Friday, April 27, 2012

Having Put This Off Long Enough....

We recently had a huge 24-hour gym open up here in town.  Only about 4 blocks from the office - and right on my way to and from said office.  They ran a giant campaign to sign up members and ladies at the office starting joining right and left.  Suddenly everyone was checking in on Facebook at Planet Fitness!  Each check in sent a little ping of guilt straight through me.

When I quit going to the gym where I was previously a member, I kept using the excuse that it was clear across town and I was too busy with work to make it happen.  The drive was nearly 15 minutes over and 15 minutes back, so I felt justified with my "excuse" for not going.....

Now that seemingly everyone I know has joined the new gym and raved about it, I decided I had no excuse.  The price is right - less than half what I was spending before.  No group workout classes, but lots of great equipment to utilize.  I figured it would just take a little discipline to plan a fitness routine and then put it into action.

So, I hustled my hiney on over there on the way home from the office one afternoon and signed up. 

That was 2-1/2 weeks ago and I've been - drum roll, please - one time!  Yes, one - as in single - time.....

Ugh.  What is the matter with me?!?!?  It seems I just can't get my rear in gear and get rolling with any sort of a program!

I have the best of intentions.  I lie in bed at night and plan out my routine for the next morning:  get up early, make a bowl of oatmeal and fruit for a healthy breakfast and hit the gym for an hour.  I lie there and fantasize about having a hard, toned body for the summer, totally enamored with the image of my improved self in shorts and a tank top.....

Then, the alarm goes off the next morning, and I hit "snooze" a couple of times and put off my plans for "just one more day", delaying the benefits I know I will surely derive from getting up and getting active.

This is procrastination, pure and simple.  And the only one I'm hurting by it is myself.

So, maybe I need to rethink this exercise thing.  Maybe an early morning workout is not in my best interest.   (Obviously, since I never seem to make it!)  Perhaps I need to modify my plans.  I might benefit more from giving up some of my time in front of the television in the evenings and making the trek to the gym later in the day.  (Because Lord knows, I sit and nibble on whatever is in the house when I sit and watch television.....and, honestly, what do I really have to gain by watching "Swamp People"???)  Or, maybe I should squeeze that workout in after wrapping up at the office and before coming home for supper. (They say that exercise actually reduces your appetite, so that might help with the nibbling problem.)

Whatever plan I seize on, it needs to work for me.  I am reminded of my word for this year.....Action.  Whatever routine I lay out in my mind, I have to ACT upon it!  It's totally up to me and, frankly, I am getting tired of my own excuses.  When they start to sound hollow to my own ears, well, they must be pretty lame.

Don't mistake the tone of this post as whiny.  No, I'm sitting here with gritted teeth, acknowledging that I have a real issue here.  Having known the benefits of routine exercise and getting into shape before, I am mostly irritated with myself for having slacked off. 

According to experts, it takes at least three weeks of doing something to make it a habit.  Let's see where I stand in three weeks! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Finished, but with Some Silver Linings....

This has been one of those days that has just about gotten the best of me.  Stick a fork in me, folks....I'm so done! 

Started out early since I was scheduled to cover floor calls at the office from 8:30 - 11:30.  Eddie was off today, so he headed out before 8:00 to drop Jake at the groomer's shop.  At 8:15, he phoned.  His truck "broke" as he was pulling out of the parking lot across town after leaving Jake.  Literally, it "broke" with a loud pop as he tried to turn the wheels and he lost all steering ability.  He was stranded in the middle of the parking lot. 

Jane to the Rescue!!!  I finished throwing on clothes, loaded up for the office and headed out to wait with him for the tow truck.  It was a woeful sight when I arrived......

Front tires should NOT be pointing two different directions!

Getting her loaded up

Such a sad sight...the pocketbook had begun to silently weep at this point...

The tow truck driver got him loaded up and we followed the truck to our favorite mechanic's shop.  (With our older cars, and my son's 12-year old Altima, we are on a first name basis - his is Jimmy.)  Then I dropped my beloved hubby back here at the house, running only about an hour late to the office. 

Before I could get out of the driveway, I got a call back from an agent to whom I had taken an offer for a client yesterday.  Not good, not good, at all.  The seller had gotten two identical offers on the same day and rather than incite a "bidding war", this 83-year old woman just "picked one"....and it wasn't ours.  Boo, hiss!  Such a disappointment and not a thing we can do about it. 

Pick myself up, dust myself off and move the office.  Probably the most peaceful couple of hours in my day.  Accomplished a lot, but a glitch with the printer at work meant I couldn't print envelopes for several letters I had prepared today.  So, when my allotted time to serve was over, I headed back to the house to print the envelopes here. 

Meanwhile, my mother phoned this morning and informed me that her 4-year old phone, which we gave her and still carry on our plan, was just about dead.  Wouldn't hold a charge for more than about 10-15 minutes.  I finished what I needed to get done here at the house and went over to pick her up to go to the phone store....and then the bank....and finally to Happy Hour at Sonic, of course.  

Here's where it gets somewhat interesting (because I know you're shaking your head and wondering, "How on earth does she get a post out of this???").  Do you know how difficult it is getting to find a "simple" phone that is not "smart".  Honestly, they just don't make many "dumb" phones anymore.  But, we needed something that simply phones and texts for Mom, preferably with an easy-to-use keyboard.  We finally found a model that was "modestly" priced and the polite young man at Verizon began to show my technically-challenged mother (nope-I-don't-want-a-computer-don't-need-a-computer-no-way-no-how-Becky) how to use it.  God bless him!  That's all I can say.  It was so different to operate than her old one and it was frustrating for her.  At one point, when he was showing her how to unlock the phone, she stopped him and asked "And where is that "any" key you keep talking about?"!!!  (Yes, she did....and it kinda threw me.  I just had to wrap my arm around her shoulder, smile and say "I love ya, Mom".)  But, that kid hung in there and I can safely say that she is already messaging me - with photos!  (Maybe I shouldn't have shown her how to do bad.)

Highlights (and silver linings) of this day......

We found a fabulous new groomer for Jake!  And that boy does love his "spa day".  They put a bright yellow bandana on him, so now he is prancing around like a movie star. 

I look handsome, yes, I do!!!
 I didn't lose my patience and snap at anybody, at any point, during this trying day.  I'd better a big gold star on my chart for this!

The truck repair turned out to be much simpler than we anticipated.  We thought the steering arm was snapped, but it was just a tie rod.  The cost for towing, repair and realignment of the front end came in under $250 - and that is a huge blessing.  The big red beast is already back in the driveway.  And, we are so thankful that the steering didn't go out when we were going down the highway at 70 mph! 

My mother is exploring and playing with her new phone like a kid with a new toy. We can now share pictures in messages with her, and she with us, opening up a whole new frontier.

And, now to top it all off, my man is in the kitchen, cooking up a dinner that smells de-lish!

All in all, one of those days that brings you home feeling a little flustered....and a lot tired.

Feeling blessed through it all......

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Photo Editing Options

Has anybody tried the new online photo editing program, PicMonkey, yet?  It's simple to find.....just

I stumbled upon it last night and had a blast playing around with an old photo of me and Eddie Dale, circa 2010.......

The original photo
Lots of "wrinkle erasing" and "airbrushing" going on.    

Mostly, I found it fun to try out all the "makeup" options (i.e., erase wrinkles, airbrush, whiten teeth and eyes, even enhance mascara!).  Trust me, I tried it all and we looked like clowns with the George Hamilton spray tans!  Even though I was just playing around for a few minutes, it was very user friendly and easy to figure out. 

I am wondering if this will be a good replacement for Picnik, which we recently lost.  It does seem to have a lot more features....and I imagine they will start charging for some of them, at some point.  Right now, it all appears to be free in order to get you to try it out.  And they don't have their collage creator set up yet....but, it is supposed to be coming soon.

Any feedback out there yet????  I would love to hear what you think.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Caution - Materialistic Post Ahead.....

Warning - This blog post is definitely shallow......yep, very materialistic, indeed. 
Don't say I didn't warn you!

As I was out there in the Wonderful World of Blog today, I came across a blog about the "boyfriend" watch trend.  You can check it out here at "Let's Add Sprinkles".

I guess it caught my eye because I was recently on-the-hunt for a particular "boyfriend" style watch made by Fossil.  Perhaps you've noticed the tortoise shell ceramic band watches they have in their lineup?

I saw a lady sporting one similar to this last week and just knew I had to have one!  I mean, really, it's the perfect neutral watch that goes with simply everything in the wardrobe, right?!?!?  So, I poked around online and determined that one of these little beauties was going to set me back at least $135.  Undeterred (and knowing I really couldn't spend that amount on a watch when I already have not one, but two, perfectly good ones), I headed out to Dillards - just to see.  Well, they didn't have the one I was eyeballing in stock, but the nice saleslady was explaining to me that she could order it and have it shipped directly to my house.....

As I was smiling and nodding, a spinner just above the display case caught my eye.  There sat exactly what I was looking for!!!  Fossil - check.  Tortoise shell band - check!  "Diamond" bezel - check, check, check!!!  The only problem - the face is white, not brown, and it doesn't have all those extra little gadgets in there.

The "face" of my watch is simpler, but I rather dig that!

I gasped!  The saleslady's eyes followed mine and she gasped!  "Hang on, let me get it out, dear."  She fumbled with the lock on the case and withdrew the watch.  Hang on to your hat - it was marked down to $28.75!!!  I slipped it on and we just got all thrilled together.  Oh, she was a sweetheart about it (even though I am sure, if she works on commission, she just lost money).

And, just as I suspected, it goes with EVERY single thing I could ever want to wear!!!

But.....I've sort of lost focus on what I was going to tell you about Katie's blog post on the watch......let me get back on track.....

In the photos she posted of herself wearing the watch, she has on this absolutely "to die for" Tiffany bracelet.....just like this one......

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Okay, now you tell me.  Is that not just the most divine piece of jewelry a girl could own?!?!?  Oh, heart beats quicker just gazing at must click on the "pin" and see it larger and in detail! 

And, then I found this one.....and my heart nearly pounded out of my chest.  Which one, oh, which one to choose?

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

Yes, yes, yes, I want it!!!  Either one.  And I have "pinned" them.  And shown them to my Eddie Dale and explained that Tiffany's does have complimentary shipping on all orders over $150.

I am sure my dreams will be filled with images of me wearing one of these two matters not which one!

Now, come on, surely you must have gotten all pitter-patter-hearted over a piece of jewelry at some point in your life.  Is it totally shallow to want something this badly?  Maybe so.  I warned you this was a materialistic post....but every once in a while, a girl just gets a bad case of "I Want's"!  Well, at least this girl does....just once in a while.  And, it's Tiffany's, for gosh sakes!  I mean, what woman doesn't dream of shopping at Tiffany's, feeling all Audrey Hepburn-ish?

If you could go shopping for a piece of jewelry or accessory, with no consideration for price, what would grab your attention?  What would send your heart a-racing and go home with you?

Hugs to all of you......

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Got a Blessing???

Ever notice how when you're feeling a little bogged down or floundering around for some direction.....
God seems to give you a fresh breath of air?  
A little extra poof of wind in your sails?

Some days the path seems shrouded in fog....and you feel the weightlessness as you stumble....
But, then one little thing can steady you and set you right....
strengthen your resolve.

Today was one of those inexplicable days when I felt discouraged over little things - even nothing.
And, yet, it is ending on an encouraging note.  

So thankful today for the blessing of encouragement and 
the Light to see the next step ahead on the path!

How did you feel blessed today?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Blessings....

Just after midnight, listening to the gentle sounds of rain falling outside.....

And thinking about the Miracle of Easter.
After the darkness of Friday, the weeping on Saturday.....

On the third day, He arose!  

Triumphant over death, to walk and dwell among us.....

And still He lives!!!

Wishing you a blessed Easter.....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On a Beautiful Spring Day......

The other day I made reference to the fact that the mesquites have leafed out here.  It's pretty much a true indication that Spring has arrived and we won't have another freeze.  So, it gets me all excited every year when it happens!

The bright neon green of the mesquite's foliage is unique, starkly different in color and texture
from the other native trees growing around here.

We have many mesquite trees here on our property.  This is the large one that grows out front of the house.

No photo retouching done here....
the sky really is that beautiful shade of blue today!

I know they are a nuisance to farmers and ranchers, popping up and taking root in pastures or fields needed for cattle or crops.  They can grow quickly and densely and clearing them from the land is a challenge. But, they have a rather stark beauty all their own.  Their trunks can grow nearly horizontal, twisting and gnarling around upon themselves into an architectural  form.  Their shade is light and sparse, creating a lacy shadow on the ground below.

Beware, these trees have some mighty nasty thorns!  They drop with small branches to the ground and we used to step on them all the time out in the yard when we were kids.  Those things are wicked and can pierce right through a pair of 99-cent flip flops from TG&Y.  

Believe me, I had this happen many times when I was kid
 running around the yard in those cheap summer flippies!  

Welcome to Spring here on The Porch.  With such beauty all around, how can one not say......

This is the day which the Lord has made....
I will rejoice and be glad in it!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Words and Music to Share

Good morning, Friends!

I am getting a late start this morning.....but, I have a very good reason.  Truly, I do!!!  I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reading.  I was totally absorbed in a book that I downloaded to my Kindle a couple of days ago and just couldn't go to sleep without finishing it.

What kept me so interested that I literally could not put it down until reading the last word????

I have long been a fan of Steven Curtis Chapman.  When the kids were younger, we had one of his cassette tapes and it got played so much that it finally began to drag.  They adored him and sang right along with me.  Through the years, he has been a positive and steady influence in the world of Christian music with his ministry and testimony.

And, you know what they say, don't you?  Behind every great man is an even greater woman.  Well, Mary Beth Chapman would probably argue that she is not a "great" woman, but her story will certainly lead you to believe otherwise.

As a woman who always desired order and perfection in her life, she has dealt with the struggle in realizing that "our" way is not always "God's" way.  Her honesty about dealing with personal demons and changed plans, even clinical depression, is refreshing to hear.  It has not always been a walk in the park and the fact that she still struggles daily makes her story real and encouraging.

I had wanted to read this book for some time, but was hesitant to do so.  I feared that the message would be too personal, touch a place too deep inside.  I simply did not think I could handle it without dissolving into a blubbering mess.

I did dissolve into a blubbering mess as I read of the loss of their precious five-year old daughter.  In fact, Ed was trying to sleep, so I had to creep into the guest room with my Kindle and a roll of toilet paper (alas, we had no box of kleenex) to continue reading last night.  But, the sadness and loss was offset by Hope and Joy in the Chapman family's conscious decision to look for God's hand in the midst of tragedy.

I laughed and then I cried and, finally, I felt lifted up to a level of new understanding as I read this book.  If you haven't read it, I encourage you to obtain a copy.  Amazon was running a two-day special on it as a Kindle download, which has probably expired.  But, whatever the cost, this is one worth owning so you can go back and read passages over and over.

I share with you this song written and performed by Steven Curtis Chapman for his precious daughters.  Listen and be touched by the message.  

Blessings to all of you on this Palm Sunday!

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