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Getting Started

Organizing my path.

Lists: Oh how I love lists!  I have them all over my house is several notebooks. Random thoughts, advice, stuff I’ve read, church sermons but it’s all over the place so I’m going to put all that crap together and organize it. Using colored pencils and a big binder I’m going to break it all up into categories and make it fun. I am changing my life after all might as well add some whimsy. 

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Coronavirus Thoughts

I watched the News last night, which is something I never do.  I wanted to hear more about the virus.  Brandon and I just moved into a new house so we have been so busy unpacking, putting up blinds and etc. to pay close attention to everything going on in the world.  Of course, we are aware of the pandemic going on, I’ve been working from home for 2 weeks.  I just can’t believe there are medical tents set up in Central Park and they are saying the U.S. could see 200,000 deaths from Coronavirus. This is like something out of dystopian novel. (My favorite genre most of the time.) I also talked to a friend of mine, who is a hospice nurse, who said that her people are getting prepared for something we’ve never seen before.  It is all so horrible, but I’ve always been the type to think everything happens for a reason.

Even if you don’t believe in God, you have to admit that the planet has a way of protecting itself and this virus might be the answer.  I believe God is sending us a message.  I’ve felt more and more the last few years that we, humans, are consuming and wasting so much stuff these days it is frightening.  We just buy and buy and buy shit until we can’t buy anymore.  We are living paycheck to paycheck to have more shit that most of we throw away. If I just think back to when I was a kid, our grandparents didn’t throw anything away, they didn’t buy as much either though.  Remember the Cool Whip bowl in the fridge, you never knew what was in that thing, but it was never Cool Whip.  We’ve all been so blessed to be able to have so many things that we don’t appreciate anything anymore. I’ve read a few books on minimalism and I like their ideas on living with less but the amount of stuff they throw away is not helping anybody least of all the environment.

We buy and throw away too much of everything.  We even buy too much food and don’t eat it and we throw it away.  I went to a party once where the host had a huge spread of meats, vegetables and desserts, it was amazing! When the party was over they grabbed all the leftover food and threw it in trash.  I asked why they weren’t keeping anything and they said because their refrigerator was so full they didn’t have room for anything else.  It was hard to watch all that delicious food go in the trash but I didn’t have room for it either.  My grandmother would have never done that, she would have at least given it to the cats that roamed the neighborhood.  She appreciated that the vegetables took all summer to grow and harvest and that the animals gave their lives in our to nourish ours. We don’t even think about any of that when its so readily available and easily replaced.  We take it all for granted.

Maybe this virus will help us appreciate things again, the small things, like toilet paper.  Maybe it will teach us to use cloth towels and napkins, or maybe we will learn how to garden and cook for ourselves.  At least, we should learn the importance of using all of what we have before we buy more. Or maybe we just need to learn how to go without.  Most of us don’t even remember what that is like.  We can survive without tacos, God I hope that we don’t have to though!

I hope things start to get better.  I hope they find a vaccine.  I hope people stay home and find a way we can all keep our jobs.  I hope we learn the lesson we are being taught, whatever it may be.  I pray that we all stay safe and healthy.

Taking a Break in Asheville, NC

I decided I’d take my husband to Asheville for his 40th birthday.  He had never been and I knew he would love to tour all the breweries there.

First we stopped in Cherokee, NC so we could check out Harrah’s Casino.  We only really couldn’t spend much time there so we each took $20 to gamble.  We were done in 30 minutes.  I don’t see how people can sit there all day, it wasn’t even fun.

Next stop was Sierra Nevada Brewery.  They have all kinds of tours you can take of the brewery and the property around it.  We opted for the free 90 minute basic tour.  (You have to make a reservation for all of them so be sure to do that before you go.)  We checked out the restaurant first.  The menu is basically tapas, you pick 3 or 4 and share.  We ordered the duck fries, tofu curry, and green chile pork.  The food was just ok.  The brewery tour was really cool though.  Their facility there is beautiful and during the tour we got to see and touch all the different hops and at the end of the tour taste all of the beers.  I’m not a beer drinker myself but even I was impressed with this place.

On to Asheville!  We checked in and got settled at our hotel just in time to eat again.  Yay!  I knew the first stop here would be The Southern Kitchen and Bar.  I’d eaten here before on a girls trip and we all loved it.  This time was no different.  Oh my god, it was sooo good.  Everything I’ve had on this menu is amazing! If you don’t eat anywhere else in Asheville just go here.  After we ate we just walked around and saw the city.  It’s a really cool, laid-back place…lots of artsy, eclectic people.

The next day was his birthday so it was all about beer.  First beer stop was Hi-Wire.  It’s a very small place but kinda cool and he enjoyed his beer.  Next was Wicked Weed.  I liked this place because they had a full bar and I could get a drink myself.  It was packed though and loud, which would have been fine a little later in the day but it was still early.  img_5048

We also went to Green Man and Burial Beer breweries and ate at Buxton Hall BBQ.  We ended out night at Jack of the Wood, a celtic pub with fancy pub fare and live bluegrass music.  It was fun and the food was really good too.

We left the next morning, but I wanted to get a hike in on the way home.  I really wanted to see Chimney Rock.  It was only about an hour outside of Asheville and from the top the views are breathtaking.  You can also see an aerial view of Lake Lure, where Dirty Dancing was filmed!img_5075img_5068img_5062img_5063

It was really cool, actually is was really hot…I wished it had been cooler so we could have tried some of the longer trails because we barely made it to the rock.

Overall, we had a great time.  Very relaxed and refreshing trip.

Goat Cheese

goat cheese

I love goat cheese!  I’m always excited when I go out somewhere and find it on a menu.  It’s never occurred to me though to just buy it.

It’s weird how I tend to buy the same groceries over and over again…I guess it is a habit like everything else.  I realized yesterday though that part of creating this new lifestyle will have to be to changing my shopping habits.  I need to explore grocery stores differently now, really look at what I’m buying, maybe spend more time browsing different parts of the store than I used to.  I was always so poor growing up that I’ve sort of created this fear of buying unusual or more expensive items. I’m still not a rich person but I certainly can afford a little goat cheese.

My husband is always telling me I need to not worry so much.  It is kinda hardwired into my character in behalf of my family and their way to find worriment in every situation.  I’m trying to fight this part of me now.  I will never be happy if I focus on all that can go wrong in every situation.

Anyway…my goal this week is to explore new foods.  Try things that I have never tried before and stop buying the foods I don’t even really care for that much but have bought over and over just out of habit.  Today I will start with my goat cheese and strawberries for breakfast.  I can’t wait!

Diet

"Diet" Written with Vegetables

This week I think I have to focus on my diet.  I’ve been eating a lot of bad stuff lately because I wasn’t feeling well and was kind of in a bad mood so I let my diet go out the window.  Thankfully, I didn’t gain a bunch of weight so hopefully it won’t be so hard to get out of this slump.

I don’t actually ever go on any kind of diet I just watch my calories and fat intake with My Fitness Pal app.  It really helps if you if you are like me and don’t realize how bad certain foods are for you.  I remember the first time I saw how many calories and fat are in chips and queso. I couldn’t believe it!  I had been just eating them for lunch instead of tacos thinking I was doing good, boy was I wrong!

When you are eating bad foods it can also contribute to depression and lethargy and I was not helping my down mood by eating all the crap I was eating. I found this website today 24 Meals to Seriously Boost Your Mood and I think I’m going to try to use it as a reference this week.  The better my mood is, the more active I usually am also, so that will help me keep up with my exercise too.

Another thing I have to watch is how much alcohol I drink.  I’m not a big drinker at all but all those empty calories add up fast and I get hangovers easily, like after 2 glasses of wine easily, so that isn’t fun for me.

I’m determined though and this week is going to be a good week!

Financial Freedom!

 

One major cause of anxiety in my life and I’m sure most others is Money.  My husband and I work full-time and own a small home in the suburbs.  We do not spend a lot on frivolous things but we just can’t ever seem to get ahead.  We both save money each month from our paychecks and I also invest a little in the stock market.  When an unexpected expense comes along though, like needing new garage doors, we are hurled into a 6 month-long deficit.

Last year we started using the snowball system with our credit cards and managed to pay off 2  low balanced cards with a total of $6000 on them.  I’ve also started looking into some the minimalist lifestyles.  What methods are you using?  Have you read any books that have really helped you reach financial freedom?

Self Help

I’ve been reading a lot of self help books lately.  There is one main focus that many of them all have in common…to not be so self-centered.  In The Book of Joy the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu discuss how important it is to look at life through the eyes of ALL people, to remember there are billions of us all experiencing different difficulties.  When we are focused on ourselves and how things affect us, it leads to a life of stress and anxiety.  If we concentrate on how we can make others happy we will, in fact, become more joyful ourselves.

selfhelp

I started thinking about how everything in the digital age is so fixated on the self.  Just consider how many selfies are posted everyday.  Also, look at how many self improvement posts you see everyday, how to be thin, how to be a better wife, cook, boss, etc.  And I wonder how many personality tests are on the web now.  It is almost impossible these days not to focus on yourself.

The author of The Book of Joy, Douglas Abrams, also explains that we have a physical need to express generosity and our brains respond with greater flurry when we give, than when we receive.  Consider how much fun Christmas is, for me anyway,  I LOVE buying things for family and friends, getting gifts is fun too but I enjoying finding the right present much more than opening mine.

Maybe that’s it, the meaning of life, the secret to joy, is helping others.  Could that be why we are all so depressed and anxious?  Because we are focused too much on our own feelings.

This week, I’m going to adjust my outlook, or try anyway.  I’m not going to worry about every little thing and how it will make me feel.  I’m going to concentrate on how I’m making others feel, how I can bring joy into their lives.  I’m going to volunteer and donate more.  I’m already feeling energized just thinking about it.