Just Because

Monday, March 31, 2014

10 Things I've learned from watching WAY too much TV

Just a few random observations I've made over my long TV watching career ...
10. Bad guys have really bad aim (especially when shooting good guys).
9. Reality TV has been given the wrong name – I’ve never seen a show anywhere close to my reality. Admittedly that would be a pretty boring show, but still.
Really, insert ANY "reality" show here. ANY show.
8. Apparently there is some anti-gravity gadget that I haven’t been told about, because when people on TV pack a bag it's pretty much weightless.
7. Everyone lies, and eventually these lies will become public knowledge. Just wait.
6. It's all just a dream.
5. Wearing the same clothes twice is not acceptable. Where are these people keeping all these clothes?
4. Men & women cannot just be friends – eventually one will fall for the other.

3. Big Brother is ALWAYS watching. I mean have you seen what they can find on traffic cams!?!?
2. Never hang out with doctors – something bad always happens when they’re around.
1. You never REALLY know someone.
Enough said.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Journey to Better Health - A Progress Report

I just wanted to check in here and let folks know I’m doing – and also have this as a record for myself.
I have been on this journey since January 6, so about 10 ½ weeks.  Here’s what I’m doing:
I make a choice each day to stay on this journey and to trust God that He is with me. I have bible verses and quotes posted around to encourage me. I stop and pray about certain food choices that I’m faced with.  There is no way I could do any of this on my own, and since I’ve realized this, my path is so much clearer. This journey is doable.
·         I try to drink a gallon of water every day. I’ve heard for years that drinking half your body weight in oz. each day aids in weight loss.  For example if you weigh 200 pounds, drinking 100 oz. of water each day will aid in weight loss. While I don’t follow this formula exactly, I do find that drinking water helps me feel full throughout the day.  I keep a half gallon jar on my desk at work which helps a ton – if the water is there I am much more likely to drink it.
           Taking several vitamins and supplements. My doctor advised I need to take vitamin D, as I was pretty low the last time I had my labs done, so I take that. I also take calcium, apple cider vinegar tablet, multi vitamin, and omega-3 (because I know that’s good for you and I’m just not going to be someone who eats a lot of fish).
   

    Working on moving more.  This one took a while for me to get into…but I’m getting there.  I got a Fitbit Flex about 3 weeks ago.  This little device keeps track of how many steps you take in a day, the intensity of these steps, calories burned, distance, and how long you sleep at night.  The goal is to get 10,000 steps each day, which I have only reached twice so far, but I guarantee I am walking more than I was. I have started parking further away at work, walking during my break time, and doing some type of exercise 3-4 nights a week at home.

           I log everything I put in my mouth. Myfitnesspal has been awesome accountability for me.  I log everything I eat and drink, exercise and weight loss.  You can do this on your phone through the app, or on their website.  What I like best is that you can invite friends to follow along with you. They can see what you’re eating, you’re exercise, etc – and you can support and encourage each other. My streak for logging is at 75 day (tomorrow) and I don’t intend to break that streak any time soon!
          Eating out WAY less often. OK, confession time here: Before I started this journey it was entirely possible for me to eat out 3 times a day. I rarely went to the grocery store (like maybe once a month). Since January this number has been cut drastically.  I don’t know how many times I’ve eaten out, but the majority of these times have been while I was on vacation.  To be honest, it’s just easier to eat “my own food” since I know what’s in it and how to log it better. Surprisingly, I don’t really miss this all that much.
          Eating way less processed foods, more fruits and veggies, organic where possible. Overall, I’m just trying to make healthier choices.  I’m not following any certain plan or program, but I try to buy organic fruits and vegetables when I can. When I read about all the chemicals and junk that are in a lot of produce and processed foods, it just makes sense that I want as little of that in my body as possible. I usually shop at my local Kroger, because it’s close, but I have gone to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s a few times, too.  These stores have a better selection of organic/all-natural items.  I am not really eating sweets, and trying to have a lot less sugar than before as well.  Sugar is in SO. MANY. THINGS. It is certainly hard to stay away from it altogether, but being aware of what’s in your food makes it easier to monitor.


And here’s how I’m doing:
·         I've lost just over 30 pounds.
·         My clothes fit better – some are too loose. I put on a pair of pants this morning that I used to wear all the time, but haven’t been able to in a couple of years.  It’s very satisfying to see these changes!
·         I have a ton more energy than I used to.  Especially with these few beautiful days we’ve had lately, I am so excited to get home and get outside and walk when I can.


I’m nowhere near where I’d like to be, but each day that I get up and choose to take the next step is a success!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I'm a Knit Wit!

Technically I've been knitting for years - but as with most things I do - it ebbs and flows.  The last time I picked up knitting (about 3 years ago) I started branching out and trying to learn different stitches and patterns.  This fall I signed up to buy gifts for a couple of senior citizens on an "Angel Tree" at work, and one of them asked for a scarf - which I figured I would just knit myself - and the knitting bug was back!

After I knitted that scarf, I decided to make my mom a scarf for Christmas. This thick yarn in this pattern knitted really fast - I finished this in one day!



Next I decided to knit myself something, so I looked through some patterns on Ravelry.com and Pinterest and decided to go with a cowl - It's basically a short infinity scarf done in the same pattern as the one above, and then sewn together at the ends - crazy complicated, right?

Since I was on a roll, I started looking for some more complicated things.  I have knitted dish cloths in the past, but was never able to do the "cool" kind where they are knitted on the diagonal - because you have add and then take away stitches from your rows.  I found a pattern that sounded easy enough when I read it, so I tried it:
And it worked! I love these rags - I will definitely be making more of these.

I found this next yarn around Christmas and I thought it would look good as a scarf with my yellow coat, so that's what was next:

 I did a little chevron pattern on this - which was really fun - but obviously this yarn is too busy to do this pattern, because you have to look really hard to notice the pattern.

With all of these fabulous projects under my belt, I thought it was time to go further - I started looking for sweater patterns!! I found an open front cardigan that looks simple enough, so that's on my list, but first, I came across this online class through Michael's and their sister-site Craftsy.com:
This nice lady, Amy Ross, with all of her perfect bins of yarn behind her (which distract me more often than I care to admit - Aren't they wonderful!?!?)


She goes step by step through each piece of the project, and in approximately 522 days I will have knitted a sweater! Well, hopefully not quite that long, but we'll see.
You start with back, this is the bottom ribbing part (and my super-cool yarn bowl by C & S Clay)



Here is my progress to date - not too much more til I get to the arm holes - that should be interesting!

I just love that from a ball of yarn you can create and actual thing that people can use! It's like magic =)

Do you knit? Crochet? Something else?



Thursday, January 16, 2014

TRUTH: About Eating Healthy

One of the areas of my life I am focusing on seeking truth is my eating habits. As I said before I recently finished reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.

In the book she talks about how making healthy food choices is not a matter of will power, but a spiritual matter - one that with much prayer will bring us closer to God.  She says something like "I'm not on a diet - I have made a choice to grow closer to God by following Him in this journey of healthy eating." I totally get that. Because, let's face it - it's glaringly obvious that I cannot do this on my own!  I am excited that this is not only a journey to lose weight and become healthier, but to learn more about God and grow closer to Him every day.

There are struggles and triumphs on every journey - and just in the past week I've had a few of each.  I'll share the struggles first:

- I don't like grocery shopping. I've been 4 times in the last 8 days. Clearly I need to work on my strategy there!
- I don't really like many healthy foods. I am trying to follow the Daniel Plan (Click the link to read more about that) and there are a lot of vegetables in it - not my fave. Thankfully though, I have found some pretty good recipes that I have enjoyed.
- I don't enjoy cooking. The prep, the cleanup, etc. - Just not fun.
-Planning ahead is not one of my strengths, so I'm working on being better there.

All is not lost, though!
- I didn't eat out once last week (Mon.-Fri.) - I couldn't tell you how long it's been since that happened! I did eat out all three meals on Saturday, but made healthy choices, so I count that a success, too.
- I bought some organic stuff. I know that's better for me, but I usually go the cheaper route.
- I did this:
I don't do meat on the bone - it's gross...but I baked this little bird and pulled all the meat off to have this week.  And I must say that chicken on my salad earlier in the week was GOOOD!
- I have lost some weight - I'm not exactly sure how much because I weighed at the doctor's office last week and then on my scale this week. I'm OK with not knowing, though - while the scale is indication that I've been making good choices, it's not the main thing.

Perhaps my biggest triumph this week is that I feel good about my choices this week. I have trusted the Lord that I can do this - and it is only through His guidance that I have started this journey on a good note.


Monday, January 13, 2014

Pom-Poms & Finger Knitting

I love to try new crafty things, and since I've been on a knitting kick lately there’s lots of yarn around.
I don’t normally go all out for Valentine’s day, but I saw this post last week about finger knitting and I was intrigued – and since Lovey Dovey Day is the next holiday – red and pink it is!  I was shocked at how easy finger knitting is!! I watched this video on youtube, and that was it.  There are many ideas of projects you can do with finger knitting posted on Pinterest, but I really like the garland idea, so I went with that.  

The white strand is made from Lion Brand Homespun yarn – the same I made the infinity scarves out of the last two years.  The red is obviously a thicker yarn – not sure what brand.  

 I like the thicker strand myself, but the mix of the two looks pretty good.
The other strand hanging up there – pom-poms!
Pinterest yet again provided many ideas and tutorials for making pom-poms. Most of the tutorials required a pom-pom maker – which I don’t have – so I used a piece of cardboard to wrap the yarn around.  

While I don’t think I will be winning any pom-pom making awards, I like them!

Finding new crafts or hobbies is always an adventure - try it - you may find something you love!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Craft Room 2.0 {aka The Studio}

I know that not EVERYONE has a craft room.  I don't know why not everyone has one, but c'est la vie!

When I first moved into my condo (over 6 years ago - wow!) the second bedroom was my craft room/storage area.  In 2009 I did some major cleaning out in there and some minor decorating rehab:

Then about 3 years ago, Melissa moved in and my craft room became her bedroom.  Since she decided to stay a while I decided to move the craft room downstairs.  This works fine for me, however it's a bit cramped if anyone else is here.  Let's just say as a creative person, that area gets out of hand. A lot. 
Not to mention the fact that I am saver ("I might need that later, so I will save it right here - with all the other junk awesome stuff I'm saving"), so most of the time that area is a disaster.  I won't share pics of that - use your imagination, and then multiple that by 5 - and you might be close.

Fast forward with me to May of this year.  Melissa is getting married! 

Since it would be strange if she lived here after she gets married, she'll be moving.

And my wheels are turning over so. many. ideas. of how to design my craft room STUDIO!
I'm claiming that it will be my studio because that sounds more professional.

I plan to do this on a shoestring budget - because that's all I have. I know it can be done, I mean spend 5 minutes on Pinterest and you'll find 572 ways to redecorate on a budget. 

I have all of the big pieces that I'll need - dresser, bookcase, storage cubes, table.  The closet in that room is great, it has built in shelves that will be great for fabric.  

I want the studio to be bright and colorful and inspiring and organized. Most of what I'll be doing is painting and recovering things to match my vision.

I found this idea on Pinterest and I can't wait to see if it will work in there: PAINTED FLOORS!
Here are a couple of inspiration pictures:
How fun are these floors!?!?!? I LOVE the yellow one!
I hope that the floor under the carpet in that room is in good enough shape to do this!  I think I am most excited about the floor.

I'm still searching for fabric to use, I can't decide if I will stick with one line, like this one from Joel Dewberry - I do love this:
Or go with a more vintage/eclectic mix - we'll see!

Here are a few more inspiration shots - all from Pinterest:
This cart is from Ikea - and I really like it!!  I almost bought it that last time I was there, but didn't...That just means a trip to Atlanta will be in my future!!


 I like the vintage-y look of this space - and the use of all different colors.


Here is some pretty fabulous fabric storage.  I'd love to do something similar so I can actually see what I have.


This gallery wall just looks happy!  So many great possibilities!


I have a pretty good work chair, but it's black now, so I'd love to give it a new outfit!!

I'm sure you will be seeing more of The Studio in the coming months...
Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Truth

In a devotion book my mom gave me for Christmas the title of today's reading is "Do Over".  They talk about not making a long list of resolutions, but looking at where in your life you need a "do over", and what area(s) might need repair. How great that we serve a God that will take us back again and again - He gives us a "do over" everyday if we ask for it.

For the past couple of years I have chosen one word to focus on for the year. Last year my word was "Be". I had a plan to focus on one area (money, healthy eating, housework, etc.) each month - Be Healthy, Be Clean, Be Creative, and so on.  Did I complete all of those? No. But I did the first 2 or 3, so that's something!!

My word for this year is TRUTH.
This is why: I have been in a bit of a mental and spiritual funk lately. A little down, a little reserved, a little disconnected. I think most of us have those times. I am so thankful for friends and family members who are concerned with my well-being and honest enough to check in on me during these times and tell me some things I need to hear. In one of these conversations with Janna a few weeks ago she talked about an exercise that Alana did in one of her pre-surgery counseling sessions - they were talking about anxiety and how anxiety is lies, and  to combat that we should think about what the TRUTH is.  When Janna told me about this, I immediately thought, "I SHOULD DO THAT!!"...because lets face it, most of the reason I get into a funk is that I start living in the lies that go through my head. I know that is satan getting to me and dragging me down.

Soon after that revelation I began (again) reading the book "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst.  As someone who has struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember, this book speaks to my soul.  One of the things that she talks about is TRUTH. And the importance of learning to ignore the lies the enemy shoots at us on a daily basis.  

Coincidence? I think not! I love that God gives me the words I need to hear when I need to hear them. He's good that way. Isaiah 43:18-19 says "But forget all that - it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."  See? He's already started!

I need a "do over" in a few areas, and most of that involves looking at lies I have been believing and trusting the TRUTH that God gives me. So 2014 will be a year of TRUTH for me. I choose not focus on the lies, but on the TRUTH.  
John 8:32 says "And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 
I'M READY!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Traditions

So, it's 3 days post Christmas, and I'm home with the crud, so I thought I'd blog again! Lucky for you, right?

At a Women's program at church recently we were talking about Christmas traditions, ones we had as children, ones we have as adults, and some we'd like to start.  I've thought about traditions a lot over the past few weeks.

I think tradition can be good and bad.  I don't think we should always do things the way they've always been done, just because that's the way they've always been done.  I do love the comfort and familiarity in some traditions, though.  Obviously the holiday season brings many traditions - here are a few of my favorites...

I know it's way before Christmas, but I love Black Friday shopping.  My friend Kim and I have gone for the last several years.  I usually don't get all my shopping done that day, but I love to get out in the hustle and bustle of it all.  This is that haul from this year - there were three of us, so it's not as bad as it looks.
 Christmas Eve is always special.  It wasn't until High School that I went to church on Christmas Eve, but it is one of my favorite traditions now.  I love the music, the worship, and especially the candles at the end.
After church we go to the Morel's to party it  up - also a favorite tradition!!  
Miss Alana is always ready to strike a pose.
 Granny Janice (Mom) loving on Zeke. (She LOVES to be called Granny Janice, everyone should do it!)
 Since I've lived in my condo Mom has come over Christmas morning for breakfast and to exchange gifts.  Here she is modeling some huge earrings I got her this year - as a joke.
The rest of Christmas day is going to Mema's and then usually to my Dad's side of the family.  I love spending the day with all of my family in one day!

One tradition I have started in the last couple of years is buying an ornament in memory of Thomas and Clinton for my tree each year. 

A tradition I would like to start is some kind gathering for "my kiddos". Maybe a Christmas movie night, or making something...I don't know.

What are some traditions you love? What are some you'd like to start?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

This time of year can be hectic and crazy busy, but it can also be so overwhelmingly special and filled with wonder.  Someone said to me this year that they just decided they weren't going to get stressed out at Christmas. Way to go!  I would love to say I'm there, but not quite.  I try to anticipate the stress.  I guess if I anticipate it and prepare for it, it's a little better. Especially since my stress typically comes from rushing to get things done at the last minute or when what I have planned doesn't go as planned.

Let's think about the wonder, though.  Let's focus on the miracle that we celebrate on December 25. Let's concentrate on the sheer joy of watching children experience Christmas.  Let's love on our families and friends, and all those in our community who need a little extra love. Let's relax and enjoy a good Christmas movie and a cup of hot cocoa.  Just a thought!

One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is to decorate my home. This year I got an early start because I had a day off of work the week before Thanksgiving.  Since there was only 3 weeks between turkey day and Christmas I took advantage and decked my halls then.  I have really enjoyed the festive feel! But I will also enjoy getting it put away (just being honest, here).
 I joyed the chevron/burlap revolution this year with this wreath - i think I will change the bow and decor for different seasons - we'll see!
 This little pouch holds all my Christmas cards.  I love looking at them as I get them and then going through them again when I take down the decorations - usually on January 1.
 O Christmas Tree!  I really like to pull out my ornaments every year and discover again and again the treasures.  I also like to buy a few ones each year to add to the mix.
My mom bought me this as a housewarming/Christmas gift when I moved into my condo - and I love it as much now as I did then.  (I know the wise men are too close, but that's where they landed this year.)

So, whether your Christmas is as calm and peaceful as can be, or it's filled with crazy chaotic dysfunction - take a breath and find a minute to focus on the good things - and the best thing. After all, that's why we are celebrating in the first place!