Friday, January 30, 2009

Holding Myself Accountable

I started off this year with a list of goals and a promise that I would blog at teh end of each month with how I am progressing. Blogging about my progress holds me accountable - it's admitting to myself in written form whether I am succeeding or failing. So, let's see how I am doing so far.

My goals with an update added:

So far, I have exercied at least three times a week at the gym and at least moderate exercise daily. So far so good....

I am making healthier choices, especially at snacktime and sometimes, I avoid the after dinner snack altogether. Yeah, another thumbs up for me!

I am down 1.5 pounds since new years.

It's been hard to do much outside, including my gratitude walk as the weather has been so bad. We have had very deep snow this year - the worst in the last two years in a row. Excuses I know, but these two are a thumbs down. I haven't been consistendt.

I wasn't able to pay off the intended card in January. Hopefully February will be better. I did make above the minimum payment on all cards.

I do tell my family that I love them everyday and I mean it! I also have been blogging at least once a week - so that is good. I'm enjoying my writing more so that's also a plus.

I joined Facebook and that is fun. It is making keeping in touch with my friends a little easier too!

I have published some stories online but nothing more concrete yet. I need to work harder.

I have been saving a portion of my pay every month - so far so good.

The Brothers Karamozov by dostoevsky

The Castle by Kafka

Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by McCullers

The French Lieutenants Woman by Fowles - COMPLETED

On the Road by Kerouac

From Here to Eternity by Jones

The Postman Always Rings Twice by Cain

Atonement by McEwan

Terrorist by Updike

Plus 82 more!

I also read the Shack, The Pagan Stone and The Scarlet Pimpernel. I am currently working on A Lion Among Men and thoroughly enjoying it!!

I did my end of month update as promised - so far - so good!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Suck it up Buttercup.....

That's the catch phrase for some of the wives from our boat. As Navy wives, we know all about dealing with things, especially things that we don't particularly want to face.
My husband just got home from a six month deployment, just over a month ago. In two weeks, I get to look forward to saying goodbye....AGAIN. It's just enough time to get used to him being home, being here for our children, being here to help around the house, being in our bed every night and then all of a sudden....POOF! He's gone again.
I don't get angry with him. I know there is nothing he can do about it. I know this is the life we chose - trust me I get it. Still, there are definately times when I get tired of sucking it up. Especially when he seems so blaise about it. You know, that's the way life is you just have to deal with it. Yes, trust me I get that I have to suck it up - but what I don't have to do it LIKE it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Where is Our Focus?

Yesterday was the AFC and NFC championship games leading up to the next Super Bowl. Those of you out there who watch football or your husbands do, are already aware of this fact. Here's something you may not know - I'm from Pittsburgh and I could care less that the Steelers have made it. *GASP* the horror, I know.

If you have never been to Pittsburgh, let me tell you a little about my home town. The news there is full of mind numbing drivel about the latest exploits of the Steelers, even in their off season. I could really care less if Ben Roethelsburger is seeing a pyschiatrist. I don't even care enough about him, or the Steelers, to look up how to properly spell his name.

There are people in my hometown who are hard pressed by the downturns in our economy. In reality, the city itself is slowly dying. More jobs are lost in every quarter and more people are leaving - it's the equivalent of an exodus - the departure from the city. Sure, the surrounding areas are still thriving in some areas.

Look around though, we have so much more going on in our daily lives than who is playing in the SuperBowl. We are about to inaugurate a new President. We have two wars to clean up, an economy that is on the cusp of ruin, a people who are losing faith in the greatness of their country and some of those same citizens could care less about those things all because their precious Steelers are in the SuperBowl.

I don't wear black and gold, and I don't care who wins the superbowl. For one reason and one reason only I will root for the Steelers... because I know what their win could mean to an otherwise sad and very depressed area. I can only hope that when football season is over some of my fellow Pennsylvanians will realize that there is more important things in life than football.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"The Shack" and the Things that Make you Go Hhmmmm.........

So it looks like God is using the New Year to help me work on my spiritual growth. I don't know why, but I really feel like this is my year to work on my relationship with Him. Maybe that sounds weird, but there it is.

I started reading a book called "The Shack". It is about a man whose little girl is murdered by a serial killer. He gets a letter in the mail, presumably from God, inviting him back to the shack. Let's just say that in so many ways, the book is nothing like I expected.

At only 247 pages or so, that is normally a one sitting read for me. This book however small requires, in my opinion, some heavy thinking. So often I have been reading and thought, "Wow. That's really heavy, and I need to really think about that."

I don't know if any of you have read the Shack, but I especially love the part where Mack is working in the garden and then, later on in the chapter, we find out that the garden is his soul. Right now I feel like my garden could use a little work and that God is leading me to these things - to open my eyes - to question the way I view things, especially my relationship with Him.

The best thing that happened this week? My little girl was sitting at the table tonight and said, "Yeah! Tomorrow is Sunday and we get to go to Church!" I love that she is so excited about it. When I was little, I remember having a very special relationship with God. I even wanted to be a Nun for a time. (In retrospect that wouldn't have worked out so well....) I allowed the way other people viewed my relationship with God to change it. I'm ashamed of that now. One great thing, it's never too late. I'm looking forward to working in my garden.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Onion and the String

When I was a child, I attended Catholic school and on the first Friday of every month we had Children's Mass. I loved Children's Mass, and our priest, Father Schroeder, always had the best stories from his childhood or various parables to tell us. So many of them have stayed with me throughout my life, but recently, events in my own life have brought this one back to mind...

Once there was a sinner in hell, and he was crying piteously in regret for the choices that he had made. An angel was flying over and heard his cries. The angel took pity on the sinner and called out, "I will through down a rope to help pull you out of hell since I know that you have truly repented for the choices that you made in your life." So the angel, threw down an onion on a string. The sinner caught it and slowly, slowly, the angel began to pull him out of Hell. As he was being rescued, other sinners saw that he had found a way to escape, and they were eager to escape from hell also. They began to jump onto the string, onto his legs, etc... all in an attempt to find redemption. The sinner grew worried and concerned for himself. He was fearful that the string and the onion could not hold the weight of so many, so he began to kick and pinch at the others who were holding on. In his eagerness to save himself, his vigorous struggles caused the string to snap and he and all the other sinners fell back into the pit. The sinner cried out to the angel again but this time the angel would not help. He told the sinner, "Your selfish lack of faith is what has brought you to this place and while you have learned to feel sorrow for your choices, you still have not learned."

As I was talking about the troubles of my mother in law the other day, I suddenly felt very much like the sinner who was being selfish and faithless. God has blessed me with so many things - a beautiful marriage, two wonderful, healthy children and the ability to help the loved ones of my loved one. Why then should I feel reluctance to do so? I have decided to givve this aspect of my life over to God. I know that He has watched out for my family and that He will continue to do so. I can not show my Gratitude for the multitude of Blessings that I have by being faithless.

Isn't it funny how God has a way of talking to us, even from the past, if we just open our hearts to listen?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Being Tested Already and It's only the 3rd.....

Ok so just the other day, I posted a bunch of goals for myself for the New Year. One of them was to be more patient with those in my life who need it - and here today, three days into the new year, I already feel tested.

The black horseman of the Apocolypse, A.K.A my sister -in- law, called yesterday. Why do I refer to her as the Horesman of Death? Well, let's just say that she never calls with glad tidings. In fact, if my husband isn't here, she rarely remembers that my children and I exist. (Not that it's always a bad thing....)

At any rate, yesterday wasn't any different, it was just more of the same. Yesterday she called to discuss the disaster area that is otherwise known as my mother in law's life. My mother in law has been trying to sell a town home in FL for the past year and a half. Now anyone that has been reading anything on the real estate market knows that the entire market has tanked and that the worst hit markets are Florida and California, so no big surprise that my mother in law is unable to sell at townhome.

Here's the trouble though, all the money she has in the world is tied up in the equity in that townhome. My sister in law, in a flash of brilliance, thinks that my mother in law should allow the house to be foreclosed on and just move across country - away from everything she knows, including her elderly mother - to Colorado. Yup, you read that right.

Then, said sister in law, wants to use whatever money my mil manages to get to refinish her own basement so that my mil can live there.

So the timing of this blog finds me praying for sanity, patience, a really good BOTTLE of wine and hoping against hope that Calgon can really take me away!!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goals Not Resolutions

Every year, until last year, I started the year with a set of New Years Resolutions which went out with a whisper just like the old year. Last year, I set goals for myself - measurable goals and guess what? I actually changed my life. I lost 25 pounds and kept it off. I started eating healthier and exercising regularly. So, this year, I'm not making any more resolutions, but I am going to share some of my goals for the new year.
1. Continue to exercise at the gym at least 3 times a week and exercise everyday at home.
2. Make healthier choices with my eating, especially in the after dinner area.
3. Lose 35 pounds by next New Years Eve.
4.Enjoy more outdoor physical activities with my family.
5. Take a gratitude walk everyday where I focus on the things that I am thankful for in my life.
6. Pay off all my credit cards and STOP using them.
7.Enjoy every day with my family- take time to stop doing the things that need done and enjoy the moments that make life worth living.
8. Tell my family I love them every day.
9.Blog at least once a week.
10. Work on completing my stories and submit them to a publisher.
11.Work on maintaining friendships.
12.Ask for patience with those in my life who need it the most - especially my MIL.
13.Save a portion of my pay every month.
14.Read the following books:
The Brothers Karamozov by dostoevsky

The Castle by Kafka

Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by McCullers

The French Lieutenants Woman by Fowles

On the Road by Kerouac

From Here to Eternity by Jones

The Postman Always Rings Twice by Cain

Atonement by McEwan

Terrorist by Updike

Plus 82 more!

15. Blog at the end of each month on how I am doing to achieve these goals. Wish me luck!!

What are your plans for the new year??