Thursday, July 31, 2008

Newfound Success?

I’ll warn you… this is a rant. If you are a journalist, maybe you can explain something to me that I don’t understand. Is it my local paper, or does the entire country have a screwed up sense of values that is glorified daily in the media?

Case in point: our paper featured a story yesterday that took the front page of the local section with the headline , “Waiting No More: Playboy offers newfound success for Bay waitress” This 22 year old won a national contest called “The Girls of Olive Garden” and it goes on to give the details, including the web address to view her nude photos. She is quoted saying, “I would love for this to lead to new opportunities…. I would love to be the Playmate of the Year”.

This is success? This is the same paper that wanted to crucify Joe Francis (and rightfully so) for his disgusting capers with “Girls Gone Wild” during Spring Break. So now we think that featuring girls as sex objects is admirable? What?

I seriously considered cancelling my subscription to the paper because of this stupidity. How many young boys will gleefully go to the website they promoted? How many impressionable girls will think this is a measure of success?

I am embarrassed for the young woman and embarrassed that I live in a place that thinks this is good news. Give me a break.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cash Cow

I've got a really good eBay story. I’ve bought plenty at the popular auction site, but like many, for a long time I had never taken the time to figure out the selling procedure. I didn’t know how easy it would be to go through the process, but decided it was worth learning about.

What could I sell? Surely, I’m not the only one that has a stash of Christmas
gifts that just don’t quite make it out of the box. I had a figurine that I knew I’d never appreciate… it was a cow. I did some quick research and figured out where to list it and away I went. I put it up for sale in a 5 day auction for $12.95, since the other cows I saw ranged from $9.95 to $14.95. Can you imagine my surprise when the next morning I checked the auction and bidding was up to $81.00?? And then as the first day moved along, to see the bidding climb to $400. ?? I got worried at that point - thought I had misrepresented this cow and people must think it had real diamonds in it or something. I inquired of one of the bidders and she informed me that I had a discontinued collectible that was quite sought after. To summarize a very entertaining (and profitable) week, this sweet little cow sold for $810. Amazing.

So, what’s in YOUR closet?? I’m always looking for the deeper meaning in things, so bear with me for a minute. How many of us have gifts that we haven’t done anything with? Now I’m talking on a personal level. I’ve always thought one of the saddest quotes I’ve heard is , “What is the cost of dying with the music still in you?” Granted, it’s human nature to stick close within the comfort zone. But every hero in history got out of of their comfort zone! There’s a cost to getting better, but there’s a bigger cost in staying the same. So…. maybe it’s time to look in the back of your closet and see what valuables are stashed there.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Exercise Can Be Fun

If I could lose weight by laughing, I would never have to count points again. I just laughed until I cried watching this clip from the Ellen show with the latest exercise gadget.

Saturday Stirrings

This recipe was originally called "Mostaciolli" when I started making it, because it obviously called for mostaciolli noodles. I prefer making it with Tri-Color Rotini noodles, but we still call it "Mostaciolli". I decided to be creative and name it "Italian Twist" (though it will always be Mostaciolli at my house!). This has always been a favorite of my family, and a good casserole to take to other families since kids usually love it too.

Italian Twist

1 lb ground beef
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup diced green pepper
1 can Hunt’s Spaghetti sauce
1 can petite diced tomatoes ( I use fresh if I can)

½ tsp oregano
8 oz Tri-color Rotini noodles
4 slices mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Brown beef with onions and green pepper.
Add Spaghetti sauce, tomaotoes and oregano. Simmer for 10 minutes while noodles cook.

Cook noodles according to directions and drain, then add to sauce mixture. Put in a casserole dish and then cheddar cheese and mozzarella on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.

I am enjoying the recipe recommendations from my bloggy friends. Carol at I Throw Like A Girl has the links every Saturday that got me started on trying new things. My family is loving it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Big Table

My extended family is a loud and loving bunch. I always loved the fun of big family get-togethers. Summertime brought everyone to my grandmother’s beach house in Ft. Walton Beach.
The picture at right is some of LuLu's great grand- children and their grandparents gathered on "the hill."

Whatever the occasion, our gatherings included the “Big Table”. That’s where the grown ups ate. I never set a goal to be there - it just happened. I certainly never envisioned having my own children sitting at the Big Table. But that’s what’s happened. They grew up.

I can see still see my wee ones in my mind’s eye and yet the reality is a different story. Like the energetic little boy who is now an adult preparing for his wedding.

I rejoice, for the reality is more than I hoped for. I was so concentrated on training responsible adults that would walk in love, have a strong work ethic and good manners, that I forgot to consider that they would become the very people that I love most to hang out with. Funny, caring, interesting, smart people.

Everyone keeps asking me if I am going to be alright with this empty nest thing. I’m not focusing on that image. We love to travel together and plan fun times as our flock grows. We have lots to look forward to. My nest might be empty but my heart is full. That’s a lot to be thankful for.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Saturday Stirrings

This is my first time to participate in Saturday Stirrings. I am sharing some food ideas because I recently became bored silly with what I fix night after night, week after week and found blogs to be a great source of recipes. It's really like getting a recipe from a friend - beats a cookbook everytime. I found this easy recipe on Boyz3mommy's blog. My family loves it.

Crockpot Chicken and Rice

4 frozen chicken breasts
1 pkg Italian seasoning mix
1/2 cup water
sliced/diced onions (optional)

Place ALL in crockpot on low first thing in the morning. One hour before ready to eat, add in one can cream of mushroom soup. Cook enough rice to feed your family.
Cut up chicken (either dice or shred - dice is faster, shred may happen anyway due to tenderness).
Spoon chicken over rice.
You CAN top with shredded cheese and black olives, but it is JUST as tasty without them!!
Wha-lah!!! You are done. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Transcending Love

I had a conversation yesterday that was deep and touching and real. I just pray that I said the “right” things. My heart told me to speak words of love, and I’d rather err on the side of extravagant love, if I’m going to err.

Someone I care deeply about that is gay called and said, “I want to know how you handle my sexuality in light of what I know you believe about the Bible.” Wow – let’s just get right to the point. You can believe I sent up quick prayer for wisdom and guidance!

I responded by saying, “I love you. I can handle it because I love you. And Jesus loves you. That’s why he came. He sees us in our humanity – all of our mistakes, our wrong thinking, our sin, and knows we aren’t qualifed to have a relationship with a holy God. So he comes and offers forgiveness and shows us right into our Father’s presence. There are no big sins and little sins. Homosexuality is not a bigger sin than addictions, or unforgiveness or gossip, or anything else we can name that separates us from God. The Bible says that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. So in that way, your need is not any greater than mine was when I came to Jesus and confessed my need of Him.”

She then told me that the biggest weight she carries is shame. A heavy burden indeed. Jesus knows all about it.

I didn’t tell her what she needed to do. I didn’t take the opportunity to preach. I’m pretty sure that caught her by surprise, since when she had started the discussion, I had sensed her defensive tone. I am so thankful that she initiated an open dialogue and listened. When we got off the phone, she thanked me for talking to her about it! I am humbled. I pray that another chunk of the blinders fell from her eyes so that she can see the light of heaven drawing her.

Monday, July 14, 2008

To Tell the Truth

What do you do when someone says, “Okay, I’m a direct person and I need to know if you have a problem with this. I’m asking you to tell me how you really feel.” Do you tell the truth?

I was posed a question today by a neighbor over a really minor issue and asked to “be honest”. She feeds our dogs hotdogs and then calls to complain when they go up there and set up camp in her flowerbed (where it’s cooler) to wait for the next weenie to come out handout. So when she asked today if I have a problem with her feeding them, I (thought I) diplomatically said, “It would be better if you don’t do that.” You’d have thought I’d told her to go take a walk on the wild side by her outraged response. I mean she was mad. She loudly proclaimed she is sorry to have us as neighbors and ought to build a big old fence between us. (That would be a feat of engineering!)

My thought is “why did you ask if you didn’t want to know?” What was I supposed to do, lie?

People are interesting. I am reminded that I really hate confrontation. I was certainly not looking for it. Such a minor issue, any way you crack it. Maybe that’s why she has high blood pressure, ya think? I thought I’d feel better if I let myself rant in print. I’m not sure that I do.

Meet the source of this bone of contention. They are fondly known as "the girls."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Just for meme

I just caught up on my blog reading and have finally seen a meme I want to do, thanks to Linda at 2nd cup of coffee. I was fascinated by one that Carol posted recently on the Six-word memoir. However, it was just too hard to boil my life down to only 6 words. Or Uncommon Blonde's meme that used photos and a regsitration at flickr. Very cool, but too much energy. This requires simple one-word answers that aren't profound. So play if you want to and have fun!

1. Where is your cell phone? purse
2. Your significant other? Jim
3. Your hair? dark
4. Your mother? Bettye
5. Your father? Heaven
6. Your favorite thing? laughing
7. Your dream last night? driving
8. Your favorite drink? Peach tea
9. Your dream/goal? motivating
10. The room you’re in? office
11. Your church? family
12. Your fear? pain
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? busy
14. Where were you last night? home
15. What you’re not? quiet
16. Muffins? banana
17. One of your wish list items? bookings
18. Where you grew up? Sarasota
19. The last thing you did? coffee
20. What are you wearing? nightgown
21. Your TV? boring
22. Your pets? Labs
23. Your computer? updated
24. Your life? happy
25. Your mood? mellow
26. Missing someone? Jessica
27. Your car? Lexus
28. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
29. Favorite store? Ann Taylor Loft
30. Your summer? Hot
31. Like(love) someone? Family
32. Your favorite color? Blue
33. Last time you laughed? yesterday
34. Last time you cried? Sunday
35. Who will repost this? Guess

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dundees See Florida

We enjoyed a wonderful 4th of July with our family. We went canoeing on the Econfina creek , which is actually really close to us. The water is cold (there are beautiful springs all along the way) and it is a wonderful place to spend a hot day. Builderman is Mr. Outdoorsman and was so inspired by the beauty we enjoyed on Friday that he spent Saturday planning a walkabout on the Florida Trail, which almost goes through our backyard. The girls and I went on walkabout at Pier Park while he packed his gear. (If you don’t recall that term - refer back to Crocodile Dundee). Monday, Cupcake and I set out to Tallahassee for college orientation and registration and dropped Builderman off at a spot on the Florida trail. He hiked 18 miles in 2 days with a 35 lb. pack on his back and thought that was fun. He knows better to ask me to go on that kind of trek. We have some tales!

There’s lots going on in our lives. It’s been hard to articulate some of it, but my goal is to be more consistent in posting!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I’m a Winner

Affirmations. I have talked to myself in a planned way for years. All the goal setting seminars (including my own) teach it as a way to implement change. So I have told myself for years, “I don’t live by my feelings but by the Word of God”.

Guess what? I still live by feelings! The good news is that I swing up much faster than I get pulled down. My swing is up in the air right now as I just read on Big Mama’s Blog that I won a new Third Day CD!

”I’m a Winner” is my new affirmation. I used to say that I never win anything but I am now officially on a roll. I got a call while I was in Dillards last week telling me I had won a raffle that I participated in at the Women’s Expo and I went running from the store in glee to go claim my prize. You would’ve thought I’d won the grand prize with how happy I was with my embroidered beach bag with matching visor and towel.

Maybe I should go purchase my first lottery ticket since Florida started the lottery eons ago. I could throw a big blog party if I won and give away all kinds of cool stuff to my friends. Now that's a happy thought.

Hot tip: Dooce is giving away 5 Wii and 5 Wii Fit as sets. Deadline for entry comments is Weds. at 5 PM. Since I'm a winner I'm playing!! My chances are slightly better than winning the lottery since she has over 15,000 entries at this time.