Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Then God Gave Me Charlie

I was completely heartbroken more than I had ever experienced when my sweet puppy Zoe left this world tragically. She was hit by a car. Only one year old. The hole in my heart that she left was hemorrhaging out of control. The tears would not stop. The ache would not subside. At first I said I couldn't love another dog when many suggested we get a new puppy right away. As days passed I quickly realized that Zoe was much more than just my puppy. She represented unconditional love, undying devotion, and loyalty second to none. Although I knew there would never be another Zoe, another dog would fill the hole and provide its own unconditional love, devotion and loyalty. I missed someone greeting me at the door no matter what kind of day I had. I missed someone sitting by my chair while I eat. Another dog could fill these needs. Never another Zoe but another dog could help me heal.
My Zoe Girl

Then God sent us Charlie. My friend messaged me Thursday that there had been a Maltese surrendered at the Humane Society that just went up for adoption. I saw the message immediately and jumped in the car immediately. Full blooded toy dogs don't stay long at shelters. I spent about an hour and a half in the viewing room at the shelter playing with this little pup. He was quite precious.   Seemed a little shy but I knew the breed was incredibly loyal and even if he had been neglected he was still loyal to the family that surrendered him. I found myself comparing him to Zoe the whole time I was there. I got his surrender information from the shelter guy and left. I just couldn't take him and compare him to my precious Zoe. It wasn't fair to him. 

My husband called while i was on the way home and I told him about the dog. He said, "You need to turn around and go get that puppy. He won't replace Zoe but he will fill a need we have for a puppy."  So I turned around and went right back to the shelter, filled out the paperwork and brought him home. From the moment I took him out of the shelter I didn't compare him any more. It was the strangest thing. God gave me Charlie to fill the hole in my heart and save me from a broken heart. Here we are pulling out of the shelter :)
Immediately I felt whole again. It was the most amazing thing I had experienced. God knew just what I needed and he used my friend to notify me that there was a furry balm that would heal me. I just had to go and accept the balm. 

When we got home I took Charlie out in the backyard to potty explaining to him that we don't go in the front yard because it is not safe. (Zoe got hit by a car in front of our house). Charlie led me right over to Zoe's Place where she is buried and sat down beside her grave still as can be for a few minutes. It was as though he was honoring the Princess that came before him. I knew he was a Godsend from that moment. 
Zoe's Place

In the few days since we got Charlie we decided upon his fantastic name, Charleton Beauregard Anglin. Beau is in honor of Zoe since she loved her bows. And we loved the name Charlie and thought he looked like one. We also have taken him on many rides in the car to feel the wind in his fur.
He got a bow tie to start his repertoire of clothing:
And he has gone for bike rides in his doggie ride:
Best of all, he has been rocked. 
It was no coincidence that God sent Charlie the day after we took our oldest daughter to college. Provisions were sent to help me heal. Huge job for a little fella. He is up for the challenge. I rescued him from the shelter and he rescued me from a broken heart. It was a win win situation.

Please visit your local shelter for all your pet needs. They even sell items to raise money to care for the tenants of the shelter. Charlie is pretty happy to be out of the shelter. 

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to Pick Your Future Mate

Today was one special day. We moved our oldest into her dorm room for her freshman year of college. It was a perfect day. One we started planning and saving for the day she was born. There are many things I teach my children but as I took her to college I think about how I teach them to pick a mate. Here is my oldest in her new dorm room. 

I don't teach my children that there is one "soulmate" that God selected for them. Can you even imagine how overwhelming it could be to be searching for that needle in a haystack?  And what if your soulmate is in London and you are living in Tennessee??  Good grief the stress of finding them!  I teach my children that when you are ready to get married, you choose from the pool of eligibles that are where you are at the time. Yes, I do believe that some people are more compatible than others thus have a stronger connection than some but the "soulmate" deal is as mythical as Medusa as far as I am concerned. 

In the meantime you date. What is the purpose of dating?  I teach my children that everyone has a bag of faults. When you choose a mate, you pick from your pool of eligibles someone who has a bag of faults that you can live with. The purpose of dating is to determine which traits you can deal with in your future mate. Can you deal with someone who wants to know where you are ALL the time or do you want to be able to go to Walmart without letting your mate know you are going because it is an insignificant task and need not be reported?  If you can deal with the micromanager then I tell my children to put that trait down as something in a future mate's bag of faults that you can deal with. Being controlling is a deal breaker?  Put that down as a trait you can't have in a bag of faults. 

Then I have them jotting down deal breaking traits that they turn and run from. Of course this is not a 30 minute discussion about dating. This is something I have already been discussing with my 10 year old. It is a lesson I teach my children over many years. 

My oldest is at college with a list of traits in her head that are deal breakers for her and to run from, and what faults she can live with. By educating my children like this, they many times do not feel the need to date sometimes. My oldest says to me, "Mom, I can see what traits they have and I don't need to date them to look at their traits and I am not ready to get married so all I am setting myself up for is being tied down and dating for no reason."  Now I never said she didn't date. She has and will.   But sometimes when she talks about a boy liking her she will make the comment that she doesn't have to date him to see what his traits are.   

Lastly, I point out traits that each of my children have and what traits may compliment their traits both good and bad. For example, my oldest knows that she needs a man who likes to take care of and protect his princess. She knows this based on her traits. She has been taught what traits compliment her traits. 

This teaching has been successful in our home. I hope you have some new things to think about or some guidance on how to talk to your kids about tough stuff. Thank you for reading my blog!  Have a great evening. 


Sunday, August 18, 2013

How to Listen so Your Kids will Talk

I would never profess to be the perfect parent or even close to it.  So before I even get into parenting tips I wanted to get that out of the way.  I had a request to blog about how to get your children to talk to you and ultimately be close to you so they can share things that you need and want to know.  I can only speak to what works for me.  I can validate what works for me by stating that my teenage son hugs and kisses me every morning when we get out of the car in front of the high school car rider line for all to see.  My oldest daughter tells me everything without fear of judgement.  My youngest daughter will wave and acknowledge me in front of all the kids on the bus.  My kids are not ashamed of me.  For that, I am grateful and for me and my family, we are doing something right.  But again, I never profess to know all the answers or be a model parent.  I am not.

One of the main ways that I keep my kids close to me and not afraid to open up and tell me things is I never judge them.  They are not me.  They will not handle things the way that I do or the way that I might think is best.  I respect them as individuals with different ideas than I have.  There is more than one way to skin a cat.  And more than one way to handle a problem.  If my child comes to me with a problem, I listen intently to the problem, give my advice, but always say, "But you do what you want to do."  Now I am speaking of teens here.  Not younger children. Younger children have to have that guidance of mom  telling them what to do. Sitting in the judgement seat of every decision that your teens make is only going to drive them away.  If you want them to talk to you you have to listen and give advice without judging or trying to press your own opinions upon them.  I know many times I have had a discussion with my teens then known that they will learn a lesson from the college of hard knocks.  Many times, lessons are more valuable from the College of Hard Knocks that from mom and dad. Sometimes it is hard to watch your children fall flat on their face but they won't do it again.  College of Hard Knocks has a good retention rate.  Sometimes better than a flat out "no" from mom.

I vividly remember when my oldest was 13, we were out shopping and she wanted a pair of shoes to match an outfit.  I told her, "All you need is a pair of brown shoes, a pair of black shoes, a pair of athletic shoes and a pair of sandals.  Those shoes will match everything."  Her reply was one that helped me be the parent I am today.  She said, "Mom, I am not you.  I am a girly girl and I want shoes and jewelry to match my outfits."  Point well taken, Baby Girl.  You are definitely not me and I will not try to make you into me or force my opinions upon you.  I have formed my parenting around this statement ever since.  I have learned to appreciate my children for being individuals and have been proud of them for every little thing they do. I am living my life the way I want to and they are living their lives the way they want to.  In our house, we embrace different personalities and different thinking.  Of course we always have God as our common denominator, but in the little things, we embrace differences.  To this day, when I go shopping with my oldest, I have to look at jewelry and shoes to match an outfit and I do it with pride even if I don't find it necessary for myself.  Respect.  Respect of my child.  She is not me.  I wouldn't want her to be.

I don't micromanage my children.  If their rooms are a disaster, yes it drives me nuts.  I handle this easily.  I shut the door.  Then I don't have to look at it.  I do go in with a bulldozer and a trash bag occasionally while they are at school but all in all, I don't sweat this.  I realize that when they have their own place they will keep it clean.  My children have chores, and they clean.  And they do clean their rooms, but in 15 minutes it looks like a tornado hit it, so I shut the door.  It keeps me happy and sane.  Respect.  Realize they won't go to their grave living in squalor.  I teach them to clean, show them how to do it, help them, then let it go.

I asked my children what goes on in our house that causes them to feel free to talk to me and give me information and include me in their business.  My oldest daughter said, " You are not judgmental, you always listen to me and you give me your opinion on my problem but you don't panic or judge me, you just give me advice and let me make my own decision, good or bad.  You are not all up in my business so it makes me feel respected and able to talk to you.  When I make mistakes, you are not all Bertha Better than Thou saying YOU ARE WRONG.  You get on my level and understand where I am coming from." My son, also a teenager and my youngest 10 year old agrees. My son says, "Mom lets us go places and have faith that we will make good decisions and when we don't, we learn from them and go tell mom about them.  She doesn't judge us. She teaches us right from wrong and trusts us that we will do right. She understands us and puts herself in our shoes.  She knows us."   My youngest says I am approachable.

The interesting thing to me about my interviews with my children are that I do random phone checks.  I check their email, I look at their facebook, instagram, twitter,  I check their text messages, I know who their friends are, I stalk them.  So for them to say I am not all up in their business is interesting to me.

Being authentic applies to being real with your children as well as in your life.  Being real and transparent with your children will cause you to be an oasis rather than a sea of dread for the whippersnappers.  I have never been my children's friend, always their parent, but as their parent, telling them, "I remember when I was in this same situation so I know exactly what you are going through." will help them cope and approach you with problems because they feel you know how their shoes fit and feel.

As my oldest goes to college on Thursday I look back at the last 18 years and how the seasons of childhood affect us all.  I have enjoyed these past couple of weeks with just me and her because it has helped me realize how wonderful a young lady she is, how blessed I am to be her mother, and how she has now become my friend.  She is now my friend because I allow her to make her own decisions and am proud of her in how she is different from me.  She will not do the same things I did, wear the same things I do, say the things I did, live her life the way I did.  We are individuals.  God made us that way and I am excited to watch my baby fly with the wings we have crafted for the past 18 years.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Please subscribe in the column to the right so you will receive updates when I have a new blog post.  I hope you have a wonderful evening!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

HOW to Take One Day at a Time

Don't you just become disappointed when you get a teaser for a tv show, a movie, or even a Bible class that tells you what you can look forward to next week only to look forward to it, anticipate it, attend or watch it then discover that you really didn't get out of it what you expected to hear or learn?  I was in a Bible class about a year ago that gave just such a teaser.  The teacher said, "Next week, we will be discussing how to live one day at a time.".  I was so excited about knowing how to live like that!  I anticipated it all week.  Finally it was time to go to the Bible class and for the first time in a long time, I actually had some hands on education that helped me understand how to take one day at a time.

The teacher explained it like this:  The past is gone.  As much as we would like to change it, or do it differently, it is gone.  Never to be regained or seen again.  It is over.  Gone.  Done.  We can't change the past.  We can't have a mulligan in life as much as we may like one.

The future is secure.  If we are baptized believers in Christ then our future is secure with Him.  He knows the future and we need not concern ourselves with it because Christ is already there and has all of our future secured just for us.

God gave us this moment-the present.  He knew when He made us that we could not handle knowing everything that was going to happen to us along the way.  He knew that we could only handle what was right in front of us right this very moment.

When you are concerned about things that happened in the past, or anxious about things that may or may not happen in the future, then take a moment and refocus.  Remember that all God expects us to handle is this moment right now.  Our past is just that-in the past.  Gone, done, finished.  Our future is secure and we need not worry about something that is already taken care of.  All we need to concern ourselves with is the present.

Folks, tomorrow never comes.  When "tomorrow" gets here it is the present.  So in all reality there is no tomorrow.  The tomorrow we always talk about is secure.  Let's focus on the present and do with it what can glorify God in the moment.

God is so smart to realize that I can only deal with what is right in front of me.  Imagine that anxiety we would have if we could see into the future or be able to fix or dabble in the past.  We would not be able to keep our heads screwed on straight.  We are made human, and humans can deal with the very small moment called the Now.

THAT is a Point to Ponder.  I hope you all have a wonderful day today!  Revel in the moment for it is all we have.  Subscribe at the right to my blog so you won't miss an update.  Thanks so much for reading.  Please share my blog with your friends!


Monday, August 12, 2013

Nutrition: Before, During, and After a Run

Before I even address what to eat before, during, and after a run, let me address the fact that I am NOT a doctor, nutritionist, or any form of either and I don't profess to know anything besides what works for me. So consult your physician before starting any new program. 😃

I have read and tried just about everything when it comes to fuel for a run. Some things upset my stomach and I canned those practices immediately. I do have some tried and true fuels that I use regularly that I would like to share with you.  These are my opinions and should be treated as such. 

I generally run in the morning and if it is going to be a short run of 6 miles or less, sometimes I won't eat anything. I make this judgement as I am walking out the door. If I feel hungry I eat and if I don't then I won't. I feel like I burn more fat stores if I don't have ready fuel floating around that I just ate. I read that somewhere but not sure where or when. I like the philosophy so I use it and it seems to work well for me. If I eat then my "go to" is the EAS Protein Drink. They sell them in 4 packs at Walmart. One drink is 110 calories. I like that caloric number real well. 
I also will eat a protein bar called Pure Protein. They have very little sugar in them. Watch sugar content in all protein drinks and bars. Just because it says protein doesn't mean it is good for you. 
I get these at Walmart also. 

I have also been known to eat a tablespoon of peanut butter before a run. 
Oatmeal is very good for you to eat before a run. I despise oatmeal but I have discovered how I can eat it. I eat it raw right out of the package. It fuels great for a run but if you mix it, it tastes like slime. If you eat it raw, it isn't :)
During a run I use Gu or Powerbar Gels. I will use a Gu only if I am running 10 miles or more. Same for gels. Gels are great to suck on along the way so the energy is slowly released. 
These can be purchased at Academy Sports. 

After I run I like a nice glass of chocolate milk. I also have been known to drink a protein drink like is above. However, if it was a short run I don't eat anything unless I ate nothing beforehand. If I ate nothing before the run then I make sure I eat afterwards. 

Those are my selections. However, let me speak to the subject of running yourself fat. I did that. I bought into some crazy thinking that if I was burning a whole days worth of calories in a single run then I should be able to eat whatever I want to. Well, I ran myself fat while I thought that. Now, I never allow myself to overeat because I ran 20 miles that morning and burned 2,000 calories. I eat normally. This has helped me to keep my weight off. 

I hope you have gathered some useful information from my blogpost today. Thanks for reading!  We are growing by leaps and bounds. Please share with your friends!  Don't forget to subscribe to the right. You won't miss a single post if you subscribe :) If you are on your mobile phone, click on desktop site to subscribe. 

Have a fabulous evening!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

LIfe is too Short to Not have What you Want First

I had a special request for a blog post recently.  I was asked to blog about what I eat before I run.  I am putting my thoughts together on that one and will be publishing that very soon, maybe tomorrow.  Today I have some things on my mind that are along the lines of the request but not exactly.  Today is more of a point to ponder about food.

I went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch today with my mom and my oldest daughter.  We ordered our lunch and in the same breath asked questions about some of the cheesecakes we had salivated over in the case while we waited for our table.  Our questions answered, we also ordered our pieces of cake that we would, by default, have after lunch.  Let's just be real, who really goes to the Cheesecake Factory for the food?  Our server said, "It only takes a minute to get your cheesecakes out so you want those after your lunch?"  I immediately without thinking said, "Life is short."  I looked at my oldest and she said, "Eat Dessert First."  So I then looked at the server and said, "No, we will have our dessert first.  Go ahead and bring us our cheesecake while we wait for our lunch."  I can not ever remember ordering dessert first in a restaurant before.  Yes, I have eaten a cookie before a meal or something sweet before dinner at home, but never ordered it first at a restaurant.  I have to admit it was the most liberating thing EVER!!  I felt free.  Free from societal norms of the order of my meal courses, free from judgement of whether I needed the calories or not, free to make a decision on the spur of the moment and just go with it.  Free.

As I waited the few minutes it took to get my cheesecake to the table, I began to think of my sweet Zoe, my puppy I just lost, and how she did not get her hand fed breakfast before she died last Friday.  I thought about the lady that told me years ago to make a quilt now if I want to because when I have time when my kids are older, I may not want to make a quilt.  I thought about our dog who had to be put down several years ago, who had terrible food allergies and couldn't be fed table scraps, and how I had fed him roast and carrots and mashed potatoes before I took him to the vet to be put to sleep.  I thought of stories of last moments people have had with loved ones and what they said as a final statement.  Then I thought of others who didn't get a chance to say a last statement.  Life is short.  Too short.  I am all about watching what I eat, taking care of myself, running, etc, but I am never going to miss an opportunity to enjoy myself.  So why not eat dessert first?  If that is what I really went to the Cheesecake Factory for then why would I wait for my lunch first??  An impulsive decision at a restaurant today has been on my mind all day.

I remember at one point in my life when I was putting weight back on, again, I realized I was trying to curb my sweet tooth by eating strawberries.  Then a small amount of time later I was eating what I really wanted in the first place.  So in reality, I had more calories than necessary because I could have skipped the strawberries, had a small portion of what I really wanted and had less calories than eating a bunch of strawberries then a helping of what I really wanted.  Eat what you really want first.  It is freeing.  Freeing from added unnecessary calories even if the extra calories are from healthy foods.  You can make yourself fat from eating healthy foods if your portions are too large.

Impulsive decision today.  Life changing repercussions for me.  For the better.  From now on, I am skipping societal norms placed upon me.  If I want the cake first then so be it.  Life is too short and calories are too many to be eating what we "need" to eat first then what we want to eat last.  We are setting ourselves up to overeat if we do what society deems to be "normal" eating habits.  Eat what you want, just not a lot of it.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Be A Gracious Recipient and a Cheerful Giver

If you really didn't want to bring food to me then don't call me and offer because I am going to accept your offer.  On top of that, I am going to accept without expecting to have to repay you for your generosity.  I have learned to be a gracious recipient as well as a cheerful giver.

One of my least favorite comments is "I owe you one."  You don't owe me anything.  If I do something for you it is out of the goodness of my heart, because I had money or time at the time you needed something.  If you can't accept my help without feeling like you owe me something then you have missed the point.  You take the joy away from the giver if you are not a gracious recipient.  Now I did not say you needed to be a score keeping recipient, but a gracious recipient.

The same is true of being a Cheerful Giver.  If you give something expecting that the person will be someday paying you back then you have missed the point.  It takes the joy away from the recipient if you make them feel obligated to "pay you back".

I like the idea of paying it forward better.  I don't have enough time or energy to be keeping a tit for tat scorecard of favors given and received.  I give what I can, when I need to, when I see a need, when I have the time, the money or resources.  I receive when I am in need, I don't say no to an offer if it is something I need.

I would like to use the example of my recent bad week of losing the puppy and my son being hospitalized with extreme mystery illness.  I did not want for anything during that time.  My friends and family called me when passing through town to see if I needed anything.  If I did, I told them.  One friend even brought me toilet paper.  I was actually sitting by my sick son thinking about how we were just about out of toilet paper when I got a text from a very good friend saying she was at the store and what could she get me.  If she didn't want to help me she would not have texted.  I would have stolen joy from her if I did not allow her to help me.  I told her we needed toilet paper.  She brought it to us.  Best.Gift.Ever.  I do not feel like I need to repay her for the toilet paper.  I would be stealing the joy from her if I did.  I am sure it made her incredibly happy to help us with a necessity like that.  I know it would have thrilled me if I could have helped someone like that.  Be a gracious recipient.

Toilet paper.  Simple item, big message.  Help the helpless and if you are helpless, allow others to help you.  People want to help, they just don't always know how.  Tell them how.  And be grateful.  When you are on the giving end, remember toilet paper.  And don't expect the favor to be returned.  It steals the joy from the Charmin.

I hope you enjoy my blog.  Please subscribe in the box to the right and share my link with your friends.  Have a fabulous evening and don't forget the Charmin, and burn the score card