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Monday, September 8, 2014

Inspiration

This is a shout out to a LowCarbFriends.com inspiration – SkinnyB212!
She has done an incredible job – her post today read:

"I cannot believe that just 4 months ago, in August 2013, I was 200 lbs...now 4 months later, I am 150 with just 20 lbs to go before I reach my ultimate goal of 130!

I also battle with low thyroid, so it was super difficult having to avoid certain foods that would actually cause me to get bloated & gain weight.

Here is what I did & hopefully, by sharing I can help someone else:
1. I counted carbs & did not eat over 30g carbs daily.
2. I watched my sodium intake
3. I counted calories and did not eat over 1500 calories a day
4. I drank 8 glasses of water daily
5. I did NOT eat cabbage or kale or "crack slaw" since it made me bloated
6. I did NOT eat fat bombs, as they also caused me to gain
7. I tried to stick to organic & healthy foods (no junk food or fast food)
8. I workout 4 mornings on an empty stomach for 30 -45 minutes.
9. I did not eat anything after 7pm.?

She is definitely encouraging me to follow these simple guidelines to success, and I will be challenging myself to do each of these things to see where they lead me. I lost weight on low carb initially, but haven’t had luck since. With the introduction of Low Carb bars, Atkins products, and other “cheats”, I tend to use those to control cravings in lieu of doing what Low Carb is intended to do, and that’s lower cravings to a point where you don’t need that taste of chocolate. Sooooo… I will keep my carbs below 30g a day total (not net), I don’t eat a lot of sodium so there’s no issue there, I try and stay under 1500 calories already, GOTTA DRINK WATER (no more soda), I don’t eat crack slaw or fat bombs, but I’ll eliminate the low carb treats which may be a part of the problem, I’ll stick with healthy food of course (I can’t afford fast food often anyway!) I’ll continue to work out, and the hardest part, stop eating after 7pm. Did you like the epic run-on sentence? Anyway, it won’t be easy for me – I’m 100% addicted to diet soda and will have to switch to tea for the caffeine. The headaches are not going to be fun. The low carb sweets part will be tough, but I will keep some no/low sugar peanut or almond butter around for a taste, and some 85%-90% dark chocolate if I absolutely need it. I will try to only purchase these items when needed, and not “stock” them in the house – that will encourage a binge I’m sure. If it’s not in the house, I probably won’t leave the house to get it – that’ll probably save my diet life more than a few times I’m sure!

When researching low carb, it said not to fasting so I won’t be doing that anymore. Most low carb dieters say not to workout either, but I read some stuff that suggested short cardio sessions like sprinting, and weight training to burn fat – I’m cool with that. I enjoy walking, so I really don’t want to give that up (it can’t hurt).

This will take preparation and 100% dedication.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Little Plug for my Gym

I had no concept of how much my favorite machines at the gym cost until I looked them up last night. A Cybex Arc Trainer = $3699! A PreCore Eliptical = around $4000! Richard and I pay about $50 a month at what is now Gold’s Gym in Chattanooga, and although there are a number of cheaper gyms in town (two of which I’ve tried out) Gold’s (formally Rush Fitness) keeps the machines repaired, offers numerous fitness classes, has a lap pool (also offers Water Aerobics), and other amenities such as a dry sauna, hot tub, personal training options, child care, and tanning. With the $15 a month gyms you get the very basic and personally if I’m going to pay for something, I want actual services offered to me; otherwise I can job in the park and work with free weights at home. Another great thing about them is the fact that they keep their machines in working order! When I was a member of Workout Anytime, the gym was smaller so a couple of broken cardio machines were kind of a big deal, and they wouldn’t be temporarily out of service for a week; it would be months before repairs would happen. I also paid an extra $10 a month to get a tan there before vacation so I wouldn’t burn under the Florida Sun – they had three beds, and one didn’t work at all and the other never had all the bulbs working all at once – I dropped our membership there after a number of disappointing visits. Convenience isn’t worth it if nothing ever seems to be working – Even if Gold’s/The Rush if more than other gyms, at least I can get what I expect from a gym – some instruction and working equipment.

Also, my gym has those $4000 pieces of equipment that I can't afford ;)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Over Using the Test of Faith Line

I rarely give up. I hate giving up, I hate ending situations without proper reasoning or answers, and I hate laying a situation down and simply hoping it will work itself out – that’s just not me. Considering that, I guess that is why I find myself being a bit judgmental when I see posts stating things like, “it’s in Gods’ hands now”. Unless someone is suffering from an incurable disease or is well… dead; God(s) have little to do with your situation, right? I mean all religion aside; if there is a higher power out there, than I’m sure he or she has a lot going on, and likely isn’t going to rearrange the universe to meet your requests. I’m not angry towards the idea that some folks feel a point of hopelessness when it comes to some situations; one who is religious can just as easily put it in their Gods hands in lieu of saying that they just give up, but I do find frustration with those who haven’t looked within at their life, at their decisions, and the situation that has resulted from a series of bad decisions while equally blaming God saying things like, “there’s a reason “he” has lead me here” or “this is a test of my faith” and also placing it on Gods plate saying, “well, here ya go! I’ve done all these things to get to this point, but somehow this is your plan, a destiny, so I assume you’ll fix it.” Don’t lie, we all know these people.

Every situation is not a test of faith. If you can’t pay your bills, that’s not a test of faith. If you had children you couldn’t afford, that isn’t a test of faith. If your job sucks, that is not a test of faith. If you got in trouble at work, that is not a test of faith. If you flunk a test and screw up in school, that is not a test of faith. See a pattern here? Situations that have resulted in your own actions cannot be logically linked to a test of faith. Sometimes we have to be held accountable for our own actions, and I think some religions weaken that concept with the idea of predestination – which in my opinion strips away the purpose in life.

There are so many things out there we cannot control, death being one of them. Dealing with a death in your family can be a test of faith, because you begin to question life, purpose, and what happens afterwards. Dealing with disease or disability through no fault of your own; that is a test of faith, because you do often have to rely on the belief if science cannot help, maybe **insert deity here** can. See the difference?

I’m not harping on those who practice any particular religion, or the practice itself. I just look at the lives of some folks and say, “ok, you can do these things, and this will lead you out of the situation your in.” But they don’t do those things. Instead they complain about money, but don’t encourage other earning possibilities, while suffering from “once a year millionaire” syndrome during tax time.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Advocates, Religious Practices, and Compromise

There are a lot of people praying for me right now, and I want the world to know that I whole heartedly appreciate prayer. When my grandmother passed this year, people prayed for me, for my family, and for all the people that loved her. To me, when someone prays for you, it means that they have made space in their heart and mind for you, your well-being, and anyone affected by whatever it is that if troubling you; they have proclaimed this care to the deity they believe in and worship with faith that this belief will return a blessing toward that person in the form of healing, patience, or whatever they may need. It’s a gift really regardless of what you believe, because you have someone in your life that cares so much for you that they spend the time in welcoming you into their faithful rituals; it’s a very selfless act. Think about it for a minute. Prayer is a very personal, caring, loving ritual – in saying that, I do think it should be kept out of public schools – not because I’m against prayer, but because not everyone bows their head to pray; there are many different prayer rituals that should be celebrated, but no one ritual should be in a public school where kids are experiencing many cultures in the classroom. I think acceptance should start early, and limiting their knowledge to one deity, one ritual, and one religion is tragic and a window to later on struggling with the acceptance and tolerance of others. Not why I’m writing today though…

I see folks roll their eyes at the idea when someone states, “I’ll pray for you”. Okay, sometimes that gets said in a derogatory way, and if you have ever disagreed with an unreasonable person in regards to religion, you know what I’m talking about; it’s the equivalent of, “I’m right, you’re wrong, and this conversation is over”. I’m usually okay with that – I try not to argue faith, because why would you? It’s faith, why would you want someone to lose that regardless of what they believe? I can understand the context in which they understand things can be a bit maddening, but you gotta understand too that they likely surround their selves with likeminded people that saying certain things more so than people like you, which may be saying the opposite. I have just as many Christian friends that get caught up in the very negative portrayal of Christianity, as I have atheist friends who portray a very negative side of atheism. When those too clash, the conversation may as well be had with a wall – they would take the result of slamming your head against the key board and sending it to them in the same regard of any logic you think you may have. Frankly, in my experience, I see more logic in Christians asking an Atheist to believe, than I see when an Atheist puts down a Christian deity – it’s easier to me to develop faith, than to completely release it when no real evidence is involved. Yes, religion starts a lot of wars, there’s a lot of anxiety in the world today and freedoms being denied due to the context in which some religious texts are interpreted, but Jo Shmo who accepted Jesus as his Savior has absolutely nothing to do with any war or politician who has a particular voting pattern. Christians tend to be more conservative in the South, but that doesn’t mean they share all the views of the Republicans. I have a few liberal, Christian friends that are extremely accepting – it would be ridiculous to group them into one single category, and I think as they do that with atheist, atheist do the same with Christians – they are both wrong.

I think my biggest problem right now with people in this whole battle for acceptance is that I see my atheist/agnostic friends bashing Christians for not accepting Gay Marriage, and a woman’s choice, but what the Hell do Christians owe you, non-believers?! What have you done for them lately? You are bashing them, and denying their faith, and sometimes their rights just as much as they are yours. You criticize and bully them for public displays of their faith, and treat them like morons just because they have chosen faith over your mostly unproven scientific theories. So with all that said, you actually think Christians are going to turn around and accept something you are advocating for? You think they are going to stand down? Wars are not started by religion – wars are started by the lack of ability for the two parties to compromise. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, bub!

This isn’t a declaration of war, or some weirdo Unitarian telling you that you’re all ridiculous… well, maybe it is, BUT everyone is acting a bit ridiculous right now! Tennessee voted again to deny Domestic Partnership, as each state, one at a time, is declaring that denying marriage rights to homosexuals is unconstitutional. Unconstitutionality is a nationwide issue, not to be left up to the states, so the fact that we’re still dealing with this screaming match between the common people; one arguing religious backing, and the other arguing human rights… I’m just sitting here like, you’re all ridiculous! You’re wasting your time arguing about these issues! Neither side is going to suddenly be like, “you know what, you may have something there”, because both sides of very passionate about what they believe, and have FAITH that it is right. So again, why argue. 1) Unconstitutional, it is what it is – it will pass eventually, because the SCOTUS will make it so, 2) you’re again arguing faith; that’s useless. Compromise while we wait – do not link Domestic Partnership to traditional marriage in campaigns, because you’re just darkening the lines of division. Let it ride; get your rights in a Domestic Partnership, and your marriage license when SCOTUS gets around to it. I know the “marriage” word is very important in these debates, but if Gay advocators would stop using the word marriage, than Right wingers may be more willing to listen. It sucks, but let’s get the rights, than worry about the romance of the title. Think about what’s important – you’re in love, you’re together, building a life, and add those rights in… You’re only missing that title, and we’ll get there. All about compromise.

And ladies, Pro-Choice advocates; STOP using the word abortion. To Pro-Lifers, the word abortion has been blown up to be this four letter word, and their campaigns are relating it to murder, which is sickening to me that one would relate the two at all. Pro-Choice campaigns should revolve around the needs for not only Planned Parenthood services, but also the different medical conditions that require a pregnancy to be terminated. It’s not in the mind of Pro-life voters that an abortion is not always something a woman chooses, sometimes it is required or recommended by her doctor – it could be that you are going to miscarry due to the baby growing in the wrong location, and in that case if abortion is illegal, you risk the mothers safety as she either has to travel to where it is legal, or wait to miscarry, which is a lot more damaging to the mother. A lot can go wrong. I think Pro-Choice advocates took a big blow when Sarah Palin spoke about her kid who has Down syndrome, and the fact she did not terminate the pregnancy – for once, this was a smart move for her, because it did put those thoughts into the heads of the Pro-Lifers, and Pro-Choice advocates really missed an opportunity to come out and say, “In cases like this, it is great the child is born alive and well, but that’s not always the case! Not all women are that lucky, and we must provide those women with the medical care they need to survive a high risk pregnancy that is already heart breaking without (mostly male) politicians inputting their opinions. They will never know that pain as a mother, so what gives them the right to choose!” Something like that… If there is any danger in a full ban, there needs to be a compromise that allows high risk moms to be able to consult with their doctor, choose, and be provided with that care. Compromse!! Shoot for all rights, but remember the priority is the women you are trying to protect – a teen mom has time to travel to another state (most of the time) for a chosen termination, but a high risk mother can’t always travel, and really, she shouldn’t have too – I can’t imagine having to pack a bag and travel to end a pregnancy, while carrying a baby that I know, I will never know.

I’m all about compromise – I just wish for peace, and these are just thoughts. I want women’s rights, and I want my many friends who are in beautiful homosexual relationships to be able to get married, but in the meantime, I feel like all we can do is get what we can, and hope for the rest. Stop the all or nothing approach, because it is not working. Not in the South anyway…

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Short Update

Misty, how is your diet going?
Very well thank you. I had an oopsie Sunday, but other than that it’s been good. I was down another two pounds last week; I’m a slow loser, so two pounds is a damn miracle!

We’re still playing soccer every Thursday, and practicing on Tuesdays. I’m walking on the weekends, usually 4 miles. I’m still JUDDDing of course, and that’s been working out well for me. Not only does the freedom allow me to eat my favorite food, but I am also saving money!

Did you get your budget under control?
Yes! Finally! I’ve started a Pinterest board called this week for dinner, and I’ve been pinning my dinners for the week. We’ve been eating casseroles, which are great because they’re usually two-three meals. I made Buffalo chicken casserole and it was good for two dinners for the both of us, and two lunches. We also made a cheesy chicken and rice bake, and it was good for two dinners and two lunches as well. I haven’t had to go to the store for two weeks, since the 5 days of meals I bought stretched into almost two weeks, minus a couple of days we ate out. All the bills are also paid up, and if I get this new job, we will manage a vacation next month!

Things are good at the moment :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

No Job Fo' You!

Is there a point where you can stop supporting or helping family members or friends? I think we all learn, anytime we’ve given a job reference or let someone borrow money or an item that family members are no more than average people, just as willing to take advantage of you and your generosity for their own gain as anyone else. It’ll take a pretty impressive show of commitment and/or determination for me to really ever think about recommending someone for a job again after being burned a few times, and I will never recommend anyone, family or friend, for a position in the same department I’m in! It’s one thing when a co-worker isn’t doing their part, but when you’re dealing with someone who is supposed to care about your general well-being – that’s another thing. I guess I’ve missed out on two very important aspects of submitting someone for a job reference in the past; 1) do they actually want THAT job, and 2) can they do/handle the job. Although most of the time the answers have been no to both previously mentioned questions, I’ve recommended folks anyway, and I’ve learned that I’m not doing anyone any favors; in fact I’m wasting everyone’s time. Most people I know have given up on family and friends when it comes to helping them get a job, and it’s a little sad, and it can ruin relationships, but if you are in a position where you are trying to succeed and do well, then don’t ruin that by having to babysit the very employee you suggested. Plus, it really screws up the trust management may have for you as a top performing employee, and that is very hard to regain.

It’s different if you know someone with similar ambition and drive, and you want to provide them with the same opportunity you have/had for growth. For example, I have a friend/former co-worker that is with a company now that has really given me a little push in the hiring process by passing my resume along, and giving me a great reference. We have a lot of the same goals; she knows my current and past job experiences, my reliability, my work ethic, and many other things that lead her to believe I’m right for the job. I would have done the same for her knowing her work ethic, and would do the same for a couple of others knowing theirs, but not if it was “just another job” for them – I want people who care, and at least use whatever position for a spring board if nothing else. At least if they are trying to use a job as a transition, they’ll try and succeed to keep a good reference in the future, right? Okay, you never know.

Maybe there shouldn’t just be some ground rules?
For example:

1) Must have a good work history, no job hopping! 2) Must have experience or desire to learn 3) Flexible scheduling and learning ability 4) Not one to complain about perfectly acceptable job terms (that really gets me since I’ve been working in Human Resources! “How dare you ask me to sign in for my shift, how dare you require direct deposit, how dare you ask me to work this shift even know I knew what I was getting into before I even accepted the position!! Grrr!” 5) Not Lazy! Yeesus Rice! Take the initative, help your coworkers, go the extra mile, show you’re not disposable!

I don’t think I’m being harsh. Also, I hate when people ask me about a job, disappear, and then reappear and ask again about a job when it’s then no longer available, because they flaked out. If you can’t manage to turn in an application on time, you can’t work with me. If you didn’t want the job before, then I’m not going to help you later, because you obviously could care less.

I know I’m ranting, and I’ve developed “short timers”, because I just have a great feeling about this Job opportunity floating around, but dammit! I’m sick of watching people come in and say, “so and so recommended me”, then they instantly get a great job, and proceed to screw it up, or show no care or regard for the duties they are presented with. SERIOUSLY!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Just Thinking...

I started a post yesterday ranting about finances; I work for the state, the benefits are good, but the pay is low. Having the experience in HR with the state has given by an enormous boost toward what I think will be a better opportunity here in about a month with much better pay that will give Richard and I the boost we need to feel confident in purchases a home by next Spring. I next Spring, because that is when our current lease is up, but I have a certain idea of what I need to happen before purchasing a home besides financial gains – I want to be married; I’m sure I’ve mentioned that. More than likely, we will not be by then. We talk about it, we loosely plan it, pick out d├ęcor and rings, but one important thing is missing from the equation – he needs to ask! I’m happy with the way things are, and I realize marriage does change things – it makes those little things you accept now, much more important later.

When you get married, things you accept, things you humor, those little annoyances that you let pass all become a bit more important, a bit more unacceptable, less humorous, and more annoying. You’ve now dedicated your life to this person and realize that if you don’t speak up, you’re going to have to deal with these things the rest of your days! This only really applies to couples that weren’t honest in the beginning I believe – if you tried to be someone you’re not to please the other person, getting married is going to flip that switch, reality will set in, and oh no! You’ve made a big mistake! And then you can tell that person all the things that are bothering you, and if they don’t change, the fight continues until some starts to feel unwanted, or unloved. Fast forward and you’re divorced. Again, that really only applies to you if you choose to constantly please someone in lieu of finding out if just being you is good enough.

I know entirely too much about Richard, he is honest and open about everything, and has been since I met him. I know a lot about his past and present, and he doesn’t really live for the future – he concentrates on the now. We were friends first through a mutual friend, I learned a lot about him early rather I wanted to know it or now, but in the long run, I’ve developed a trust for him that’s strong. The trust has brought us to where we are and even the one or two times we’ve had any kind of real problem aside from just being in a bad mood, it’s been an honest conversation. I just don’t believe there is a reason to lie to people – that’s how they get hurt, because girls especially, will always find the truth.

I’m certainly no relationship expert, but I do know what we have is special, and I want to spend my life working and striving to make it last. My grandparents have been married 67 or 68 years now, and I want that – I love their relationship (now), and I know they’ve had problems throughout the years, but they never gave up on each other, and that’s amazing. They see the best in each other.