Monday, June 30, 2008

Meeting Constance Rhodes


Well, I've built this baby up for almost a week now. 


It’s time to talk.


If you read nothing else in this post, this is what I want you to know…There is a book I found almost five years ago entitled Life Inside the Thin Cage: A Personal Look into the Hidden World of the Chronic Dieter by Constance Rhodes. It’s real. It’s true. It’s researched. It’s worth a read. 


Constance is not only an author, but she is the founder of FindingBalance.com, the webs only video based web site for information, help, and resources on Eating and Body Image Issues.


If the title of her book (or website) doesn’t speak to you, I would bet big money that it speaks to someone you know.


I am going to go out on a limb and guess that the title does speak to you. 


The posts for today and tomorrow are for you. 


Get comfortable, I have some story to tell.


A month ago I made a knee-jerk decision and subsequent wager, thinking little of the consequences. To make matters worse, I blogged about it bringing you into the game without asking. 


I decided to go a month without weighing myself. Tomorrow I’ll write specifically on the Weigh Out, since I still have one more day left...I don’t want to weigh count my chickens before they hatch!


However, after a week without weighing I was laying in bed one night, unable to sleep. I began to doubt my decision. Why take something so very personal; something that still sometimes stings with shame; and ‘expose’ it to the world-wide-web? What good could come from doing something so silly?


I finally fell asleep only to awake in the middle of the night, bright eyed and alert. 


As laying in bed late at night seems to go, I began to think about what I might do to make this “weigh-out” redeemable; worthwhile. I prayed for wisdom (cuz praying while supine is a sure fix for catchin’ some zzz’s!), but before sleep came a momentary thought sprinted through my mind: Ask Constance to send you a book. 


So I did what any other woman might do at three in the morning: 


I ignored it.


For several days, at random times, I would suddenly think about asking for a copy of Life Inside the Thin Cage to give away as a prize to one of my readers.


In the interest in making sure I wasn’t completely off my rocker, I pulled my copy from the shelf and began to skim through it.  I was reminded of why I liked it so much. This book was one of many things God used in my life to help open the door of my own cage. It gave me glimpses of Truth which I still hold on to today.


This 'book-begging' notion persisted for a week until I finally set myself over the computer and asked for a book.


Through a series of emails, she not only agreed to give me a book, but said she was going to be in Arizona and invited me to coffee. 


As it turned out, I arrived at lunchtime and we chatted over burritos in the warm Scottsdale sun. She asked me to share my story with her, and I briefly did so. I was far more eager to know a little more about FindingBalance, but especially the newly launched website The True Campaign


She explained to me that True is a combined project between FindingBalance and Remuda Ranch and is currently being featured (via video promotional) at Women of Faith conferences around the country. 


Constance, and Travis Stewart, her co-director in the True Campaign have a passion:


“We realized that if women could embrace their true God given identity, it would change their perspective on beauty, and thus alter the kind of lives they lead, and the kind of impact they make in the world.” 

This is a campaign geared to women, like me and like you, who are chronically, consistently, critically dis-content with our bodies,

overweight, underweight, or in between. They might be pretty or plain; young or old. Many look completely ‘normal’ on the outside – the right hair, shoes, clothes, makeup...”

     I’m talking regular gals we experience everyday life with; the gals we see at work, the church, the school. Oh and also, that amazing woman you see when you look in the mirror.

    Will you allow me to be bold for minute? 

     If you are anything like me you have spent way too much time and energy trying to make your outside “just-so”, but have been left wanting; never satisfied. We want to change, but we’re not sure how.

    That is where the True Campaign comes in. It’s also the part where I am going to issue a challenge, and a reward!

    Go to the True Campaign and look at the About section. This will give you more detail and some general knowledge of this campaign. Then go to the Give section to learn about the dream Constance and Travis are striving to achieve. 

    Then I would like to ask if you would consider signing up to be a part of the True Campaign with me. 

    If you do sign up for the True Campaign I would like for you to come back here and let me know through the comments. Your comment enters you into my giveaway for this week: a signed copy of Life Inside the Thin Cage.  You don’t have to be a blogger, but you do need to live in the US or Canada, and you need a valid email address to enter. I will choose a winner on Friday July 4th, Independence Day, baby!

    Here is the announcement: If you go here, you will find eight True-isms, located under "True Cards". 

   Starting tomorrow (July 1st) I will be posting my thoughts on the topic of 'Numbers' and it’s subsequent scripture. I’ll be thinking about one topic/scripture a week and writing my thoughts about it on Sundays. If you’d like to play along, print out the template and keep the cards on hand as a reminder of which Truth we are keeping.

     Lastly, if you are a blogger, and you would be willing to link this post sometime this week. That would be awesome too. 

    All right. I’ve thrown a lot of things at you. I hope you are still here.  I will close with a quote from the True Campaign:

"Let’s face it: too many of us dislike our bodies and struggle with eating issues. It’s time to start talking. It’s time to change and take action. For the sake of our future, its time to be True.

Will you be a part of it?"

Friday, June 27, 2008

Maybe Next Week. Maybe Next Year.

Have you ever had one of those moments in time, when you knew that things were happening just as they should? When you realized that things were happening that you never could have orchestrated on your own? Yet you doubted still?

Yesterday (and really the last week) was one of those times.  

Yesterday I stepped way out of my comfort zone. 

I had the opportunity to meet an author of a book I read several years ago that was instrumental in my spiritual and physical life. She was in Scottsdale on business, and through a series of events (that I will talk more about on Monday) we found ourselves sitting in a Chipotle talking about life. 

The funny thing is that it was completely out of my character to make a very long drive to meet someone I have never spoken to. But when she invited me to meet for coffee last week, I knew I hadn't a choice but to go. I knew that that meeting had to take place, even though there was fear (on my part) in the meeting. 

I was nervous about the logistics of how our meeting would take place. I was nervous about making it to the office on time. I was nervous about meeting this gal. I was nervous about driving on my own, to a city I do not know. I was nervous about what we would talk about. I was nervous. 

No, I was anxious

Honestly, while being excited for this opportunity, I was praying that God would release me from this responsibility. 

Ambivalence is such a paralyzing and exhausting thing.

Tuesday morning during my quiet time I realized that I needed to trust God with the details, and do what I normally do: Be who I am.

I was prayer journaling, writing out every concern.  Asking  God for His peace, but also for the strength to wait.  I also confessed my ambivalence, and my selfish desire to respond only to things He asks me to do that are convenient, or that allow me to be seen in a favorable light! I wrote of my great excitement, and my foreboding nerves. I confessed my hope in the meeting, and the hope that we might not meet. 

I opened my bible and found myself in Isaiah 55:22

"so is my word that goes out from my mouth: 
       It will not return to me empty, 
       but will accomplish what I desire 
       and achieve the purpose for which I sent it
.

 You will go out in joy 
   and be led forth in peace;"

So pretty much this is what I felt the Lord speak to my heart that morning:

You think you're in control. Your not. 
I have asked you to go. You will go. 
I have plans. You will accomplish those plans, in My strength. 
I will lead you in peace. You will follow. 
I have worked big things in your life, you have reason to trust Me. 
You don't have to worry about what comes of this, because it's not really up to you. 
You'll meet with this gal, and tell her that you are interested in being apart of her work:
Tell her: "Next week or next year." 
Ask her to keep you in mind.
You will chat. You will come home. 
You. 
Will. 
Wait. 

If this sounds harsh to you, let me assure you it wasn't. Sometimes Truth can appear harsh, but it really makes life easier.

I went to Scottsdale. I wish I could tell you I wasn't a bundle of nerves. I wish I could tell you that I went in complete peace. But peace isn't about the absence of nervousness. It's about knowing that sometimes doing what God asks you to do feels risky, but when He's involved You can rest in this truth: obedience brings blessing and strength (Duet 11:8). 

Maybe next week. Maybe next year.

The meeting went well. I thought it was positive. Of course, I spent a good portion of the ride home thinking of all the things I should have said; all the things I wish I hadn't said. I felt a little uncomfortable talking about myself...not in the moment, but in the time afterward.

It's in that doubtful place that I find myself this morning. Often times, when I share a part of myself with another person, I find myself doubting the next day.  I know that this is a normal part of relational risk. That's why I am so grateful that God didn't just leave me with that verse in Isaiah. In my quiet time on Wednesday I read this last line in my current devotional (written by Beth Moore) that I feel was definitely written for me in that moment:

Persevere doer of the Word. A harvest is coming.

I am incredibly grateful for yesterday. Meeting others who are passionate about the work the Lord has called them to is inspiring, motivating and exciting. My heart stirs just thinking about it. I looking forward to telling you more about it next week. 

I am sharing this with you because I know there are times in life when it seems easier to avoid doing what God asks us to do: To pretend we don't hear and look the other way. I want you to know you are certainly not alone. 

We all have things we are scared to do. Things we believe we are not qualified to participate in; Passions we are afraid to share with others. Moments when we feel we have nothing worthwhile to share.  Thoughts that come into our mind that make us want to believe God cannot use us.

That's not true.  He wants us to seek Him, listen to Him, and obey Him. To be a doer of His Word.

If you are struggling with this, if you think these thoughts at all, I am going to tell you what He keeps telling me this morning, just in case you need to hear it too:

Look to the LORD and His strength, seek his face always.


La Vida Dulce!


Thursday, June 26, 2008

It Happened Last Night...

...the event all desert dwellers wait for.


A strange phenomena happens here when the temperatures never gets below 100, and land is especially parched.

Desert dwellers begin to dream of rain and moisture. Relief. We talk about it. Dream about it. Live for it.

It happened last night. After the sun had set, and the evening darker than usual.

The big clouds came that billow and tease. Often it's so dry that you can see rain falling but it evaporates before it hits the ground, teasing us with the delicious smell that comes from moisture in the desert. Not last night.

We watched the lightening as a little squall rolled in from south. It's a show I have never seen else where. Lightening that doesn't just strike from sky to ground, but plays in the clouds like children on sugar.

The wind started to kick up with a cool, comforting, feel.

We piled in the car and got some ice cream. Then we went to our local park, where the kids ran around as if they had never been outside.

The Boy, who is a country boy at heart, ran around with his hands in the air, catching large droplets of water on his face and saying, "I'm actually COLD! I'm actually COLD!"

The Girl got back into the car. Lightening, even when it still far away can be scary when you're eight.  I know, I remember.

On the other side of the park stand the baseball fields, lit up by giant flood lights. The rain, began to fall heavily on that side of the park. We could see the rain drops shining under the lights. We remained dry.

The Mister said, "Here it comes."

And two minutes later, it was raining on us. 

And then...

...then we just sat there in the car and watch the wonder of monsoon. 

The beauty of water in the desert.

Y'all, it made me happy. Which is saying something, cuz I'm already a pretty happy girl.

What makes you happy today?


Because I provided water in the desert, 
   rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Isaiah 43:20 (MSG)


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just Another Wacky Wednesday

Actually it hasn't been wacky at all. I made myself clean up around the La Vida House, before logging on to see what's happening in the blogging community. 


Speaking of community...Can I speak from the heart?

The main reason I got into blogging was to keep up with In Real Life (IRL) friends, but I am continually amazed by the new people I am getting the opportunity to know and "meet" through this amazing platform. To be honest, I don't even know if my IRL friends read this thing anymore!  If you do, I am thankful for you too; even when life, and miles, and driving kids all over tarnation, has taken out the big chunks of time for long phone calls and all day visits.  

I love blogging, but it could never replace the need I have for face-to-face (or face-to-phone) time with those who really know me; not just the things I choose to write about and place on the net. 

Also, I want to say hello to all you gals who have stopped by recently and left a comment (and for the handful of you who have emailed).  I am trying to visit your blogs and spend some time there, (bookmarking, etc.)

It is proving to be a little more time consuming than I thought it would be, but I want you to know that I will visit! Because it is so fun to see who you are, and where life has you!

Next week is gonna be a big one here at La Vida Dulce. We are going to celebrate Freedom! 

(Friday being Independence Day, and all)

Not only am I going to fill you guys in on my "weigh out", but there will be a giveaway, an announcement, a challenge, and all sorts of rebel rousing. So please be sure to click on over.

All-righty, laundry calls...

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NASCAR and Tampax

I have seen a couple posts out there in the bloggers world that have to do with NASCAR.  I decided this might be a good time to share my NASCAR experience.

In March of 2005 we moved from North Texas to North Carolina.

I had been given all sorts of advice by kindly friends on how to adjust to living in the deep south.

One friend in particular, LJ, whom I love (in spite of the story I am about to write) was giving me all kinds of advice.  

I met her back in the day, when she was pregnant with her first baby. I was the leader of our Mom's Group.  In the 6 years I led that group she was the one that kept us all laughing. 

She's a kidder, that gal.

Now, she had been to NC, to attend a NASCAR event, and she was very clear that I would need some survival skills (so to speak); some "how to's" of being a proper North Carolinian.

First, she told me that I needed to have a driver

This information immediately formed a picture in my mind that had me sitting, Driving Miss Daisy style, in the back of a car.

I had no earthly idea that she was talking about NASCAR drivers, like Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (oh Google, you are my friend).

Her second piece of advice was to try and conceal the fact that both The Mister and I drive foreign-made cars.

Third, she assured me that every sweet Carolinian Gal she had ever run into at the NASCAR was wearing a tube top. She knew I didn't have one, so she thought I ought to know.  

I've saved this next bit of advice for last, because this was the part that got me into trouble...

In her desire to fill my innocent mind with all things NASCAR, we had a conversation that went like this:

LJ: Kellie, you'll have to have a favorite car too. I like the Tampax car. Cuz, ya know, it just isn't fair that the guys are always being represented by that Vee-agra car (that's Texas speak for Viagra). It's about time they put a car out there that says: Women like NASCAR too.

Me: Oh...sure...You're right.  

Only I didn't realize she was kidding.  

So fast forward to Easter Sunday a few months later, when I am having lunch on a sprawling lawn in NC with my new church family. The Mister is in conversation with another couple seated elsewhere. I sit down with a family I don't really know, and they're talkin' NASCAR. I'm quietly trying to eat some salad when the husband looks up at me and asks (in between bites of BBQ) what my favorite car is?  

OK now. I realize that what I should have said was: "I don't keep up with NASCAR."

But of course that isn't what happened.

Instead of ignoring that little humungous desire to make new friends; that insatiable desire to impress my new church-going peeps; rather than stomp down my strong compulsion to just be liked, I calmly said, "I like the Tampax car." Then I took a bite of biscuit.

After those five little words escaped my lips, every single bit of movement stopped at that southern table.  They all stopped chewin'. They all stopped talkin'. 

I knew something was amiss, and I could have used a real big swig of Carolina Sweet Tea, but the pitcher was dry. 

The husband says, "Uh, there is no Tampax  car."

I say, "Oh no. I'm sure there is. My friend LJ told me that's her favorite car."

At this point I can hear stifled giggles.

He says, "Hmm-mm, nope. There is not a Tampax car. I think your friend was pulling your leg."

A moment of clarity quickly flashes in my head and I think to myself Yeah, I guess she just might have been.

I am not sure how I recovered that one.  I am sure I laughed about it, because I am pretty good about laughing at my own expense. Cuz really, in that kind of awkward situation, what can you do?

So that is my entire experience with NASCAR.

I should get tube top and sew this across the front:

Don't be a Boob.
Keep your mouth shut.



La Vida Dulce!

Monday, June 23, 2008

My First Bloggy Award!

My sweet friend Mer at Life at 7000 Feet has awarded me with the "You make my day award".


Thank you much Mer! I am completely honored. 

I met Mer through a giveaway I did almost a year ago. After the giveaway we began to read each others blogs. Over the course of the year we realized that we live almost parallel lives. From salad making to couch buying we are like two gals separated at birth.  I love blogging, but meeting people like Mer is what keeps me blogging!  Her blog makes my day, but since she has already been given the award I will choose five others that also make my day:

Lisa at Destination: Photography is a blog I like to look at everyday.  Her photos are beautiful!

CSG of The Gochi is a friend of mine from back in the day.  We had our first little Texans together while our hubbies went to graduate school together. CSG is a dear friend and she has made my day for years!

Darcie of Such the Spot is a fellow Desert Blogger and she makes my day because we celebrate the same birthday (only she's a spring chick!) and we think a lot a like, which helps when we are masterminding together.

Lindsey from The Whitcomb Family.  She has blogged for a while, but only recently have we been reading each others blogs. She's a neat gal and I am looking forward to getting to know her more!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pride: The Root of Many At Home Accidents


Last week I posted about the morning the kids and I washed the cars.

What I didn't post about was how I backed the mini-van into the garage and accidentally hit the side of the house with the passenger rear view mirror, and took out a chunk of stucco.

Here's what happened...

I had backed the car out of the garage, and we began to wash. We washed the drivers side, but the hose in the front yard is kinda short, so I had to pull the car out of the drive, turn it around, and back into the driveway to wash and rinse the passenger side. 

While washing the back end of the van, The Boy noticed the chipped paint and cracked passenger taillight.  He said, "Mom! What did you do?"

To which I replied, "I did not do that, your Dad did." 

"Really?" he says. As if it seemed impossible that his Dad could do such a thing.

"Yes." I say. "Don't you remember taking that camping trip to Tyler State Park when we lived in TX? When your Dad backed up in to the campground and took out a small tree?"

Our mini-van was brand new at the time, and I was VERY grateful that I hadn't been the one to put the first "ding" in it. 

Of course he didn't remember, he was only 5 years old.

"So, for the record," I say, "Your Dad did that. Not me."

That's when we finished washing the van and The Girl suggests washing The Misters car as well.

"Great Idea!" I say, and instruct the kids to stay out of my way while I back the van into the garage so to make room for The Misters car on the driveway.

I was concerned about the kids moving from the spot I had told them to stay, so I was keeping my eye on them, instead of the fact that I was about to plow through the wall of the garage.

Until i heard a huge CCCRRRUUNNNCHHHHH!!!!! sound. I looked to my right and the mirror was all bent backwards and folded over on one edge. 

I do believe that it was at this point when a bad word came out of mouth. 

But I won't repeat it here. 

I put the car in drive and hoped against hope that it wouldn't be as bad as it sounded.

The mirror, with a bit of pink stucco scratches, was none the worse for the wear. 

The house? Well, let's just say that The Mister, who had just crossed the last Household Maintenance Chore off his list, has something new and exciting to learn: Stucco Patching.


When I got out of the car The Boy says, "What did you hit?"

"The house." I say with a resigned and quiet tone.

"Wow! That's much worse than a tree, isn't it?"

Yeah, well, it just might be.


First pride, then the crash— 
   the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (The Message)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nostalgia


You may remember this post, where I talk about throwing out some old nostalgic items while moving into this house.  I talk on (and on) about letting go of items from the past (in this case it was my old ballet shoes).  

Well, apparently, I couldn't let go of those. I actually kept two pair. 

Yesterday, I decided I had to try them on.  For old times sake.

I laughed out loud while shoving my feet into these narrow shoes. I have the most block-square feet known to man.  They are almost as wide and they are long. They are the Freddiest of Fred Flintstone feet. How I managed to squeeze my feet into these shoes and actually dance on them is beyond me...of course that was two children, and a life-time, ago!

I put them on, and gingerly pulled up on my toes, and yikes!, my tender feet are so over those harsh dancing days. They prefer pedicures over pointe shoes.

Nowadays, I'll chooser the sensibility and comfort of my running shoes to the hard, painful, toe box of the ballet shoes. They are so beautiful, and yet there is a cost.

Ah! The memories!

What do you keep for nostalgic reasons?  

Friday, June 20, 2008

Because I Am Mushy Like That

My man has been out of town all week.


Goodness! I have missed him.

Back in the day when the kids were little I used to hate it when he left town, but it was different. 

I missed him, but I also missed his help.

Now that the kids are more self-sufficient I miss him even more!  I miss seeing him munch his cereal at the breakfast table. I miss teasing him about that old t-shirt he is always wearing around the house. I miss walking by him and giving his rear a little smack. I miss laughing and talking, and dreaming.  

I miss my friend.

For you young mom's (meaning Mom's with young children and babies) you are at that time in life when you are so physically busy that much of the conversation between you and your hubby is often just a passing of information. I want you to know it's get better!  Eventually the "physical" part of parenting eases up, the emotional part of parenting heightens a bit, but I don't believe you will be as physically tired as you are right now!

So now that I am not running around searching out sippy-cups and changing diapers, and making sure that someone isn't playing in the toilet, I have time to actually talk to my husband. I like to call it "conversate". The Mister always laughs at me when I use that word...

His flight arrives at 11:00am and I am very HOPEFUL that his flight will be on time. 

And that's why we make such great friends, cuz he's the sensible one, and I'm the dreamer.

Happy Friday!

PS: if you subscribe to my feed, you may be finding old posts in your queues. Sorry!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Because I Firmly Believe in Child Labor

Confession.


My car had not been washed on the outside since Spring 2007. 

That would be over a year ago.

My Dad has been making comments about my dirty car for almost six months.

But things? They have been busy. And a clean mini-van wasn't top priority.

The mini-van is actually white, although it's been looking pretty gray. 

I keep a tidy home. Those of you who know me in real life, that's the truth, right? 

But the car? Pretty much a trash pit. Those of you who know me in real life, that's the truth, right?

Have you ever seen this video? Yup. That's my car.

Fortunately, my kids have a love for washing the car when it's really hot outside, so they got the radio, and we cranked the tunes. 

For good measure we washed The Misters car too.

I also got the kids to clean out the inside and I washed the windows, and cleaned what they didn't get to.

You're probably worried about whether or not my kids have any fun, what with my being a slave driver and all.

Well here are a couple of pictures to show you how terribly they're suffering.



La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not Just for Hot Days

I don't know about you, but summer-time snacks are some of my favorites.  I love eating watermelon, and popsicles, and grilling all sorts of meat. I guess that last one isn't really a snack. 


I also enjoy some ice cream. Actually, in the list of Many "Things" That Make My Life Good, ice cream is in the top five.

My favorite flavor, all year round, is Mint Chocolate Chip. I like the kind that is green and has little flakes. Not big chunks.

Yesterday I tried a new recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream that I wanted to share because it was easy, required minimal cooking without eggs, and tasted DELICIOUS! 

1 cup milk
1 cup Heavy Cream
6 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Cup chocolate (grated) 
Several Drops Peppermint extract (depends on how minty you like it!)
1 tsp Vanilla
(opt.) Green food coloring 

Place milk and sugar in a sauce pan on low heat and cook until sugar is dissolved. Do NOT boil!

Place milk and sugar in a glass or metal bowl and then place it in a larger bowl with ice.  Cool mixture. Add heavy cream, vanilla and peppermint (and green color, if you like). Stir over ice bath until chilly.

Add to ice cream maker and start machine. Add chocolate as ice cream begins to thicken. (I chopped 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in my food processor)


You can eat it like a soft serve ice cream, right out of the maker. But I like to put it in a container and let it harden just a bit.

MMmmmmm......

I may have already done a Random Poll for June, but I like to live on the wild side, so let's do another!

What is your all time favorite ice cream?  And if you don't eat ice cream, what is you favorite summer time snack? And if you aren't a snacker, then you need to leave a comment anyway, cause I need to pray for you.  ;)


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cave-Like Living

Well, it's arrived.


The time of Cave-Like Living.

Yesterday the temperature reached a toasty 107 degrees. 

But it's a dry heat, so it really only felt like 107.

According to weather records on June 16, 1990, when the record high was 117 degrees, yesterday was down-right chilly.

I still lived here in 1990, why don't I remember that?  

Anyway, when the weather starts to turn up in the Wild, Wild, West we all start doing little "desert dances".  Yesterday I remembered several things that I always tend to forget during the winter month. (Yes. One. Month.) 

1. Never walk to the mail box with out shoes.  It's like walking over hot coals. That are actually on fire.

2. Never forget to put your sun shade up in your car. Our else your steering wheel (and seat) will feel like hot coals. That are actually on fire

When your feet, hands and backside, are all burning, life is not pleasant.

3. Always, always, always look for shade while doing anything outside. In this town gasoline and shade are the two most expensive commodities.  Gasoline we will just pay for, but shade? If we are hot enough, we may fight you for it!  

OK, there are others on the list, but it's early and I have only had one cup of coffee (yet) this morning.

So, what was I writing about? Oh yeah, Cave-Like-Living.

One of the positive things about living in this place in the world is that the sun DOES shine year round.  I love natural light, and I love to have my blinds open all the time. As a matter of fact I would keep them open all the time, and never ever close them, because I don't like to feel like I live in a cave. But The Mister doesn't like them to be open at night...something about feeling like he lives in a fish bowl. 

This time of year, keeping the heat out and the cool in is practically a full time job.  Actually, its like a well timed dance, requiring what I call the Keeping it Cool in the Cave Choreography. It goes like this:

5:30a: Get up.

5:31a: Get coffee.

5:32a: Go open all the blinds (we have eleven windows in the common area of our house.)

5: 33(ish): Try not to spill coffee while opening blinds.

7:00a: Close the blinds to the East. Sun is rising. Makes front of house hot.

8:30a: Open east blinds a bit. Just enough to let some light in, not 
enough for heat.

1:30p: Close west blinds in dining area.


2:30p: Close blinds on patio door.

3:00p: Close west window in family room.
3:00-7:00p: Open all blinds to west side of house. Close blinds to east of house (we don't want neighborhood peepers.)

8:30 (ish): Close all blinds that remain open.

Go to bed. Wake up. Start Again.

Yes, desert dwelling is good, but not everything is sunshine and light. 

Sometimes it's Cave-Like Living.

La Vida Dulce!

PS: I am not really complaining as much as dredging up something to blog about. My heart and prayers go out to those of you who are living in water-logged parts of the country.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mi Nidito (The "real" edition)

Today I am excited to be a part of The Nesters' It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect To Be Beautiful party.


The Nester is one of my favorite bloggers because she inspires by example. She makes decorating seem do-able, affordable and easy. I love her realistic "my-home-can-be-beautiful-AND-livable" attitude! Her ability to decorate a home is amazing!

Anyway, her challenge today is to show the beautiful reality of one part of your home. 

Several months ago I posted this about Mi Nidito, or my nest.  This is where I study, or talk on the phone,  or read, or snuggle with my kids, or needlepoint, or escape to watch a movie on my iPod when the kids are gaming or watching SpongeBob for the bagillionth time. 

It's in the corner of my bedroom, and on most days it looks like this:
Every once in awhile I clean it all up and dust things, but it never stays that way for long. 

As a matter of fact, my bedroom is right off the formal living room, so when you walk into our home you can look right into our bedroom. This is how I keep our bedroom, as seen from the living room:


But if you walk into the room and take a look to the left, it's there. My Mess Nest.
 
There is the throw pillow given to me by me dear friend, Jen with One N; my hand quilted blanket, given to me by Aunt Gertrude; there are bible studies and novels, catalogs and phone lists; there are guitar picks and hand weights. Those two boxes on the left are the last two moving boxes left to unpack (we moved into this house 14 months ago!)

But it's my little corner, and to me it's beautiful!

Friday, June 13, 2008

In Need of Bloggy Feed(back)

Actually, I need a lot of help, in a lot of areas.


But Rome wasn't built in a day!

Anyway, here is my problem. 

Keeping track of blogs I read.

I started using Bloglines about 6 months ago. I started it because I realized that bookmarking blogs and then checking them several times a day was very time consuming, especially when almost half of my blogging buddies don't post every single day, or even once a week, or month. When I realized Bloglines would tell me when someone had posted, which saved time for reading MORE blogs, I signed up and have been fairly happy.

My only complaint (until today) with Bloglines is that I subscribed to myself (to be sure it would appear in the list) and it often takes HOURS before it shows up in my line.

Today I found out that Lisa of Destination Photography has been posting all week, but her posts haven't been showing up in my Blogline.  I thought maybe somehow I had been unsubscribed. So when I went to re-subscribe, it told me I already had a subscription. Then I realized that Lisa's wasn't the only blog that had been dropped...there were a couple of others as well!

So here is my question? How do you organize the blogs you read? Do you check their site every time you get a chance? Do you subscribe through other feeds?  What the heck is all the stuff about "feeds" anyway? Is Bloglines considered a "feed"?  Do you use more than one feed? Does all this talk about feeding make you hungry?    

Help a sister out would ya? 

I would hate it if I missed even one single post that you wrote!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hand Bag Tragedy

I have a few minutes, and I want to say hello.


Hello.

Other than that I am at a total loss for words. 

It's funny, as a blogger I funnel everything through my "Is it blog-able?" filter.

Many things aren't blog-able because sometimes you just have to be there. Sometimes I write posts in my head while in the car, or in the shower, or while I am doing dishes. But by the time I sit down to write, it's gone. 

They say that learned information is stored in your brain, it's just a matter of accessing it.  

I do believe that is the *cruxt* of my problem: Access.

*do you know that I use the word "cruxt", meaning the beginning, or the origin, of my problem, all the time? But when i looked it up in the dictionary just now, it's not there.  I am ALWAYS doing that in real life. The Mister thinks it's hysterical, but I find it very annoying. *

Anyway, I have tried a few different things to help me remember my thoughts, so I can write about them later. One of those things was to keep a pad of paper with me at all times. Except I kept forgetting to keep it with me. Or it would get lost in the bottom of my handbag with those pretzels and unwrapped pieces of Trident that always seem to live down there.

Speaking of junk in my hand bag, have I ever told you about the time I unknowingly sprayed in the inside of my large handbag with pepper spray?

Yes I did. It completely ruined my bag.

The Mister had given me a pepper spray to attach to my key chain because he was worried that I might get mugged while running.  Unfortunately, one afternoon my keys were feeling particularly bulky so I took the spray off the chain and threw it in my purse. 

Months later while shopping with a friend I kept smelling this really strong odor but I didn't know where it was coming from.  Later that evening I was digging in my bag and I kept smelling something that was really foul. It made you kind of shudder when you smelled it. I couldn't figure where it was coming from, but finally I realized it was coming from the hand bag so I stuck my face in it and took a huge whiff.

Big Mistake.

The inside of my nose burned for hours.

And I ended up throwing away that fantastic hand bag. Although I should have kept it and learned to run with it. Then if I ever got mugged, I could just throw the hand bag at them. 

Ya! That would show 'em!

OK, my five minutes are up. I am glad I said hello.  Because, internet people, I like chattin' with ya!

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Meme Tuesday!

I found this meme from Mer over at Life at 7000 Feet

In your entire life, have you ever...

gone on a blind date? No

skipped school? Yes

watched someone die? No

been to Canada? nope

been to Mexico? Yes

been to Florida? Not yet

been on a plane? Yes

been lost? Oh my goodenss, yes!

been on the opposite side of the country? More times than I ever imagined.

gone to Washington, DC? Yes! I love DC.

swam in the ocean? Yes, but I am certain I will never swim in it again. I nearly drowned!

had your booze taken away by the cops? Hmmmm...no!

lettered in a high school sport? I was a choir and drama nerd...we didn't get letters. But I did get to be the selfish princess in the Frog Prince!  

cried yourself to sleep? Yes

played cops and robbers? No

played dolls? Yes, and I still like to play dolls with The Girl!

recently colored with crayons? No, Crayola Window Markers

sang Karaoke? Never

paid for a meal with coins only? No...but that is a funny question!

done something you told yourself you wouldn't? Every. single. day. It mostly involves eating something chocolate or checking email 328 time a day.

cheated on an exam? Yes, in math class in the 8th grade. With a girl named Shayle. We both got sent to Mother Superiors office, where she denied giving me access to her math paper, and I cried and cried and spilled my guts.  

made prank phone calls? Oh yes!  Caller ID put an end to that didn't it?

laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose? I don't think so. 

caught a snowflake on your tongue? Not very often!

danced in the rain? Once The Mister, the kids and I got caught in a rain storm while on a walk in  Texas. We went to find shelter, but decided to walk in the rain...the kids LOVED it!

written a letter to Santa Claus? Of course!

been kissed under the mistletoe? absolutely 

watched the sunrise with someone you care about? Yes, and a sunset all in one day!

been arrested? Never

blown bubbles? Soap Bubbles: more than I care to count...it's not my favorite thing.  Gum Bubbles: Every day....I have pretty horrible chewing gum manners.

gone ice-skating? Yes, and I use to wear this really cute skating skirt I had (that I used in dance class) and two hair clips that had long crocheted spirals that looked like ringlets. I used to do a two footed spin and pretend my long beautiful curly hair was spinning all around.  

been skinny dipping outdoors? Yes, several times. But one memorable time was in high school when my best friend and I decided to skinny dip late one summer evening at my house. My brothers had gone out the front door to the side of the house where the pool motor and light were located. My friend and I were happily swimming and giggling and thinking we were all cool and stuff, when suddenly the pool light came on. I could hear my brothers running away and laughing as if this was the funniest thing they had done, EVER. I was not amused.


had a nickname? Kellie is my nickname. My full name is Kellianne.

been to Africa? Nope. But for a short while I was addicted to Africam. (back in the day when all it was was a live camera on a watering hole. Now it's all wonky, and you have to 'join' to see the live cam)

eaten cookies for dinner? Absolutely, as a side to dish to ice cream.

been on TV? Several times, but back in the day I was in an episode of The Young Riders. Do you remember that show? With Josh Brolin and Stephen Baldwin? Josh Brolin was very nice. And I am going to break the La Vida Dulce "If you can't say anything nice than don't say it at all" rule, and say that Stephen Baldwin was a HUGE jerk! ( I have pictures somewhere...but i think they may be at my Mom's house...so pictures to come!)

stolen any traffic signs? nuh-uh. What in the world would I do with a stolen traffic sign?


been in a car accident? only fender benders.

What is your...

mother's name? Karen

favorite drink? Coffee

birthplace? This town, Arizona

favorite vacation spot? Do I have to pick one? I do? OK, Carolina Coast, NC

favorite salad dressing? Newman's Own Light Italian

favorite pie? Chocolate Cream

favorite number? 7

favorite movie? Steel Magnolia's 

favorite holiday? Christmas

favorite food? I don't really have a favorite, but I enjoy fresh bread. With a good cheese. And maybe a glass of wine, if I'm really gonna go for it.

favorite day of the week? Friday

favorite brand of body wash? The Target generic for Dove Moisturizing body wash. It's heavenly and makes my skin oh! so! soft!

favorite toothpaste? Whatever I can get in bulk at Costco, right now that's Colgate Max Fresh with Breath strips.

favorite smell? Coffee 

Do you have any...

tattoos? Yes. The Mister and I got matching tattoos five years ago for our 8th anniversary.

body piercings? Ear lobes.

Do you drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? 4 door mini-van

What do you do to relax? Blog, read, bake

How do you see yourself in 10 years? Well 10 years from now I will probably be getting ready to go to The Girls high school graduation. I will probably be working to help pay for two college tuitions! 

Tag! Your it! If you play please comment and let me know where to find your meme!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Because I'm a Child of the 80's

Well, actually I'm a child of the 70's, but it's the 80's that I remember the most.


And why, you ask, is this information relevant to this post?

Well, because I have been blogging for almost three years, and every single Monday when I sit down to post I want to name the title: Just Another Manic Monday.

Which, in the world of thirty-something female Bloggers, is probably the most unoriginal title I could come up with.  

Also, every single Monday I end up singing "just another manic Monday, wish it were a Sunday, cause that's my fun day. Just another manic Monday."

Other than that little bit of useless information I have absolutely nothing to tell you today. 

This Monday is actually turning out to be anything but manic. We went to swim practice and came home. I made lunch. The kids are watching a movie. I hope to eat my lunch (while writing this post), read all y'alls blogs, and then go watch the movie Waitress while folding laundry. Someone told me recently that Waitress was one of there top 10 favorite movies, which I thought was weird since I had never heard of it.  I hope it's good. If not, that's OK because any movie is good when your folding laundry. It's all about distraction my friends, it's all about distraction.

Speaking of movies, I have a certain 8 (and a half) year old girl who is such a talker during movies. It DRIVES ME TO THE POINT OF WANTING TO LISTEN TO DENTISTS DRILLING INTO TEETH FOR FUN.

You'd think it would be better with movies she has already seen 3978 times, but no. 

It isn't. 

As a matter of fact, let me do a little "live" blogging and write as I listen to the questions she asks her brother while they watch their movie:
 
Is that person that other person's friend? Is that animal gonna get hurt? Is she mad? What is she thinking? How come she is doing that? Is that person gonna cry? Why did she laugh? How come he just said that? Is she a bad guy? What is it? Is she gonna get killed? Is this a scary part? Did he take that from her? Can't they see those things? They don't know what that is? She doesn't like it? Why does she always wear pants?
All these questions within a 4 minute time span.

This started about a year ago and back then I considered pausing the movie and answering her questions, but we won't ever finish a movie if we do that. 

We have tried everything we know to keep her from asking questions during movies (with the exception of kicking her out of the family room or taping her mouth shut). But nothing has helped.  

I took them to a movie last week and the questioning didn't happen in the theater, so I know she is capable of zipping it. Is this a phase? A "girl" thing? Because my son didn't do this.

All right, that's enough writing from some one who had nothin' to say. 

I hope your Monday isn't manic.

La Vida Dulce!



Saturday, June 07, 2008

Acting Like A First Grader

You know how when your kids come home from school and they can't wait to show you there art work?  Well, that's a little how this posts goes...

I have been working on several projects.

This spring I signed up to participate in The Feathered Nest's Apron Swap, which has been a lot of fun. I used this swap as a challenge to make a new apron. I had bought this pattern months ago and was looking forward to trying it. It ended up being fairly easy and the picture below is the finished project.

Last month my friend Chel over at Chasing Contentment suggested a swap. She makes beautiful jewelry. She and I both have little girls, so we decided to swap jewelry and aprons for both us big girls and our little girls, which I thought was fun. Several months ago my Mom found this Mother/Daughter apron pattern and picked one up for me. 

Honestly, I thought that the pattern pictures were beautiful, but I had put off making them because the cover pictures looked complicated and difficult. I decided this Mother/Daughter swap was a great way to challenge myself.

I learned to never judge a pattern by it's cover!  These aprons were so very easy to put together (the hardest and most time consuming part was cutting out the fabric pieces!) I am so pleased with the way they turned out.

Here is the Mom apron:

 Here is the Daughter apron:

The fun things about these aprons (which I didn't realize until I had finished them) is that they are completely reversible!  So it's like two aprons in one!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Moonshine Minivan

I made a trip to Trader Joe's yesterday because 1001 people have been telling me I just had to go there.  Gals from the pool, to the salon, and of course on the internet, have been singing the praises of this tiny store that is cram-packed with organic goodness.  


I will personally be blaming Jo-Lynne of Musings of a Housewife for the new  Cheese Stick and Cinnamon Graham crackers vice, because she recommended them.  No doubt, since I just gave up a raging Diet Coke addiction, I was in need of a replacement.  Those two lovely snack items will suffice. 

All jokes aside (Jo-Lynne, ya know I love you like a blogger, right?) I went to TJ's to get some whole wheat pretzels and the TJ's brand of Wheat Thins.

I love Wheat Thins with sliced apple dipped in peanut butter for lunch, which I have already mentioned here before, and I was skeptical about changing my cracker (even with all the awful stuff they put in them), but the TJ brand is actually TASTIER!  

As a matter of fact I am having that same lunch today, except I had to replace my standard apple with a pear, because I have had an unfortunate incident this week that has made the inside of my mini-van smell as if I am attempting to make some homemade brew.

It all started on Monday when I ran to the Costco. Among other things I picked up a package of twelve large Fuji apples.  These apples are usually so tasty but when I got them home and started to put them in the fridge, the bottoms (the part you couldn't see in the package, were all brown and soggy. They were obviously very old.

I knew I was going into town on Wednesday so I put the apples back in the fridge with a note to remind me to take them back for a refund.

Wednesday morning started with a stressful hue, and in the process of getting out the door I placed those apples in a freezer tote bag I keep in my car for transporting frozen and cold stuff.  
The day continues to be a little crazy, and I sort of forgot those apples were in the bag.  Until just about 25 minutes ago, when I took The Girl to a friends house.  

Hence the pear with lunch today. 

Somehow I don't think I am going to get my money back.

Oh well~ 

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Works For Me: "Mom I'm Bored!" Edition

A couple summers ago I did a photography project with my kids.


They each were given 15-20 minutes with the digital camera, and a theme by which to take pictures.  For instance, if the theme was the color red, they were then told to go photograph things in (and out!) of the house that were red.  

This link is a sample of The Boy's Blue Theme.

The more creative the theme, the longer the project can last!

When each child was finished I would print out 8 - 10 of the best pictures, and then they were to make a scrap book of their summer memories.

They loved it and have asked to do it again this summer!

If you want more ideas on how to be Summer Boredom Busters go check out Rocks in my Dryers Works for Me Wednesday!