday, but as my internet service is spotty at best today, I'm going to have to keep this one short.

So, short and sweet, here's the good:

Christmas was amazing, wonderful and beautiful. I am so blessed with the family and friends I have. I hope you all had a Christmas as blessed as mine was.

Now I sit at work, with our systems all out of wack, unable to actually do any work, and wishing I was home instead. Or out shopping the post Christmas sales. And yet, I'm smiling. Because this is exactly what the holidays are all about, the feeling of joy I've been filled with all week.

I'm not ready yet to let it go either, so tonight I'm heading out for a dinner celebration with a group of friends, and tomorrow I have breakfast plans with one friend and dinner plans with another.

Folks, here's my "GOOD" for today, a piece of what I think is good advice. Whatever it is you are doing this weekend, after the craziness of "Christmas" has passed, take a breath, and be thankful for the loved ones in your life. And then pick up the phone and call a friend you haven't spoken to in a while. Make lunch plans with that friend you just don't get together with enough. Or go visit that elderly relative you don't see as often as you should.

It's all fine and dandy to enjoy your gifts, those material possessions we all crave so much, but take the time to enjoy the people, because really, isn't that what it's all about?

Yeah yeah, I know, I'm all mushy today. Deal with it. ;-)

Merry Day After Christmas everyone! And go visit Shelley for the "Only The Good Friday" details.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa's Christmas Eve Prayer

Not much blogging from me lately, but that is only because I'm caught up in all the Christmas excitement. Too much going on, not enough time to write. I love Christmas, I love everything about Christmas, so I'm just enjoying this season to the fullest right now, with family, friends, and pretty much anyone who crosses my path.

But, today, on Christmas Eve, when the celebration begins for a lot of us, I wanted to share the following with you. I was searching for something, and this kept coming up, I'd never seen it before, but I love it.

Here you go:

Santa’s Christmas Eve Prayer

The sleigh was all packed, the reindeer were fed,
But Santa still knelt by the side of the bed.
"Dear Father, he prayed "Be with me tonight.
There's much work to do and my schedule is tight.
I must jump in my sleigh and streak through the sky,
Knowing full well that a reindeer can't fly.

I will visit each household before the first light,
I'll cover the world and all in one night.
With sleighbells a-ringing, I'll land on each roof,
Amid the soft clatter of each little hoof.

To get in the house is the difficult part,
So I'll slide down the chimney of each child's heart.
My sack will hold toys to grant all their wishes.
The supply will be endless like the loaves and the fishes.

I will fill all the stockings and not leave a track.
I'll eat every cookie that is left for my snack.
I can do all these things Lord, only through You,
I just need your blessing, then it's easy to do.

All this is to honor the birth of the One,
That was sent to redeem us, Your most Holy Son
So to all of my friends, least Your glory I rob,
Please Lord, remind them who gave me this job."

Warren D. Jennings
I hope you and your family and loved ones have a wonderful, safe, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Seriously, I need to know

So, here's the thing. When I said in this post, that I didn't really care whether or not Blue actually called me, after the random pick-up at the mall, I was being honest.

I really don't care either way. No, honestly, I don't. I'm way too busy right now anyway, and well, the thought of having to go on an actual date just yet scares the hell out of me, so, I'm good with some random pick-ups and no follow through for right now. Less stress for me, if you ask me.

Oh, right, and just in case you hadn't caught on yet, Blue never called. Even with the "three day rule" men seem to love to live by, he's let that window open and close. Truth be told, I sort of forgot all about him until my friend texted me this morning with a "any calls yet?"

Hmm...nope, not a one.

But again, I'm okay with this. As
Pamela so eloquently put it in her comment to my last post, "biting fingernails worrying about Karina flirting with the next Ted Bundy... shiver shiver shiver." He could have turned out to be a real weirdo, so no huge loss for me here. Also, as Frigga said, "I love getting the random ask-out". Seriously? Good for the ego.

That being said, however, I need to know. I need to know why it is that men will do something like put themselves out there, risk the embarrassment of potential rejection, to ask for your telephone number, and then not call. Seriously??

I mean, this is not anything new, and this is probably exactly why right after giving him my number I said "I don't even care if he never calls". Because I sort of already knew odds were he would not. Because, men? They do this. And we women? We expect this. It's just part of the age old dating phenomenon, isn't it?

But still, I just don't get it. Is it really just the thrill of the conquest? And if so, wouldn't it be an even bigger thrill to follow through? No? Perhaps not.

Hey, whatever the case, I'll take the boost to my ego knowing that I am again among the troves of women out there giving out their phone numbers and never getting that phone call.

I'm already doing better than I was doing this time last year.

But really, seriously...why bother guys?

Monday, December 15, 2008

And so it begins...All the Boys The Present Tense

Well, here it is...I'm going to give this dating thing a try in 2009. I said I would in 2008, and even had that ill-fated mystery date back in January, but then, well...obviously I had other things to work on before I put myself out there for the dating world to see.

But now, well, now I'm ready, and it's time.

I've lost almost 20 lbs, and with that weight loss, I've also been able to let go of a lot of my self-esteem issues. There are some that still remain, because well, that's just me being me, but I'm now able to walk with my head high, smile on my face, making eye contact with people.

I spent 2008 working on myself. My inner self, my spiritual self, and my physical self. I changed careers, I formed new friendships, I reconnected with old friends, and I made peace with ghosts from my past.

In a sense, it was boot camp, and now I'm ready to join the front lines.

I began to realize that I was ready to "hit the dating scene" when I found myself flirting with
Donnie Wahlberg as he autographed my wrist. I mean, if I can flirt with my teen crush, I can flirt with just about anyone, don't you think?

Then, a few weeks ago something happened that made me realize I am back in "dating form". Small thing. Silly thing. I got a crush. On someone from my past. Someone I hadn't seen in a long time. Someone I may never even see again for all I know. But he made me blush and giggle like a school girl. It was official, I had a crush on a real live, non-celebrity, he actually knows my name, man.

I didn't really share much with you about that crush because well, there isn't much to share. I honestly don't know if/when I'll see him again, and mostly, it wasn't about him. It was about me. About those feelings I hadn't felt in a really long time. And about the fact that I realized I missed those feelings.

A baby step. When you've been out of the dating scene as long as I have been, it's baby steps to get back in, you know?

And then this weekend, last night, another step.

I was out Christmas shopping, and it turns out Target was having a special on good looking guys. Who knew?

OH, you want details? I'll give you details.

I was walking toward Target, when I walked by an attractive man who smiled at me. New me, new rules, I made eye contact and smiled back, and went on my way. So then I’m in Target, in the electronics department and I see him there, which I thought was strange, because when I first saw him he was walking AWAY from Target, right? But, hey, whatever, I'm not reading too much into things, I'm busy shopping. But he walked by me once again, and I got the impression he wanted to say something, but then changed his mind. I continued to shop, but now I'm smiling because well, you just sort of know by then, you know? So, then the third time we walked by each other he goes “Excuse me,” and I was like “Yes?” and he goes “You’re beautiful”. And let me clarify that he said this not in a “yo baby yo” sleezy way, just in a very straightforward way, you know? So I was kind of taken aback but I said “Thank you” and he asked my name, then he tells me his (we'll call him Blue). Then he asked if I had a boyfriend and I said no and he goes “why not?” and I said “Don’t know, just don’t” and he was like “ok” (like cool, whatever). Then we chatted a little more, turns out he’s from the same town I live in, and then he goes “So, can I take you out or call you sometime?” and I hesitated only a bit and said “You can call me,” (because hey, what have I got to lose at this point, right?). So I gave him my number, and then we chatted for another few seconds and he looked at my hands (I had a ton of things in my hands/shopping) and said “Well, I won’t keep you, I’ll let you get back to your stuff, but I’ll definitely call you” and I said “definitely do”. And that was that.

I haven’t had that happen to me in a very long time, years, in fact, so it was pretty cool. Good for my ego, that’s for sure. Even if he doesn’t call, I’m good with that. And even if he does call, and turns out to be a total weirdo, I’m okay with that too, cuz I’m sort of already expecting that…you know? And who knows, he could actually turn out to be normal too. ;-)

He’s about 6 ft tall (I’d guess), probably around my age (guess again), dirty blonde hair and the most beautiful blue eyes. Good looking guy, not a pretty boy, but certainly attractive.

But again, this isn't so much about him as it is about me. If he calls, well, then of course I'll tell you all about it, and we'll see what happens. But this is about how I had forgotten what it felt like to be approached by an attractive stranger and be made to feel like a million bucks. I had forgotten that totally giddy feeling in your stomach when you walk away after just having given a man your phone number. I'd forgotten, most importantly, how much fun I used to have with dating.

See, I've been dreading getting back out there, but now? I'm kind of looking forward to it.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Only The Good Friday - The Birthday Edition

Well, today is Only The Good Friday, the creation of my blog-buddy Shelly over at This Eclectic Life. She's determined to spread a virus of good and positivity on Fridays throughout the blogosphere, and I'm determined to help.

Today, however, I've decided to dedicate the cause to celebrating the birthday of the BLOG QUEEN herself. Frances is the fearless leader of the SheWhoBlogs crew, and honestly folks, this lady is one cool chick! She blogs all over the place, and always has new ideas and new projects going on.

How in the world she manages to do all she does is beyond me, and then, she does it well.

And today is her 47th Birthday. I can tell you that because she's darn proud of it, as well she should be.

I had the pleasure of actually meeting Frances in person this past summer, and we got along FABULOUSLY. I'd share photos from our meeting with you, but neither of us was feeling particularly photogenic that day, so we have none. However, we had just about the cutest waiter EVER, so I'll share with you a photo of him.

Seriously, how cute is he? The name on his nametag was "Ikeypoo" because that's what his coworkers called him. Cute, right?

Anyway, I could tell you all sorts of lovely things about how amazing Frances is, but instead, I'm going to direct you to her many blogs so you can see for yourself:

BlogJem - Her main blog

Blogforth - Her creative writing blog

On The Go Blog - Her mobile blog

Photostroll - Her Photography blog

The Meme Section - Yes, her meme blog

SheWhoBlogs - A group blog for female bloggers, of which she is our leader and organizer

SheWhoDiets - Was once a blog, is now a "ning" group, for well, yes, female dieters/etc. She's also our leader and organizer there.

And I'm sure I'm probably missing something, but well...she's also got other projects in the works, so stay tuned.

Anyway, that's my Only The Good Friday Sharing for today. Get to know Frances (and join us at SheWhoBlogs) you won't regret it.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

And Also - Additional Thoughts

Pretty much immediately after hitting "publish" on this post yesterday, I had a number of additional thoughts.

Then I read some of my comments, and those sparked some more thoughts.

So, I figured, what the heck, I'll keep the conversation (monologue?) going.

First off, I have made the conscious decision to stop censoring myself here at Candid Karina...hello, the name of my blog is CANDID Karina. So, no more holding back, no more censoring, if I'm thinking it, and I want to write it...it's going up on the page.

So, if that means one day I talk God, and the next I talk shoes, and the very next I talk nonsense, well...that's just me being Candid.

Also, I should clarify something, not that I feel I need to explain myself, but you know, for clarity's sake. I am perfectly at peace with the person I am today. In fact, I like being a misfit. I get real pleasure out of the fact that I, along with my unique and varied group of friends, totally don't fit the "mold" of whatever it is society has deemed a "Christian" is supposed to look like. Not that there's anything wrong with fitting that mold (whatever that mold is), but I've always sort of prided myself on my differences, and that hasn't changed.

To be truthful, I really think that it is in embracing our uniqueness that we also embrace the true spirit of what it means to be a follower of Christ. I think Jesus would have enjoyed our company and felt right at home among us.

We are welcoming, and open, and able to see past those "labels". I think those are good things, all of them.

That being said, my buddy Frigga made a good point that it is the media who puts these labels out there, and perhaps I'm buying a bit too much into those labels (she didn't say that part, I did). Maybe I'm worrying too much about what I'm "supposed" to be, and also about what I have let others tell me "Christians" are supposed to be, so I myself am guilty of putting those expectations on others. So, in a sense, I'm doing exactly what I don't want done to me. It's time I let go of all of that, and just let it be. You know?

Also, about my comment on being politically liberal and a Christian all at once, Beckie said: "Why is politically liberal and praising God all in the same breath bad? That's one I have never understood". Exactly! I completely agree, and I've never quite understood that either, and that's, I think, where a lot of my hang-ups with religion have been in the past.

I battled organized religion for years, although I had a strong spiritual core, because I couldn't reconcile my political beliefs with those I was being told I was supposed to have by the church. But again, is it not the media playing exactly off those thoughts that creates the dissent between those two sides? So, in essence, wasn't I, again, letting the media control my behavior? I'm smarter than to let that happen.

I'm pretty sure I won't find a solution to all my questions any time soon. I've no doubt that I'll continue to disagree with somethings, while still believing wholeheartedly in others. And I'm confident that I've finally found a balance for myself in this.

I am, indeed, a misfit. But that doesn't change the strength with which I am experiencing my faith.

And, I may have my moments of insecurity, or doubt, or self-consciousness about what others think of me. But don't let that fool you into thinking I can be swayed from what I think of God. And don't think for one moment that having others disagree with how I practice my faith can make me step back from continuing to do it anyway.

Because take the human element out of the equation, and I'm left with one simple truth...I believe.

The End.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flaws and All

I’m dealing with a bit of a predicament right now. We’ll call it a split personality issue, if you will. I have always been more than one person in this 5’2” body of mine. There’s the person I am at work, and the person I am with my friends. There’s the person I am with family, and the person I am with strangers. There’s the person I am when I am all alone, and the one I am when I am with the man I love. There’s the person I am on-line and the one I am “In real life”. It’s not a conscious decision to be all these different people at these different times, and I don’t believe I’m the only one who suffers from this multiple personality disorder. It is what we do as humans, we adapt to the situation and people around us, do we not?

And overall, I don’t believe that this is actually a bad thing, as long as we stay true to our “core”. All of the people mentioned above have the basic vital things in common. I’m a good person who cares about others and never wants to purposefully (or even accidentally) hurt anyone else. I love my family and my friends, I love to write, and I love fashion, music and television. I’m independent and strong, and yet self-conscious and insecure at times. Those characteristics show through, I believe, regardless of which persona I’m exposing at any time. Because they are the true essence of who I am.

So, that is not my predicament.

My predicament is this. I am having an issue with my two VERY PERSONAL personalities which I expose to myself each day. Because lately, there’s been a merging of all the above personas into one. This is a good thing. I’m pretty much showing up the same regardless of my environment. A few tweaks here and there, but overall, what you see, is what you get, no matter who you are, it’s me. And I like that. I like that “the real me” is showing through all the facades. I’m knocking down the walls and just letting you see me as I am. Raw, unedited (or as unedited as a writer can allow herself to be), emotional and spiritual, and well materialistic. And therein lays my quandary.

Because this year I found faith in a way I’d never even known could exist for me. Somewhere along the line my faith became the center of my being. And from that, grows everything else around me. I find myself unafraid to speak it, to think it, to share it, to blog it. It is who I am after all, and if you like me for it, then fantastic, and if you don’t…well, such is life.

But there’s this other side of me. This other side is snarky, and sarcastic, and sometimes judgmental. This other side is still madly in love with shoes, and clothes and martinis and a good old fashioned nasty joke. The other side which also happens to be a misfit, not entirely fitting in the description of “the good Christian” whatever that is. This other side has just as many things to share and speak and blog about.

And so I ponder. If I write a post one day about how I saw God in group of teenagers Monday night, and the next day I tell you a tale of how I was giggling in a fitting room when I fit into a size 5 juniors skirt…will you get me? Can I be a holy roller and vain all at once? Is that possible? Is it acceptable, is it okay? Can I praise God and be politically liberal all in the same breath? Can this seemingly oxymoron that is me make sense in a black and white world?

Because it is me. In a realm of self-discovery, in my 30’s. Loving my life for the presence of God in it, but also still caught up in the daily minutia that makes me all too human.

And this duality has kept me from posting much these days. I begin to write something, and wonder if I should, I censor myself, I hold back. Whether because I think my readers might disappear if I talk God one more time, or because I think the other half will balk at my self-centeredness or my less than conservative beliefs.

So I say nothing.

But that’s not me, holding back, saying nothing. That’s not why I blog. I began blogging to share a bit of myself, if you read me then there must be something about “me” that you enjoy. So, I shouldn’t hold back, should I?

I don’t believe I should, I think I should stay true to myself, and allow myself to be who I am. Take me or leave me, but know me.

For the record, I don’t worry about what HE thinks. I’m a work in progress, but He loves me, flaws and all.

This video is easily my favorite Beyonce performance ever (I wasn't even a fan before I saw this) and this song is my current favorite song.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Major Points for me!

Okay look, I've got nothing creatively right now...nothing witty to say, nothing exceptional to share...there's LOTS going on, but the brain is occupied with all of it, and I can't really write coherent sentences today.

So you get this:

Pholph's Scrabble Generator

My Scrabble© Score is: 20.
What is your score? Get it here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Only the Good Friday - The One Where I Find The Spirit of Christmas

It is time once again for Shelly's "Only The Good Friday", the project to help good thoughts, good things, good cheer, throughout the interwebs.

And what better time to spread good tidings than Christmas time? Can you believe it is December 5th already? That means Christmas is MERELY 20 days away.

I don't know about you, but it completely snuck up on me this year. I have done exactly ZERO preparations, so I really need to get cracking. Usually by this time, I'm well on my way to being done shopping, and have usually had my decorations up for at least a week, if not longer. This year? Not so much.

But, I'm actually not at all stressed about this fact. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to decorating this weekend, and putting my list together, and hitting the stores. I'm breaking out the Christmas music, and the hot chocolate (shh, don't tell Jenny), and maybe taking a ride out to see some Christmas lights. All good things. I love this time of year.

I'm also looking forward to doing some good for others. You can help too.

What can you do?

Well, for starters, it appears that Toys for Tots is having a hard time reaching their necessary numbers this year. So, you can help. Look up your local Toys for Tots organization online, and find out where they have some drop-off locations. Then pick up and drop off an unrwrapped toy. They are especially in need of toys for newborns to 2 year olds. How easy it is to shop for a baby gift, and EVERYONE loves to buy baby gifts.

Other things you can do? Look up local Soup Kitchens and see if you can lend a helping hand. We're doing our monthly Community Kitchen with our youth group on December 20th. What a great way to start off Christmas week, don't you think?

When you hear that bell outside the stores, you know the one, the one that Santa is ringing by the Salvation Army bucket, instead of rolling your eyes and walking by, reach in your pocket, drop in a few coins. You won't miss them, they're just rattling around in the bottom of your purse anyway.

Here's a really easy, and completely FREE one: Smile at people. When everyone else is pushing and shoving and being bitten by the Scrooge bug out at the malls, just smile. Say hello, Merry Christmas, Have a Nice Day. You'll be amazed what wonders a smile can do.

Good things...Good Tidings to you! Let's keep the spirit alive this season, because isn't that what it's all about?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Through The Storm - A Book Review

Through The Storm – A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World – Lynne Spears with Lorilee Craker

I’ll admit it, along with everyone else, I was glued to my computer screen watching the footage and following the gossip of Britney Spears’ downward spiral. At the time, I was slightly addicted to a few of those “celebrity gossip” blogs, and I would faithfully check in every day, to see what craziness that girl had gotten up to while I’d been asleep the night before.

But, as much as I love celebrity gossip, I am also a sensitive person, and after a while, my heart ached for her. Something was obviously wrong with Britney, and she was obviously not getting the help she needed. All I kept thinking was where in the world was her mother in all this? Because my mom? She would have moved mountains to save me from the self-destruction Britney was imposing upon herself.

So, when I heard the rumor everyone else heard that Lynne would be writing a parenting book, I was outraged. THAT woman? She’s writing a parenting book? What the hell does she have to say about parenting? And then her youngest daughter Jamie Lynn got pregnant at 16. Well, then it just sort of became a joke, didn’t it? Lynne Spears, mother of the year.

And yet, I was curious, because there had to be more to the story.

So, when I was presented with the opportunity from
Thomas Nelson Publishers to read and review the real Lynn Spears book, I jumped on it.

For the record, this is not a “parenting” book. And no, this is also not a “tell all” about Britney book.

It is a mother’s book.

The story of a woman, a small town girl, a mother, a Christian, struggling to find her footing, again and again, in a world that threw more curveballs her way than the average person should ever have to deal with.

The story is told in a very personal way, and reads as if you are sitting with Lynne, having a cup of coffee and she’s recalling events from her life.

It is sweet, it is sad, it is even funny at times. There is anguish and pain, but there is also much joy, and pride. Pride for her family, her three beautiful children, who she obviously loves more than life itself. This is obvious. Her story is also surprisingly (to me, because I was unaware of her faith) an extremely spiritual one. I found myself more than once nodding with agreement and understanding at her words. There were also moments I found myself wiping tears from my eyes.

I’ll be honest, the book was not at all what I expected it to be, and I for one, was pleasantly surprised. I have new found respect for not only Lynne Spears, but for the entire Spears clan. I know I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes, not for one minute. We’re quick to say that there’s a price to pay for fame, but sometimes we forget that “they” the rich and famous, are only human. And their families? They didn’t sign up for this, they’re just part of the machine that grinds them up, and spits them out.

And yes, if you are curious, you will learn a few more details about the whole Britney ordeal. But that is not what you will take away from this book.

Will this book keep me from following celebrity gossip? No. But it will remind me to think twice before I jump to judgment. To try and see the “story” behind the “story”. Because there is always more to the story.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Getting into the Spirit of Christmas

In case you were wondering, there are 22 days left till Christmas.

Wait, let me say that again...22 days.

Are you ready? Because I? Am so not ready.

Let me tell you how NOT ready I am. I haven't even THOUGHT about Christmas yet this year. With the youth retreat to prepare for the last two months, along with everything else I had going on, I couldn't even fathom adding thoughts of Christmas into the mix.

So, I postponed any Christmas related thoughts and tasks until "after the retreat". Well, folks, this week is "after the retreat", so I've had to finally face facts. I need to prepare.

And you know what? I'm giddy with excitement. I love Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. The decorations, the songs (don't tell anyone), the sappy movies, the shopping, giftwrapping, and especially gift giving, the parties, the family and friend time, the charity...all of it. I love it.

This year, especially, being in the spiritual place I'm at, I'm looking forward to enjoying this Holy-Day remembering exactly what it is that we celebrate on this day. Let's not forget what this season is all about.

So, today, as my body begins to recover a little more from this past weekend (and the utter lack of sleep all weekend long), I begin making lists. Lists of things I need to do, lists of gifts I need to buy, party lists, organizational lists, Christmas card lists...and this weekend, I break out the decorations and bring Christmas to my house.

I can't wait.

What are you excited for this season?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

You Win Some, You Lose Some - And Happy Thanksgiving

Well, as you can probably see by the fact that it's been almost a week since my last post, I threw in the towell on NaBloPoMo. Life has been a little hectic these last few weeks in November, and I made a decision to let this one go.

HOWEVER, just today my bloggy friends I uploaded my manuscript for the official word counter at NaNoWriMo. And yours truly? A WINNER:

I'm so excited to have been able to participate and win this year. The best part is that my novel is actually nowhere near finished, there's still so much story left to tell, that I can hardly wait to get back to it and continue to develop and expand on what I started this month. I'll be taking a break from it (and from all technology) this weekend, but have great hopes for this little novel of mine.

This coming weekend I will be working a youth retreat and will be disconnected entirely from the interwebs...leaving the blackberry at home and all. I'm looking forward to the spiritual retreat and a weekend that I know will be good for my soul and my heart. The prep work for this retreat has been tremendous and is on going even today, on Turkey Day, but will all be worth it in the end.

I ask that if you pray, you keep us, the team putting this thing together, and the teens attending the retreat, in your prayers.

I'll be logging off shortly, to return on Monday and jump into the Christmas season with all of you...I'm so excited about the holidays this year, I can't wait to fully delve into them.

For today, I leave you with this:

Happy Thanksgiving Bloggy Friends!!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Only The Good Friday - The One About Turkeys and Savings

It’s that time again, Only The GOOD Friday, time to spread some positive thanks to Shelly at This Eclectic Life.

I’ve actually had to dig deep for this one this week folks, because it’s cold out, I’m no longer on vacation, and there have been some pretty grim things surrounding me this week as well.

BUT, since it is “ONLY THE GOOD” Friday, and we’re supposed to spread joy, and good, and positivity, I kept digging.

And digging…

Really, I’m not in a bad mood today, so there’s got to be some good to spread, right?

And digging…

Life is good, I’m a positive person, I know I’ve got some good to share…


AHA! I’ve got it.

Next week is Thanksgiving. Time for family and turkey and traditions.

One of my fellow SheWhoBloggers is having a Holiday Contest over at her blog
Lucky Dorito, and I think it would be great fun to participate. She’s looking for Our Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions, do you have one? Head on over there and see what it’s all about it. I’ll be participating, and putting up my tradition post next week, so come on back to check it out. And if you do participate, let me know, I want to read all about your favorites. By the way, there's PRIZES, and one of them? COFFEE... I thought that might get your attention!

Of course, with Thanksgiving, comes Black Friday, what my friend Shopaholic and I have coined “The Shopping Olympics”. We shop all year just so we can train for the Shopping Olympics.

But, if you’re going to venture out to the Black Friday sales, you must be prepared. So I thought I’d share with you a website that sends you all the ads and specials going on not only on that day, but from now until Christmas pretty much. CHECK IT OUT:

And in keeping with the sale information, because is there anything better than saving money, I’ve got another great website for you. You know those circulars and flyers you get in the Sunday paper? Well, I don’t know about you, but I love looking through those things. However, I don’t actually get the Sunday paper. But, now you can check out all the circulars and sales on-line.

OH, and one more thing…if we’re going to be spreading the good, and sharing and all that, how about you do a little something for someone else in the process? It will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, don’t you think?

Shelly, she who started Only The Good Fridays, is collecting “charms” for her
Good Medicine Project so she can send some medicine bags to kids with cancer at Camp Sanguinity. You don’t have to do much, but it will make such a big difference. Hop on over and see what it’s all about, won’t you? I’ve got my charms ready to go, just need to put them in the mail, which I will be doing next week.

Okay, well, that’s it, that’s my good for today. Go out there, spend time with you family, have some turkey, make some kids smile and save some money.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Tattoo Verdict

So, if you recall, before I went away on my little escape to paradise, I left you all with a quandry: To tattoo or not to tattoo?

Still a bit high off my meeting with the one and only Donnie Wahlberg, the celebrity crush of my teen years, I was debating whether I would permanently mark my wrist with a memory of his autograph there etched. It looked like this:

I even had a poll on my sidebar, and asked for your opinions. I'll have you know that several of you told me I should just go for it. Some of you told me to be a bit more conservative and just get the star. And others told me I was nuts, don't do it.

I considered all your opinions, and made my own decision based on two things. 1. The pain factor, as I was told the wrist is one of the most painful places to get tattooed and 2. timing. As I was leaving for Florida the next day, and would be at the beach for most of that week, timing was of the essence in this decision making process.

However, as fate would have it, on my walk to the beach, from my friend's apartment, I walked by not one, but TWO tattoo shops.

So...ladies and gentleman, I present to you, my wrist:

No...I didn't do it. I very honestly considered doing the star, but then...well, the beach was calling my name.
I might still get it done one of these days, the star, I mean. I have a photo, I know where it should go.

But for now, I remain ink free, there at least.

I still have this one on my back.

That'll do for now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Weighty Issue

When I began into this whole "getting my body and health back" plan, I really didn't know that I would be capable of the success I've had.

I thought I'd lose a few pounds, feel a little better about myself, but then give up, as I've always seemed to do in the past.

When I set my initial goal weight, I really saw it more as a "wish" than as a "goal".

But now, here I am, three months later, and only about 2 lbs. away from that goal weight. Not only that, but I've become so focused and determined, that I added an additional five pounds to that goal weight (or should I say subtracted), so that I now plan to go even lower.

I feel great, I look great, and there's no stopping me now.

But then, last week, I went on vacation.

Now, I don't know about you, but a vacation to me is a sure fire way to come home with an extra 5 to 10 lbs. EASILY.

So, I made a plan. I was going to walk a lot, and choose the healthier options on all the menus, all week long. I couldn't make any promisses about my alcohol intake, however. But the food, the food I was going to watch.

Because my typical "Weigh-in" day is on Wednesday, and I was leaving for Florida on Tuesday, I stepped on a scale at home before I left, and figured I'd lost about 1.3 lbs in the week after my last weigh in, and the time I left for vacation.

So, now I just had to try and not completely blow it.

Then I arrived in Florida, and entered full vacation mode. And made a conscious decision to throw caution to the wind, and eat whatever my little heart desired. Still trying to maintain a healthy "ideal", I hit a grocery store and stocked up on fruits, baby carrots, yogurt and 100 calorie snack packs for the beach.

But other than that, I broke all the rules. I ate pizza, I ate cheeseburgers, I ate pasta alfredo, I even ate fried foods, which I don't even eat when I'm NOT on a diet. And you know what? I enjoyed EVERY BITE.

We won't discuss the alcohol intake. Let's just say, there was plenty.

I also did walk. A LOT. Every day I walked to and from the beach, around the beach, and everywhere you can imagine in the Ft. Lauderdale area.

I returned home knowing I'd definitely put on weight. I had no doubts in my mind about it and I was fearing that walk of shame to and from the scale at my weigh in tonight.

Lo and behold, the scale smiled at me tonight. I'd dropped .2 lbs from my last weigh in.

This means I did put on a little over a pound while in Florida. Really? I'll take it.

So now, I'm back on track, and even more full of motivation, because if I could manage to go on vacation and not completely derail myself? Well, there's no stopping me now, is there?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A few more photos

Too cold, tired and overwhelmed with "back to reality" stuff to form enough thoughts for a post tonight.

So, I figured I'd just share some more photos, so you can go back to the beach with me...Enjoy:

Le sigh...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Really, really short post

I'm so cheating today. But it appears that somehow, in the midst of my vacation, I managed to post every day, so I'm still IN NaBloPoMo after all.

Yet, today, after a full day of traveling, I just don't have the energy for an actual post, so I'm totally cheating.
Instead of a post, you get this:

Where I still wish I was tonight. Sigh...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

All Good Things...

Sunday night is here, and with it the end of my vacation.

Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end, I guess.

As I board my plane tomorrow afternoon, I'm leaving behind the sun, and the beach, the warm temps, and the lifestyle of "nothingness" I've grown so used to this week.

It'll be hard to leave all this peace and beauty behind.

But then, returning home has its own beauty. At home I return to my family, my amazing friends, and the comfort of my own home.

I return to a job that in all reality, I enjoy, and to sleeping in my own, oh so comfortable bed.

I also return to my routines, back to eating on some sort of schedule, getting to the gym and taking care of myself.

I can get back to blogging from a computer instead of my blackberry, and back to working on my NaNoWriMo novel, which I've fallen so far behind on.

Yes, it will be hard to leave the beach behind, but I'll be glad to be home as well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Return of the Monarch

Short post tonight, as its been a long day and I'm exhausted.

Besides, I have an early morning tomorrow, since it is my last beach day before I head back to reality and cold temps.

Tonight though I'm thinking about butterflies.

If you are one of my regular readers (do I even have any of those?), then you know that this past summer I got my very first tattoo.

The tattoo, of a cross and a butterfly represents my faith. My re-entry into my faith. My feeling that I came out of a cocoon and emerged a butterfly, full of the beauty that is my faith.

Also, I chose the butterfly because since this renewal of my faith began, I've been seeing a butterfly everywhere I turn.

To me this butterfly represents so many things, but chief among them, when I see it, I just know. I know I've made the right decisions, I know God is with me in those moments, I know.

I was sad to see the winter come, sure that with the colder weather, the likelihood of me seeing "my" butterfly would lessen and then disappear.

Imagine then, my great pleasure at having encountered my little monarch a dozen times since I've been in Florida.

I know.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Only The Good Friday - The Vacation Edition

Okay, so, I'm posting this from my Blackberry, which I haven't quite mastered yet, so bear with me.

I'm not sure how to post links with it yet, so I'll just tell you to go visit Shelly (who's url address escapes me at the moment, sorry) but if you check out my post from last Friday, all the info is there on where to go for the rules to Only The Good Fridays!

Okay, right, now that we've got all that out of the way, on with the good.

As I'm sitting at the beach as I write this, we'll keep it simple and do a word game.

As in, words that make me smile:








Hot men (lol)




Blackberry (since it's kept me in touch w all of you)

Journal (I started journaling this week and think I'll keep it up)


Nothingness (which I've done a whole lot of this week)




That's it, that's my good for the week. I'm going for a dip in the ocean.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

a boost of confidence

The funniest thing has happened to me in the last several weeks. It all has to do with this boost of confidence I've experienced with my weight loss.

Or maybe it's something completely different. Maybe it has to do with my new outlook on life. My realization that I've spent enough time just "going through the motions" and its time I LIVE my life.

Or maybe its a combination of both.

Or maybe, its neither and instead is something completely different.

Whatever the reason for it, something interesting has happened to me.

If you know me at all, then you'll know how hard it is for me to admit the following,so be kind to me.

See, I've become a bit boy crazy. There, I said it.

It seems, you see, that not only am I ready to date again, but I'm actually really and trully enjoying the "hunt".

The flirting with strangers, the checking out random men in random places, the what ifs, "I wonder what his deal is" and "did he just smile at me?"

I'm enjoying it all.

And here, in South Florida this week? I'm really having a ball with the guys.

But mostly, I'm enjoying the fact that after all this time, I am once again comfortable enough in my own skin to do this all over again.

Funny how that works, ain't it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Day at the Beach

As I write this post, I am sitting outside in a restaurant across the street from the beach.

I am eating crab bisque (diet be damned) and waiting for my steamed clams.

I spent the better part of today alone, on the beach, reading, writing, listening to music.

People watching also kept me entertained, as did the mere act of just "being".

I have been reminded again today of just how much I love to travel. Even more so I am reminded how much I love to do it alone.

I never feel lonely in these situations. I do, however, feel strong. Independent. Unafraid of anything.

In a few hours my friend Traveller will be off work, and we have dinner plans tonight with one of her friends.

No doubt we will have fun.

But for now I bask in the solitude and enjoy my beer by the beach.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blessed Journey

Sitting here, after a day of travelling alone to reach a destination where I was literally welcomed with open arms. My friend opened up her heart and her home to me, and now, as I lie here, enjoying the breeze through open windows on a November evening, I can't help but feel blessed.
In need of a vacation, so long overdue, I feel refreshed already and I basically just arrived.

Can't wait to see what the rest of the week has in store for me!

Monday, November 10, 2008


If you're looking for the "full" story of how I met my teen idol this weekend, and to find out what the verdict is on the Tattoo situation...stay tuned, I'll have that for you later, promise!

However, I've decided that since I'm only "un-officially" participating in NaBloPoMo (not having actually signed up at the official website, and only doing it because I needed to revive this blog), it is completely okay if I take a vacation from posting while I'm on "vacation" this week.

At first, I thought I would pre-write a bunch of posts and have them ready to post throughout the week, but then I got busy, and well...I didn't. Therefore, depending on my internet availability this coming week, I may or may not post here and there, but I will NOT be posting daily.

I don't feel guilty about it. I will be on a beach or poolside in Fort Lauderdale all week.

I will, however, be taking a journal with me, and keep track of my vacation, so that I can share all sorts of anecdotes with you when I return next week.

I will also be on my blackberry, so if you're on Twitter, you can certainly follow my adventures there. You can find me here.

And yes, I do plan on continuing with my NaNoWriMo novel while down there. There will be some down time when I intend on doing a bit of writing. Even if I end up writing in my journal and having to type it in when I return...because I'm leaning toward leaving the trusty laptop at home. It is, after all, a vacation.

My first vacation in almost 3 years.

I will not stress, I will not obsess, I will enjoy myself.

I will miss all of you, but I promise to come back with goodies!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Oh What a Night...

No time for an elaborate post this morning...but I promisse full details later on. In the meantime, I'm asking for your votes in a poll on my sidebar.

A little quick background story before that...I was a die hard NKOTB (That's New Kids on the Block for the un-initiated) fan back in the day. WHen they announced their reunion this year, I was all over it. Last night I went to my second concert of the tour, had a blast, and then after the show, met Donnie Wahlberg, who was always my favorite. (MERE INCHES from me here...my hand might or might not have been on his arm at this point).He was, basically, THE teen idol of my lifetime, the one celebrity I still sort of melt over whenever I see him anyway (yes, I'm in my 30's, AND?)

So, yeah, met him last night. More on that later, but he did this:

So, here's where the poll comes in, to tattoo, or not to tattoo? Check the sidebar, let me know...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Photo Hunt #33 - Together

The Photo Hunt theme today is "Together". In light of the fact that I am once again going to see my favorite "Boy Band" from childhood tonight, a band that is "together" again after 15 years, I figured what could be more fitting than a few pics from the concert I attended in September.

Yeah, okay, whatever, call me silly, call me a groupie, whatever...I'm having fun. That is all!

Because I won't be at a computer all day today, I won't actually be signing onto the Photo Hunter site with my entry this week, but you can still check out other entries by clicking on the logo above.

Later, I'm off to Mohegan Sun to get my Donnie hug.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Only The Good Fridays - Doing it the Write Way

It's Friday once again, which means it is time for ONLY THE GOOD Friday, the "feel good" meme started by my buddy Shelly over at "This Eclectic Life".

Today I want to focus on good, clean, writing fun. Call it a bit of shameless self-promotion along with a bit of inspiration to get you out there to do some WRITING!!!

It seems the whole of the blogosphere (and non-bloggers as well through out the interwebs) are in a writing frenzy this month.

You see, it is
NaNoWriMo, which, for the uninitiated (or perhaps, UN-Insane), stands for National Novel Writing Month. a month in which those of us who happen to be slightly insane, sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Yours truly, OF COURSE, signed up. You can find me here if you want to be my "buddy" at the NaNo site, by the way. Also, if you'd like to take a sneak peek at what I'm writing, here's a tiny excerpt.

I'm happy to tell you that this year (unlike the great fiasco last year), I'm having much success with inspiration, and as of last night my word counter read 13,280 words.

November also happens to be
NaBloPoMo, which is National Blog Posting Month. Or a month when those of us doubly insane commit to posting a blog entry every single day of the month. I say doubly insane because I'm speaking of myself, of course, but some folks are only doing one or the other. I am un-officially doing both. By this I mean that I officially signed up for NaNoWriMo, but have not officially signed up for NaBloPoMo. Still, I am attempting to write a post daily, and so far, so good.

As if all that wasn't enough, today also happens to be the day for you lovely folks out there to post your second entry to
Karina's Alphabet Soup, the new writing/photography meme I started over at Creative Karina. Mine is up, and I hope you'll join me.

AND even more writing fun, today is also the day for
Pensieve's Poetic License. My post is up here as well.

So, you see, lot's of good clean writing fun on this GOOD FRIDAY.

Go visit
Shelly to join in on the fun!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Battle of The Bulge - Keep Keepin' On

So, the Battle of the Bulge Challenge was for the month of October. But, since I had started my own Battle in August, and plan on continuing it for a few months more...for me it was just a way to stay accountable during that month. It is now over, and our lovely hostess reached her goal (Yay Amber), and posted all about it here.
I had my weigh in last night, which would round out my "October Results". So, although this will be the last "Battle of the Bulge" post, it will not be my last "weight loss" post, because I'm going to keep going until I reach my goal.

AND IN FACT, I have changed my goal. I have now officially added 5 pounds to my weight loss goal, which means that I have a little further to go now, but MAN am I going to look HOT when I get there. lol ;-)

So, here we go with my results for the week. This week I lost yet another 1.6 lbs, bringing my total weight loss to 16.6 lbs. I am not afraid to tell you that the numbers on my scale right now I haven't seen since I was in my mid 20's, and they make me very happy. I am only 2.8 lbs away from my initial goal. But I am now officially 7.8 lbs away from my FINAL goal. And the thing is, now I know I can do it!

As to what I did this past week, food wise, I stuck with my 5 days of Jenny Meals, and 2 days of my own meals. On the days of my own meals I'm trying to stick to the basics of lots of veggies, eating every three hours, healthy snacks, and healthy portion sizes.

Exercise wise, this week was my first real week of incorporating exercise into the plan. I joined a gym last Wednesday and began very elementary cardio work-outs on Friday. I went to the gym Friday, Monday and Wednesday. I also did a bit of dancing Friday night (though that was quite possibly cancelled out by all the wine I drank that night) and went for an almost 2 mile walk with Mom on Thursday.

The plan for this coming week remains the same...to eat the same way, and to try to fit at least 3 days of the gym, though with my schedule this coming week, that might be a bit of a stretch. Still, we'll do what we can, right?

The challenge will be next week, because yours truly will be vacationing in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and I have no intention of marring my vacation by stressing over food and exercise. I will try to pick the healthier options wherever we go out to eat, but I can guarantee you there will be martinis involved throughout much of the week. I will also try to exercise some, but there will lost of lounging around in the sun to compensate for that as well.

We'll see how I do with "real life" in the mix.

For now, I have to tell you something...I'm thrilled with the changes I've seen in my body, and as a former "skinny girl" who was always made to feel badly about how thin I was, it's actually been kind of nice to begin getting those comments again. However, I have actually had those feelings of "guilt" or "shame" about looking good creep back in. How strange is that? Now, when someone says to me "you're looking great, man you've lost a lot of weight" I find myself making excuses or explaining myself, as in "well, I've worked really hard" or "Well, I still haven't gotten there". Funny right?

Who would have thought I'd be more self-conscious about being thin than fat? Guess the skinny girl never left, she was just enjoying the break from all the attention.

Regardless, I'm so ready to let her come back out to play.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My Non-Political Political Post

I’m not an overly political person. Wait, maybe I should retype that…I’m not an OVERTLY political person. I have strong beliefs, strong ideals, strong stands on things, but I’m not the type to ram them down anybody’s throat. In all honesty, you believe what you believe, I believe what I believe, and unless your beliefs offend me on a deeply personal level, I won’t really say anything to you about them. If you are offending me or those I love and care for, well, that may very well be a different story, but otherwise, I’m a firm believer in “Live and let live”. I may think you’re an idiot, but I won’t say it out loud. After all, this is America, and we are blessed with the freedom to have our own opinions. That’s why I love this country so much, and don’t think I’d ever want to live anywhere else.

And because I feel so strongly about not arguing pointlessly about political beliefs, I’ve refrained from commenting on this blog about my stand on the election. Candid Karina is my little world away from “the world” and I didn’t want to invite the sorts of things political discussions can bring into this world.

I don’t think it was any big mystery where I stood on the election, but I just didn’t feel the need to get into all of that here.

I still don’t. That’s not what this post is about.

This post is about how I’ve completely fallen in love with America all over again. Last night, hearing the numbers come in, I was hit with a bit of nostalgia. Nostalgia for those days when I was young and living in Portugal, knowing that one day soon I would move to the land of opportunity. America, the promised land. Where I could be anything, do anything, achieve anything. A country where all men AND women are equals, and the only obstacle to getting what you want is your own lack of motivation to do it.

My parents uprooted themselves when I was 10 years old to give my brother and I a chance at a future only America could give us. And I’ve always believed in the American Dream.

Over the last 8 years this country has seen a lot of turmoil, pain, disappointment and crushing of that very dream. I’m not blaming “that guy” alone for this. There were events beyond his control, there were tragedies, nightmares, and so many other culprits in creating the dissatisfaction of Americans worldwide. But even I, an immigrant once so full of the hope and belief in the American Dream, stopped dreaming.

And yes, I realize that as a nation, we are highly flawed, and there is still such a long way to go before equality for all is a reality. I realize that glass ceilings, bigotry and hatred still exist. I realize that there are wounds too deep to heal maybe even in my lifetime. I know all that.

But here’s what else I know. I am a 30 something year old woman who owns her own home, ALL on her own. I have a college education, a good job, and the ability to get up on a Tuesday morning and vote. I can wear what I want, when I want, I can cut my hair short, or let it grow long. I can have many babies, or choose not to have any at all. Get married or stay single. Believe in God, and talk about it…or not. I can be friends with people who may not agree with everything I believe in, and have that be okay too. I can date a black man, a white man, an Asian man. Hell, I could date a woman if I wanted to.

Yes, there are still many battles to be fought, but that American Dream? Oh, how we take it for granted.

So yesterday I voted. And if you didn’t, shame on you. No matter WHO you supported, that vote counted. It counted because it was your voice, so it counted FOR YOU if for nothing else.
I was so proud last night to hear about the high numbers of people who realized that, and got out and voted. It is those numbers, the numbers of people who got out and cast their votes that have me feeling hopeful and proud to be an American this morning. It is not about WHO we elected, it is about the fact that we showed up in record numbers to do it. Highest number of voters since women got the right to vote in 1908. That says a lot, don’t you think?

What it says to me is that we are ready to be active members of this great nation. To participate, to speak up, to be citizens.

I have my own thoughts and feelings about our President-Elect. About how I think he has an incredibly tough road ahead of him, and no matter what he accomplishes, it won’t be “enough” to those who oppose him. About how refreshing it will be to have a president who can speak eloquently. About how history was made last night. About whether or not I agree with what he stands for. A lot of thoughts, a lot of feelings.

But there is only one feeling I have for America today, and that is one of hope. We the people came together yesterday and voted. We the people decided it was time to get involved. I hope we the people can continue to care for this great nation and bring it back to that Promised Land I used to dream of as a child.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Don't Vote

No, really, your vote doesn't count, right? So...don't vote.


For God's sakes, get out there and vote today. Be a voice, use your voice, so you can have a voice.

That Is All!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Manic Monday Musings

Oh Mondays...don't you just love Mondays? Yeah, I don't particularly like them either to be honest.

Which is actually odd, because I'm the kind of person that trully enjoys "beginnings", fresh starts, hitting the old refresh button. And you would think that a Monday would feel like a "refresh" for me, right?

But no, instead it's just sort of a "ugh, already?" kind of thing. And it's not even that I dread going to work now (as I used to in former jobs), or that I think my weeks are particularly tough (because they are not, really). So, what is it about Mondays that just turns me off?

I think it's high time I turn this attitude off and begin looking anew at my Mondays. After all, a brand new week is nothing to scoff at.

And today, this Monday, brings with it not only a brand new week, but a brand new month as well. We're in November folks. Can you believe it?

November is shaping up to be a very busy month for yours truly. Busy, eventful and I think quite enjoyable.

So today I thought I'd just do a bit of housekeeping here at Candid Karina's to start the month off right.

Here's what I've got going on this month:
  • NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month - Kicked off on Saturday and I started it with a bang, knocking 4,745 words out in a few hours. I've already completely fallen in love with my story and my characters and have very high hopes for NaNo this month. I will be sharing "excerpts" of the novel at Creative Karina throughout the month, with the first peek being posted THIS WEDNESDAY. I'll let you know here, but please come by and let me know what you think, won't you?
  • NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month - I'm actually not entirely sure if this is officially happening this month or not, I've heard conflicting reports (and can't seem to get on the site today). I'm not officially signing up for it anyway, but have decided to UN-officially attempt it here at Candid Karina. This blog (well, all my blogs really) has been pretty neglected recently, and it was a similar challenge that kicked me off posting regularly years ago, so I figured I'd inject a little life into Candid Karina by trying to post every day this month. Should be a challenge with the schedule I'm keeping this month, but we'll see how it goes.
  • Karina's Alphabet Soup - My brand new meme, which I kicked off last month at Creative Karina, is going live with it's second installment (the letter "B") on Friday. I hope you'll join in.
  • Then there are my guest spots on other blogs...SheWhoBlogs (which I owe Frances a post for, I believe, and will work on getting that to her in the next few days); Inspired Bliss (which I truly am excited about, and am working on yet another post for as we speak), and a few others that I volunteered to help on but have yet to actually do anything...I'm working on some stuff, and will let you all know as soon as I've organized myself.
  • And there's my other very neglected blog, Cafe Karina. I've actually got a book review I'm working on for that, and will have a concert review as well as of Saturday.
  • OOH yes, and I owe some of my Inspired Blissionistas some buttons I volunteered to make...I haven't forgotten you ladies, my world has just been crazy lately...but I promisse, they're coming.
  • Oh, also, if I owe you a meme you've tagged me for...now would be a great time to remind me, so that I can add them to my posting schedule for November...

There's the blogging stuff...but wait, there's more. My personal schedule is kind of crazy as well.

  • There's work, keeping my house in order, and the whole weight loss thing. I've joined a gym. I intend of going to the gym at least 3 days a week to start, so I can add that to my busy calendar.
  • Then there's the youth group, with a few events throughout the month of November.
  • I'm also going to be working a youth retreat on Thanksgiving weekend, and every Sunday we meet to prep for this weekend for several hours. Most of my Sundays are actually taken up with this.
  • I am going to see New Kids on the Block in concert again this coming Saturday. Go ahead, call me a groupie, I don't really care, I'm LOVING IT. And in fact, I might be going to see them on Thursday as well.
  • THEN, next Tuesday I'm taking a much needed and much deserved vacation. The first real vacation I've had since my trip to Mexico almost 3 years ago. I am going to visit my friend Traveller in Florida for a week. It is going to be a week of sunning, relaxing, and hopefully writing. Some martini drinking, flirting with her Brazilian neighbors and a little bit of Nascar thrown in for good measure. I can't wait.
  • November also means Thanksgiving, and at some point, I should probably start my Christmas shopping.
  • Then the last weekend of November I will be away on the youth retreat.

And in the midst of all this, I'm also going to try and have a social life. Because well...why not?

And you know what? I'm looking forward to this month like I haven't looked forward to a month in ages. I think it's going to be crazy, insane, busy, exhausting...and exhilirating, enjoyable, spiritual, social, relaxing...In a word? LIFE.

I'm ready! Bring it...