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Thursday, October 26, 2017

I'm here for the (pity) party

I want to write important things.  Doesn't everyone who writes?  We want to feel like we existed and laying our thoughts and feelings in words is an existence in itself that could potentially live here after us.

The words that I use today are quite different than the words that I would have used 15 years ago.  Then it would have been painful and I would suffer to tell the tale of a lonely soul who found love and walked away from it with their skin shredded to ribbons.

10 years ago I suffered under the weight of my soul-crushing desire to have a child.

5 years ago I rejoiced in the promise of an answered prayer.

Today my thoughts and feelings, though still full of those other times and sufferings and joys and grace and despair, also smack of vitality and renaissance.  I am woman.  I am 40.  I am passion and purpose and art and fury and all the things I held restrained within me at 24.

I hadn't yet learned the beauty of stillness.  I hadn't yet heard the heartbeat of perfect love.  I hadn't yet borne the despair of infertility.  I hadn't fully lived.

And yet...have I now?  I do feel that I am on the precipice of something.  Not just being 40, but finding a fullness of myself.  I'm not sure what that even means, but I'm ready for it.

Until I get there, are these words today enough?  Have I meant something?  Have I existed in these words?  Have I inhabited my speech and my thoughts and my feelings?  Have I left something good with my family, my friends, my community, full of warmth and passion and a true deep well of happiness that is encapsulated in my life?

When in doubt, live.  Tackle that voice telling you no or you can't.  Put those words down and give them wings by letting them breathe in the light.  I'm certainly going to try because I have hope for more than today.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fiscal Fast - Halfway through

What's going on beautiful people?  I feel like I just posted.  Oh wait, guess I just did not even a week ago.

Lucky you!  You get another post from me, your benevolent leader!  I'm sure you're thrilled.  :/

So here we are at the over halfway mark.  It's August 17th and we have 2 weeks left!  I'll give you the rundown.
burnout time at the car show

  • We have 1 1/2 dozen eggs left, 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 1/2 bags of cappellini (angel hair) pasta, 1/2 to 2/3 left of one carton of almond milk, 1/2 a package of bacon, and a few other things I can slap together in the pantry.
  • We are officially out of:  garlic!  We have garlic powder and garlic salt, but no mo' garlic. :(  We are out of parsley, mexi blend cheese, bread, and nearly out of onions and potatoes.
  • Our garden gave us 5 yellow squash, 1 zucchini squash, 4 poblano peppers, and 5 or 6 green bell peppers this week, as well as a metric ton of cherry tomatoes and half a dozen regular tomatoes.
  • We got out and went fishing at the lake for a couple hours Saturday morning and went to a free car show at the Capitol building Saturday night with the kids.  Ashley managed to survive even though "car shows are so booooooring..."
  • We finished a 1000 piece puzzle that I had sitting around half done for a month or two.
  • I started sewing a dress that I already had everything for and I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to make it smaller because...
  • I lost 12 pounds in the last 2 1/2 weeks!  I've been kinda sorta doing the Naturally Slim program and have been going to yoga 4-5 times per week.  That just shows how overweight I was and how much I overate each day.
  • The kids started back to school this week and JROTC for Daden and volleyball for Ashley
Me, myself, and I...ahhhh

I am really energized about the end of the fiscal fast and kinda want to do it for another month!  (Shh. Don't tell Rick.)  He already thinks I'm certifiable!

There you have it!  My fiscal fast update.  We have chicken thighs thawing in the fridge for tomorrow night and I'm going to bring leftover pasta from tonight to work for lunch tomorrow.

As an aside, my yoga instructor tried to get us into Crow pose tonight.  I was nearly there with blocks before I fell off the block.  I also fell off 2 blocks just sitting.  Did I ever tell you my middle name is Grace?

Friday, August 11, 2017

Fiscal Fast Y'all!

Um, not sure what's going on here, but we had fun?!

Okay, so it is August 11th and we are officially 1/3 of the way through our month-long fiscal fast.  Loyal readers (so like 3 of you) of this blog may know that this is the 5th year running for my No-Spend Month.  I really love it guys!  For a variety of reasons.  Let me explain.

So, essentially the idea is to not spend any money during the entire month of August.  Okay, so for us the FIRST year, we literally spent nothing on anything.  At the time we were doing the Dave Ramsey Envelope System and so we had enough cash from the previous month to pay for our gas the entire month of August.  It was great, but the envelope system doesn't really fit our life anymore.

We still pay the bills as usual every month, as much as I'd love to NOT.  However, I also like taking indoor showers and sleeping with a fan on, so you know...gotta keep the e-lec-trickery on.

Over the last 5 years, certain modifications have been made, but overall it is essentially the same.  We now grow a garden and I can and freeze and bake and freeze leading up to this month.  Not a lot mind you, but enough to get by with some quickie meals.  I made 45 bierocks a week ago and that is our go-to no thawed meat, no ideas, no energy meal.

Bierocks hot out of the oven.  YUM!

We also purchased a pork and beef bundle from the local meat locker because we were completely out of everything in our deep freeze.  We also got a few things from the store to have on hand.

The big modification this year:  since we actually have the kids for half of August, we needed lunches for them.  So I made a concession to my husband (rarity!) and we now buy just lunch stuff on Sunday before the next week.  Still reducing our spending by a LOT but not having to stock up on lunchmeat or me having to worry about enough stuff for them to eat.

So now we live off whatever we have in our home.  Nothing extra.  One tip is almond milk.  Buy at least 2 containers.  They last more than a month and you can essentially use it anywhere you would use regular milk with the added bonus of being good for you!  I use it for biscuits and gravy all the time.  I don't even notice the difference, to be honest.

Okay, so here we are, 1/3 of the way through.  How are we doing?  Well...we are already almost out of cheese, but we have plenty of eggs!  The bierocks are holding up.  We've only eaten about 25% of those.  I made a poor man's meal tonight and cleaned out part of the fridge.  The most dire circumstance though is that I don't have any minced onions on hand and I'm down to my last 1 1/2 onions.  Seriously.  No bueno.  I can't believe I forgot minced onions!

On to the biggest benefits!  You eat REAL FOOD every night!  If you do as we have done the 4 years prior to this, you NEVER go to the grocery store...ever.  For an ENTIRE month.  *YASSS*  You get creative!  You learn what spices and flavors go together.  You make do.  You utilize, save, repurpose.  I have never found another thing that has helped me think about what I am using and my waste better than a fiscal fast.  Period.  You realize the jam that's been in your refrigerator door for months can be used in pan sauces, salad dressings, marinades!  Probably my favorite thing is that we find creative ways to have fun on the cheap.  Last night we visited a sunflower patch (hence the top pic) and took pictures.  There's free stuff downtown tomorrow and I want to make everyone come with me inside the Capitol building.

Fiscal Fast.  10/10 would do again.

If you've done this or a modified version, tell me your favorite part of it in the comments!

Monday, August 7, 2017

I refuse...

You know, sometimes I just refuse to give in. I adamantly reject the idea that my anxiety is going to take over my body and mind. Tonight I made pork chops in a pan sauce, green beans (from my canned stash), and leftover squash casserole. I fought my mind throughout the meal and had to leave the table early because I wasn't feeling well.

All I could think about was the green beans. They were pressure canned and all I could think about was botulism and how it would feel to have my organs shut down, etc. I canned everything exactly as the instructions said to and I cooked the green beans again for supper, so it was perfectly fine, but my mind was deceitful. It tried to take me down that lonely, scary road. I hopped on the exit ramp though.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about refusing to give in. I don't want to give up living before I'm done actually living! I don't like flying. I don't like the idea of being holed up on a cruise ship without escape. Two weeks ago I took that flight and cruised from Long Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico and while I may not have chosen a cruise ship to get there, it was a fun time and Ensenada was beautiful. We went to two vineyards there and enjoyed fresh olive oil with lovely bread and cheese.

On the first flight, I hadn't flown in so long that I forgot what it felt like. I clutched my rosary, my thumb furiously rubbing the crucifix, tears streaming down my face, praying to God and Mary to help me through that moment. Then, the landing was no big deal. We had a short layover in San Francisco and this time, I tried my utmost to be blase' about the whole takeoff so I wouldn't freak out. I literally almost fell asleep right as it started. I was determined not to let the anxiety take over.

On the flight home, I was so worried about the terrified guy next to me that I didn't have time to ponder the plane breaking in half.

I told my friend before we left that I HAD to do these things. I HAD to challenge myself to go through it. If I didn't, I would be so disappointed in myself.

My anxiety is muuuuuuch better than it used to be and I am so thankful for that. The triggers are still there, but I am challenging myself to face them head on instead of cowering in the corner. For right now, I've done it and I'm happy to report that I'm still alive. So live like there's no tomorrow. The cliche' is a bald truth we must acknowledge. One day, there won't be one. That's it. We're done. My hope resides in the cross but until God takes me home, I refuse to let fear win.