Hot Chocolate’s Lesson

Not sure what this says about me but sometimes I do things I know I am not prepared for but I do them anyway. I also go all out when I do them, even if I don’t know what the heck I am doing or why I am doing it.

Take the Hot Chocolate 5K for instance. When I registered for it I was doing really well with training consistently but only doing run/walk intervals. My time was getting better so I got zealous and decided to register for a 12 min mile. I knew I would be able to do that just fine. Then…. Life happened.

I slacked on training because time was not my friend. I spent more time in a car driving everyone around and running errands than anything. I neglected what I needed to do help keep me sane and balanced. Needless to say, as the 5K got closer I got more nervous. As I sat in a coral, with a sign that said “No Walkers”… I began to get scared. This facial expression was REAL!!!

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Thankfully, my friend was encouraging and also laughing at me being so silly. She didn’t understand…. I was NOT a runner. I wasn’t ready to be a runner. I was a pretend runner. I had no choice though. Everyone around me was going to run and ready or not, so was I.

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It was cold. It was uncomfortable. It was fun! I was able to set a pace that I was comfortable with and work to get my breathing under control. I admit I did have to get on the sidewalk a couple of times to catch my breath, but overall I ran. I was so amazed at myself. I remember at one point asking myself, “Why is running this 5k so easy for me?” It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It wasn’t as scary as I thought I was going to be. I finished my race and I did so by beating my best time… And my average pace was 12.36. Not too bad for a girl who hasn’t trained!!!

What did I learned from this? I learned that I may not be prepared for what is in front of me and I may be a little scared, but if I put my mind to it I CAN do it. I have also learned that if I say I am a success at something, well maybe I am. It will just look a little different than someone else’s definition of success. I am a runner. I can do it. It feels great!

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The end results are sweet. Maybe even a little sweeter than hot chocolate. Maybe.

Marshmallow madness

Some of the things I love having B in preschool is being reminded how fun can be so simple.  A few weeks ago his teacher sent home a bag with mini marshmallows and toothpicks.  My immediate thought was, “Oh he will never eat these”.  That’s when B informed me they weren’t for eating but for building.  How did I not think of this?  Did I miss this Pinterest post somewhere?

What has ensued the past few weeks has been nothing short of marshmallow madness.  I have picked up more of those little boogers around the house, but we have also had a lot of fun with them.  For me, it’s a reminder that with all of the technology out there, that kids really do like all kinds of fun that requires use of their brain, exploration, and absolute silliness.

I have to admit that I have forgotten what we used to do when we took our oldest our to dinner (pre-iPhone days).  I hate that I have forgotten that.  So now, my goal is to find as many silly games that he can play while we are out to dinner.  I also want to get silly with stuff we have at home and explore with that.  He loves fun science projects!

So, next time you find yourself at a loss as to what to do with the kiddos, get some mini marshmallows and toothpicks.  Get crazy with them and see what you can come up with.  They will love it!

Chaperone fun

My oldest child, 14 (about to be 15), has his first girlfriend. He obviously wants to spend a lot of time with her and he spends a lot of time texting/talking to her on the phone. This is all new territory for our family. What to do?

We decided that he could ask her on a date, but either his dad or I would be there. CHAPERONE! When my son asked me for dating ideas I drew a blank because I have no clue. What do teenagers do on a date? Especially teens who can’t drive or have a job! He was totally cool with going to an indoor putt putt place at the mall and the dinner.

The tricky part is how to give them sometime to talk by themselves but not allow them to take off by themselves. I am okay with them hanging out but I am not okay with them being unsupervised. The idea hit me…. Don’t actually give him any money to take her out. In order to do anything I have to be with them (I impress me sometimes).

So I am sitting on the bench reading this awesome book called “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown and waiting for them to decide they are hungry. I hope it’s soon because I am ready to eat!

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Ice Bucket Challenge

Like everyone else I have watched many people take on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness.  I have honestly rolled my eyes at it and thought, “What a silly stunt”.  I started scrolling past them and thought it was just another thing we Americans did to do something stupid.  I didn’t bother to even research what it was.  Then I watched the special on Sports Center regarding Pete Frates and his story.  With tears in my eyes, I saw a young vibrant man overtaken by this horrible disease and then I understood the whole purpose of the challenge.  Sure to raise money but to educate people about it.  What a simple technique!  Pour a bucket of ice cold water over your head while being videotaped, challenge your buddies to do the same, and blam… it takes off!

I felt better and started to enjoy the videos but was thankful no one had challenged me on it UNTIL the other day.  I was challenged by my older brother.  He has picked on me since the day I was born.  Argh!  I am one of those donate quietly kind of people.  I rarely share about things that I do in regards to helping others because I don’t need the glory and I don’t like to boast.  I am not comfortable with it but I know my siblings and they would razz hard core if I didn’t do something.  I chose to take if publicly to avoid sibling razzing.  I’m weak.

I had to wait until my whole family was home to do it because I wanted them all be involved.  I wanted them to know and understand why I was about to pour a bucket of ice cold water over my head.  I had my oldest do the main pouring (I figured he would enjoy that more than he did) and the youngest “help”.  It’s not a flashy video, but I did it and we have donated as well.  I seriously did not grasp how freakishly cold that was going to be.  It takes your breath away for a moment.  If you care to watch it, you can do so HERE.  If not, that’s cool too. Just learn about it and donate if you can.  www.alsa.org

I am thinking there are a lot of subjects that our society need to know about and if pouring a bucket of cold water over their heads educates them, I say open up the faucets and go for it!

 

 

 

 

Turn it up!

I have been awake since 3:30 AM and I am currently in the stupid stage. The stage where I find everything funny and do stupid stuff. I know the crash is coming and it’s going to be awful. I’ve got peppermint & wild orange diffusing but it’s going to take a little more than that to keep me moving. I did the second best thing… I turned on my iTunes radio and found a fun station. I geekily chose the “boy band” station because I can not lie… I loved New Kids on the Block, N’sync, 98 Degrees, and I’m sure a slew of others that I can’t recall right now.

I have been dancing like a fool and cracking myself up. The looks from my oldest are priceless and my youngest is dancing along with me. I have no clue if this will make the crash worse but for now I am going to jam out to B2K (Bump Bump Bump) because… why not. Turning up music loud has been shown to lift up your mood and keep you energized. I’m hoping it works. Bedtime isn’t for another 2 1/2 hours.

Corn Flies

Write this one down folks! I am going to give you an amazing tip to help keep flies & ants away from the patio table while dining outside. Besides using TerraShield to keep mosquitos away, we found that putting eaten corn on a plate and placing it away from the table kept the flies from bothering us. The flies went nuts attacking the corn and seriously left us alone. It was awesome AND kind of gross because there were a lot of flies on the corn, but they weren’t bothering us so I won’t complain!

I am sure this could work with a lot of food, but we found they liked the corn best. It was good corn! Enjoy your next BBQ without flies bothering you. 🙂

Happy Independence Day

I hope you have an awesome day celebrating the day where America became a free country. A country that decided it was time to put the power and responsibility with the people of the country instead of just the Governement. The day we were free to practice our religion the way our heart believed, to freely speak against our government without fear of persecution, the freedom to protect ourselves from those who wish to harm us, and so many more freedoms. To me, it almost seemed like they were experimenting with common sense and it was the greatest experiment ever.

Today, it seems we have lost our identity and have messed with the Bill of Rights to the point where it’s unrecognizable. There are so many laws that honestly, it makes the Bill of Rights kind of fuzzy. What once seemed so simple and effortless has become a hot confusing and uncomfortable.

When I think of freedom of Government I must think of the freedom in Christ. Let’s be honest, our government loves power and we all know there are more laws that we can handle. We are probably breaking laws we are even unaware of because there are so many of them. They probably don’t even know what laws they have made. It’s this that makes me step back and breath a breathe of freedom. I honestly know what it’s like to feel free through Christ. When I accepted Jesus as my savior the void that was in my heart disappeared. It was as if His spirit filled it and I finally was free. God’s laws are way more simple that man’s laws. When the disciples as what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your sould, and all your mind. This the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) It doesn’t get any more simple than that. If we actually followed this law, then we wouldn’t need all the little, petty laws that contradict each other from our government.

Today I am celebrating with my family and sharing with my kids the history of our country. To keep the story and celebration alive so my kids will know what it means when we say, “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”. I am thankful over and over to those who gave their time, efforts, and ultimate sacrifice so that we may know what a free country is. They still fight today in lands where the people do not know freedom of religion, speech, security, employment, and even love. Honor the armed forces and their families. Lift them up in prayer. They are doing some ugly work in order for us to feel free in our country. Never forget this.

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There are all kinds of freedoms, but the one I lift up the most is the freedom I have in Christ. It protects me from the ugly of this world. Maybe not physically, but it protects my heart and my soul. The American soldier protects our Bill of Rights. Let’s celebrate them. Celebrate our founding fathers for having the courage to stand up against total control of the people. Let’s celebrate freedom!

Waffles are great!

Did you know have if you have a really picky eater and don’t go to the grocery store for a while, they will eventually eat something else? My youngest just wolfed down two waffles and keeps saying how great they are. It makes me not want to go to the grocery store today.

I have always heard that if they are hungry enough they will eat what you put in front of them. I am one of those who wasn’t willing to let him go hungry. Now, it wasn’t on purpose that he didn’t have his staples in the house… I just haven’t had time to get to the store. If I wasn’t responsible for feeding the others, I wouldn’t go BUT since I am the main one who feeds the family I guess I’ll need to do it.

Just thought I would share. He just asked for another waffle! WooHoo!!

Luxurious Chores

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I do not enjoy the repeated daily chore of laundry. I despise laundry. It’s actually the part of folding I don’t like. I can wash & dry all day, but folding… ugh. It’s horrible. I have no idea what my block is on folding laundry. I know I am not alone in this because when I tell my girlfriends this, it’s universal. We all hate folding clothes.

Maybe it’s because we know that the same shirt we washed, dried, and folded will be on the floor or (hopefully) in the hamper tomorrow. We will do the same thing exact thing tomorrow and sometimes it’s just frustrating. Doing the same exact thing over and over again can also get boring so today I ended up doing something unexpected and crazy.

Today I folded laundry with a glad heart. I started the folding process just to get it out of the way but somewhere in the middle of it I started praying. Prayer can happen anywhere and at any time so I went with it. It wasn’t like a prayer of, “Do you hear me” or “Please help so and so” or “I need patience”… it was of a small voice saying, “Thank you for this chore of laundry.” It shocked me. As I said it again the realization set on me that I was behaving like the spoiled girl I am. I cringe about folding loads and loads of laundry when there is someone out there right now without loads and loads of laundry because they don’t own anything more than what they wear on their backs. It was a humbling prayer.

It wasn’t one that I was seeking, but sometimes Jesus likes to remind us in subtle ways that we need to take step back and get over ourselves. I honestly wasn’t acting like a brat today. This may have been building and for whatever reason the prayer came about and today I gladly folded each piece of laundry. For the first time (and maybe the last… we will see how long this stays with me) I found laundry a beautiful thing. It was a chore of luxury.

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I think the above scripture is appropriate. Create in me a clean heart… a clean spirit… a clean mind. Clear my head of the expectations of this world and let me be glad. We are so busy and so overwhelmed that we miss the beauty for what we have in front of us. We take for granted that we even have loads of laundry to do, trash to take out, dishes to clean, and much more. Today’s event gave me a lesson in humility and maybe even got me to fold more laundry than I have ever had before.

I pray this lesson stays with me. Especially since I have two more loads of laundry to dry & fold.

The Kitchen House

This is the first year I have made a list of goals, posted them, shared them with y’all, and have actually kept myself to it. One of those goals was to read at least 1 book a month. I love reading but never make the time for it, so this is the year that I am making the time for it. Yay me!

My husband gave me the book titled “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom. He didn’t think too hard on it. He saw that it was a New York Times Bestseller so that make him feel better about his purchase, but he bought it because our last name is “Kitchen”. He’s deep and I love him for it!

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I decided to make “The Kitchen House” my January book and I am so glad I did. It is a great book. It’s based around the nineteenth century in Virginia. It follows the story of Lavinia, an orphan from Ireland and Belle, the illegitimate black daughter of the plantation’s master. From the moment the story starts you are completely invested. I won’t spoil any of the story for you because I believe you should read this book. The author did a great job of making your heart break for the main characters and join their journey towards freedom. At times it was hard to read because I just wanted to scream and yell at all of the evil, wicked characters. Another thing I got from the book is that at all times we never know the “whole story”. When you read it you will understand, but I was left wondering why I didn’t know more about what happened with a certain character. At the end, it dawned on me that it was because I was reading it from Belle & Lavinia’s perspective… they wouldn’t know the details either. They were women, regardless of color, and women were not privy to details. The main thing I loved loved loved about this story was that all of those living in the Kitchen House were family. They didn’t care about color… they loved. They weren’t all genetically related, but they loved. It’s beautiful.

This book spoke to me. Being born and raised in Atlanta I have been surrounded by racial history my whole life. Fortunately for me, I had a family that treated people as human beings and not as a skin color or gender. For the longest time I had no clue what racism was. I was in high school when I had my first experience with racism. I couldn’t wrap my head around why I was being threatened because of my skin color. Then when I was 15 in downtown Atlanta, there was a gang that decided to attack any white person they found. I saw a man holding his two year child beat down to the ground when it all started. Frightened we began to disperse, but I was slammed up against a wall. I fell to the ground at that was the extent of it. It was enough for me to be done with downtown Atlanta. This was in the early 90’s. I remember my ride home that I was filled with an anger I had not known before. I didn’t want to go to school out of fear that because of my color I would be attacked again. Then something amazing happened. I began to think about all of my friends and those I cared for.

See, a lot of my friends were black. They were very dear to me and I looked forward to hanging out with them every day. They brought me joy and laughter. It was at that moment that I my heart went from anger at an entire race to anger at the individual who committed the crime. As awful as that night was, it shaped me to who I am today. It made me strong in who I was and was not willing to allow a group of idiot boys develop of hateful heart for a group of people that had absolutely nothing to do with the situation. I still don’t get racism because it comes from a place of ignorance and hate that I don’t know or understand. I do not look at people and judge them based off color of skin, gender, sexuality, political affiliation, religion, and whatever it is you can judge people. I get to know people for who they are and if they aren’t jerks, I am open and accepting.

I hated the circumstances for Lavinia and Belle in this story. I wanted so bad to make it right for them and at one point, Lavinia tries and is beaten pretty badly for it. Alice Walker writes on the front of the book, “I recommend The Kitchen House. This novel, like The Help does important work.” It really does. It opens up the dialogue of a past that happened and how as a country we have moved way forward. There will always be people with a wicked heart and believe that their race, gender, sexuality, etc is far superior to others. No book, law, movement, or anything will make them change. It will have to be on their own accord.

If you don’t mind being uncomfortable at times, read this book! If you can’t stand being uncomfortable, read this book. I loved it.