Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Paleo, Paleo, Where For Art Thou, Paleo?

My new life, my new diet, my new way, my new challenges - here we go.  My son is a Paleo Diet eater, he looks good, so maybe it won't be so bad.  My best friend is a vegetarian, and there's absolutely no way I could do that. I'm not fond of diets, never have been a conformist in any way. I've always had to beat my own drum, even if the beats sound very familiar to someone else's drum.  I don't listen to anyone else telling me what I need to do, it has to be MY decision.  OK, it's my decision now; I'm going Paleo.

I remember when the Paleo Diet was called the "Cave Man Diet" because apparently you're allowed to eat just about anything they ate back in the way-back day. If they caught it, if it lived, if it was hanging off a tree, or growing out of the ground you can it. That's nice and all, but I'm also throwing out the lectins.  Lectins are (according to Google) "any of a class of proteins, chiefly of plant origin, that bind specifically to certain sugars and so cause agglutination of particular cell types."  Well, of course they are!  Did you catch that? What the hell is an agglutination, and really, I don't care what it is, I don't want my sugars or anything else doing that inside of me. Keep your lectins!

Lectins are found in tomatoes, potatoes, all beans, nuts, soys, any grain whatsoever, and that last one is the saddest bit of news I've ever had to type out in public.  If coffee or chocolate had lectins I'd say screw it, and die, but they don't. I can have all the dark chocolate and all the coffee I want! Take that LECTIN!! In your face!  But I digress.  Giving up grain products is part of the Paleo / Cave Man Diet too, but it allows tomatoes, and it allows potatoes. I'm choosing to let them go; just one more thing to not have to worry about in my digestive system. That area of my body hasn't been properly clean in years, and it's about time to start.

About nine years ago I started the new year with the resolution to lose 30 pounds in 60 days or something silly like that. I jumped feet first into the gambit. I swam in the lies. I was all over it for about a week before my body decided to shut me down with an unforgettable gallbladder attack. Seems you're not really suppose to go cold turkey when you're old, and you haven't properly prepared yourself for that big of a change.  What a set back! I was in the hospital for over 4 days due to complications; which of course is an entirely different blog spot, remind me to tell you what happened. I was on really really good drugs for most of the duration and I do actually remember some of the stupid things I agreed to with the nursing staff.

Again, I digress. I'll get around to letting you know how this thing works out, and when I do you'll either decide to do it as well, or you can have fun laughing at me, with me, because of me, it doesn't matter, I'm doing it!  I'm not looking to lose 30 pounds in 60 days this time, more likes 40 pounds whenever it decides to come off, but I'm going to chip, chip, chip at it until it does come off...without chips, chips, chips too! I'm going to do it one egg, one side of green beans, an apple here and there, carrots for snacks, and chicken! I'm doing the chicken thing! If I can eat all the chicken and eggs I want I should be good. I was all about those beans and tomatoes yesterday. I couldn't wait to pile on those red chunks and scarf...until I found out that lectin THRIVES in tomatoes and more so in BEANS.  What the hell? Well, it's true, and there's not a thing I can do about it. This cave woman is not caving in. I'm not allowing it, I'm saying no, and there's not a gallbladder in me now to argue! Ha!

Tonight Laura and I went to the barn to love on the horses, then we drove to Crest to get a few days worth of good from the Earth eatin'.  On the menu for the next few days will be:  eggs, turkey, chicken, beef, avocados, apples, carrots, grapes, spinach, salad (premix), pumpkin seeds, walnuts, raisins, dark chocolate, coffee, my one downfall - half and half in small amounts, and green tea. Lots of green tea will be made in the Stringfellow house my friends....strong green tea!  Raw honey is good too, but I already have it, and Reuben told me I can eat peanuts, so there's that binge too. I'll allow it as I'm just that much a rebel. I can't do anything 100% properly, it wouldn't be me if I did. There, I have my one dose of half and half, and my handful of raw peanuts. Oh, you don't like raw peanuts? You think they taste like plastic? OK...I'll eat yours, I have no issues with it.

Paleo, here I come!!  I'll keep my calendar handy so I can write down any substantial weight loss. Maybe once a week I'll weigh in. Seems like a plan. Keep reading, you'll probably find something you can relate to.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The American Mustang in My Life: Norman Brock Stringfellow

Ever since I was a kid I wanted a Mustang. I never dreamed I would actually have one, owning a Mustang isn't like owning a domesticated horse. A domesticated horse, such as a Quarter Horse, Paint, Tennessee Walker, or any number of other breeds, have one thing in common: they have been handled by humans since the day they were born. Their parents were born in captivity, their ancestors too, and that can make a huge difference in the social and emotional make up of a creature.  Think about this way; would you go out and find a wolf pup to raise in your house? Taking on a non-domesticated animal has certain challenges. I wanted to be up to accepting them without compromising the animal's experience. I didn't "own" a Mustang until I was 55 years old. I don't own him now, I have adopted him. There is a difference.

His name is Norman Brock Stringfellow today, but when he was born he was dubbed #10612979, a bay colt born to a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) captured mare probably under the age of 6. If she had been older than 6 she wouldn't have been kept once she was rounded up. She would have been treated, allowed to foal, and then returned to the herd she came from. Norman's number was shortened to #2979 when he was tagged at the facility where he was born. He was born in captivity on May 11, 2010, at the Herd Management Area holding facility called Broken Arrow in Fallon, NV. He was one of many bay colts; nothing really all that special, and certainly nothing stood out about him as the next few years passed. He was chosen or picked to be trained at a northern Nevada prisoner camp, a place where wild burros and horses are taken to be gentled and adopted out, but Norman wasn't adopted out. Somehow he had been dubbed a "hump back" and was either left untrained, or wasn't given the full training as others were. He was passed up on adoption day, and then returned to another holding facility, and onto yet a third, the Pauls Valley holding facility in central Oklahoma.

Once at the Pauls Valley BLM area #2979 was taken to two more places to be seen and examined by would be adopters. Though he would stand taller than most American Mustangs at 15.2H, and he had both back "socks" of white, as well as a star, stripe, and white snip on his dark bay face, he was not chosen at either. Perhaps it was the hump back that kept him from being picked, or perhaps the BLM had grouped him with more flashy horses and not enough adopters had shown up to pick him on either occasion. I like to think that God had other plans for Norman, and that he was saved for the day I would happen to ramble onto the premises this past October 11, 2016. I think Norman knew something was up before I knew, but however it happened, it did in fact happen, and before the adoption-ending noon bell rang, Norman was being loaded onto a trailer and being carried off to be trained by a professional TIP, or Training Incentive Program trainer.  He was adopted by ME and he was no longer a wild horse. He was on his way to being...well, domesticated.

I wasn't going to the BLM that day to adopt anything. I wasn't expecting to adopt, I wasn't thinking about adopting.  I was there to look at horses for my daughter Laura who had wanted to adopt one soon enough; she wanted to train one to become her mounted shooting partner. She and I took the day off, the 2nd Tuesday of the month, as that is when adoptions take place at the BLM in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.  I went to help Laura. I wasn't going to find the love of my life; it just sort of happened.

When we pulled up to the gates we saw a few others standing around, waiting for the adoptions to take place. We had never been through the process, so we were hanging back and watching. We weren't participating, we were just viewing to see what would happen, how it would happen, if it happened, and why it happened. There was a woman there with her young blond daughter, the girl was about 11 years old. We watched as she galloped back and forth calling to the horses. She was home schooled, and her mother wanted to show her the animals up close, as sort of a field trip. There was a man with his wife as well, she was smallish, and seemed a bit timid around all of the barricaded animals; she looked as if she feared at any moment one of them would jump the 6 foot fencing and attack her. Nothing of the sort would ever actually happen, but she stood close to her husband just in case.   Her husband, a wealthy car-dealer from another state, was eager to find the exact horse that would make him happy. He wore an arm sling, a trophy of the effects of finding a horse that wasn't exactly the right horse.  He and his wife had decided to bring a horse back to the BLM facility in fact, one that didn't work out for him.  The man was open, fun, and smiling at all of the horses, going from one to the other, hoping to make eye contact and know instantly that he had found his match!

There was another set of people there too. There was a man, his wife, and her young adult daughter, who looked to be around 18 or so. The couple were quiet, and moved about, watching the daughter, and listening to the eager man wearing the sling. It became obvious by counting the trucks and cars in the parking lot, that these two couples had come together in a truck with a very large trailer. The fact that the quiet man had the keys in his hand, led me to know that he was the owner of the truck and trailer. This meant one thing to me, he had to be a trainer, the other man was the buyer. The man with the sling bought or adopted horses, and the quiet man trained them. I figured this out about the same time that Norman decided to put his large imposing head over the fence and onto the top of my head without warning!  "He likes you!"  said the quiet man; that point was obvious to everyone now, as the horse continued to press himself closer to me, and through the rails of the fence.  If he had arms he would have reached through the fence and grabbed me, probably holding me against his chest, it was quite interesting how Norman would not allow other horses to come near me. Using his body, his tail, his voice, and his feet, he kept all of the others away, and stayed as close to me as he possibly could. To the quiet man, who was now smiling, and sticking out his hand for an introduction, this meant that #2979 had found his match, whether or not I was obliged to return the sentiment.

"Hi, I'm Tim Brock", said the quiet man now standing in front of the larger than life horse who was refusing to release me from his gaze. I introduced myself, and listened as Tim explained that for the past few minutes he was considering taking #2979 as a TIP horse either for Jeff, the man with the sling, or just because, as he felt that the horse had more potential than others. He hadn't made up his mind, but he was thinking about it. Lauren, his step daughter, who is also a TIP trainer, had a few others in mind, and the boring big bay gelding wasn't one of the ones she wanted.  Jeff didn't want him either, he was too big, and there was that hump or high wither that didn't interest him. Laura, my own daughter, laughed at me and said, "You know, you already have your adoption application in the BLM  system, so you could take him."  I smiled. I didn't do more than that, but I did smile.  It was then that Tim explained to me how the TIP program worked. Seems he was being paid by the Mustang Heritage Foundation to train qualified horses at the BLM; ones who would then be adopted. If I wanted Norman, or as he was named #2979, all I had to do was say so. Tim would take him to Missouri where he lived and operated, train him for two or three months, and bring him back  all ready to go!  It would only cost me $125 to adopt, and whatever to bring him home, but since he'd be back to pick up others, it shouldn't be much.

Was I hearing this correctly?  I was being asked if I wanted to adopt this massive 1100 pound horse, the one standing a good hand taller than the tallest horse I would ever want? The horse that for some odd reason found me more attractive than the others at the gates that day, and the one that wasn't even all that...different. He was in fact rather ordinary if you had to be honest about it.  The Mustang I had always dreamed of owning would be smaller, around 14.2 hands maybe, and he'd be bright colored, maybe sorrel, maybe roan, he could possibly be a bay, but with a broad blaze and four white socks. This horse was staring at me, and in that moment I realized that he was absolutely perfect. There wasn't a single thing wrong with him; even his hump backed wither seemed to be saying "at least your saddle won't ever fall off".  I told Tim yes, I would adopt the horse, and yes, he could take him to Missouri to train. The only thing left to do was to let the BLM guys know, because they're the ones who actually take the money!

There's more to the story of course, and I'll save that for another blog post, but suffice it to say that on that day, October 11, 2016, #2979, a big beautiful bay American Mustang gelding became my new best friend; and naming him after the city of Norman, Oklahoma was easy! It was that or Boomer. His middle name is Brock for his trainer Tim, and of course he bears my surname.  When Gary, the BLM hand,  cut the nylon tag with the number on it from Norman's neck he handed the tag to Tim, who then handed it to me, symbolizing that Norman was no longer wild or captive.  Norman was now adopted, I think I cried in my soul.  He deserved to be loved, and on this day he demanded it.  Thank you God.

Most photos by Karin O'very (Tim's wife)


Actually they shot all of us!

Brandi Simons (Photographer) and Shasha Gill (Hair/Make-Up Artist) got us ready for a really fun shoot for an uncoming PEOPLE magazine.

Confessions of a Writer

The man in this picture was not only a writer, he was an orator - a speaker of great power and prose. He was Temple Lea Houston, son of the great Sam Houston, our country's legendary hero. So why would I be interested in this man - well, besides being talented both as an orator and a writer, he was Oklahoma's premier lawyer of the frontier. I don't know the exact count, I used to know the numbers, he represented the little guy, the downtrodden, the poor - and without asking for much in terms of payment, because he was set from his father's wealth, Temple Houston brought true legal justice to a group of people who otherwise would have faced jail time or worse - a noose, if he hadn't been gracious, generous, and giving.

That said, I also think the man was really hot and when I first found out about him all I wanted to do was read everything I could about him, trying to weasel my way into his life long enough to really get to know him intellecturally. I used to tell people that my main goal once I actually got to Heaven was to track this man down. The fact that he's now had over 100 years to get to know the territory up there gives him at least a fighter's chance - but I do have time on my side. Eternity is indeed - eternal.

I think the statutes of limitations has run out on what I am about to confess - and if you've read this story before somewhere, it may very well be that you have relatives in Western Oklahoma who have sent it to you after a version of my tale was recorded in the papers - making it legend itself. Truth can be stranger than fiction, and in my case, in this case, it is in deed quite strange - but I had my reasons.

It was at the time that I was reading about Temple, getting to know him through one of the only two books written about his life - Glenn Shirley's book "Temple Houston: Lawyer with a Gun". I found myself mesmerized by the very spirit of this compelling pioneer who would not only choose to leave the life of luxery that he had been given, but to avoid politics in general after having been nominated for such high offices as senator, govenor, even once being asked to run for the vice presidency - he declined. After getting to know him, knowing that his temper was a firey hot as his silver-tongue oratories, he made the right choice. He would have been arrested probably for outrages in public that you and I would consider manic at best - firing guns in the courtroom for instance, bringing snakes in baskets to public schools to prove which ones bit and which ones didn't - you just can't do that anymore without licenses and surety bonds, letters of recommendation, and all the red tape Houston would have thrown out the door as being unncessisary.

I wanted to know the man, I wanted to hold his gun, wear his hat, sit at his desk, breathe in the air of the city he lived in - which at the time of his death was Topeka, KS, but he lived in Woodward, Oklahoma for many years prior to the actual event of his demise. To think that the museum of history in Woodward, OK was not only NOT displaying his things, they were saying they wouldn't be getting around to organizing them either.  What I did wasn't exactly criminal, as I was not told I couldn't be on the premises, I was never asked to leave either. I simply didn't leave when they ladies closed down the museum for the night.  I set out the tables in a fine and organized way, still in the back room, as I felt that there may be cameras in the front lobby. This being 1987 or so, I wasn't sure what type of technology to expect. I wanted to be safe as possible, but do as much good as I could.

When the ladies returned the next morning to open shop, the display I had created using almost all of Temple's belongings at the museum, were in fact in order and on display - even if only in the backroom.  I was careful to use gloves, and I recorded everything in a fine and meticulous fashion. The only thing I didn't use in the display was a book owned by Temple Houston, one he had personally drawn in. I took that book home, again, not breaking any laws because it was never mentioned (or warned) that I could not. I returned it after I had cleaned it properly, so that it too could be displayed.  When I returned it I looked the front desk clerk in the eyes, handing it to her, and I said "I believe this belongs to the museum."  She looked at me with a sparkle in her eyes. It had been a few weeks since I had organized the display.  She took the book easily, gently, and she said to me "Why, yes, it does belong here. Was it a good read?"  I answered that it was. She then said "Thank you by the way, the display couldn't have been more tenderly created."  I smiled back at her, not wanting to betray myself, and I said..."Well, I don't know what you mean, but if I did know, I would say you're welcome."

How did I manage to evade the ladies that day, you may ask? When they went to close the museum I was the last patron. I excused myself to use the bathroom, then called out "good night" before retreating to the men's restroom. There was a bell on the front door, so I let the door close before sneaking back to the men's restroom. They never looked in the restroom for me, I never came out. It wasn't exactly against the law, but I wasn't exactly going to take the chance.  

Back At It

Size does matter!  I am a size 18 now. ABSOLUTELY too fat for my liking. Others may like it, they may be "comfortable" in their bodies at that size, but I am not. I have decided that I've let this thing go on too far. I'm not only heavier, I'm not happy about it. That's why I've decided to stomp on this thing and get my "Me" back. I'm 55, 5'7" and I weigh 200 pounds. There, I've said it out loud, and I can't take it back. I bet if I were 100% honest with myself, I'd say I weigh 204, but today we'll just say 200 and go from there. I need to, and I want to, lose 50 pounds.  I am pretty happy at 150. I look good at 150, and I'm not too skinny at that weight.

I moved to Indiana in 2010. This seemed to be when I began to let things slide. I really just sort of stopped taking care of what I allowed into my house in terms of food. I was the one buying it. I don't blame anyone else. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and it's really taken it's toll on my body. I moved back to Oklahoma a couple of years ago, but I didn't make any diet changes.  I ride horses, and I've seen the difference when I'm in the saddle. I have in fact, stopped pushing my horse(s) because I am no longer balancing in the saddle the way I should. I will begin the posting routines again, and get those thighs working as soon as I can. My current horse is an American Mustang, and he's not ready for me to canter. In fact, I just received him from the trainer last week. He's ready to walk and trot, but the weather hasn't been good enough to explore. It will be!! We will make this happen.

So, what I've decided to do is this:  Cut out as much high fructose corn syrup as possible. I'll cut back on most sugars as well; there just doesn't seem to be a need for it. I'll get plenty of sugar through fruits and vegetables. I'll have to use half and half for the coffee, but that's OK. I was shocked to find out that the high fructose corn syrup is a chemical(s) that our brains doesn't recognize, therefore it can't be processed well in the gut. The good bacteria is lowered and it can't combat it. There's evidence to show that fat is stored because of this, and I'm not willing to let my body suffer any longer than it has. I'm FAT, and not happy about it.

When I'm not fat I ride better, I walk further, I lift more, and I don't complain about going up stairs or carrying my luggage. My boobs are in the way now, and I can't always see my feet when I need to. For a former gymnast this is a problem. I used to be able to see my feet by standing on my hands and bringing my feet over my head and in front of my face. Where I won't be doing that again, I at least should be able to glance down and not see boobs and belly fat obstructing my view of my tennis shoes.  There are a few things that I will do, and if you want to, you can follow along with me, as I plan on keeping this blog up for a while, and making it a daily or almost daily event, showing off how I plan on losing my weight, and keeping in shape.

Since I don't really exercise all that much, other than riding my horse, and walking the halls (and stairs) at the school I teach at, I will be adding several things to my diet, and taking things from my diet, in order to fully achieve my goals of losing weight and looking better in about 90 days. I'm not pushing the date, but it's about 90 days from warmer good riding weather, so that's a good goal.

FIRST:  Giving up sugars will be the hardest part, but I'll substitute by adding fruit, vegetables and nuts. Not all fruits are good for you, so I'll stick with apples, grapes, strawberries, blue berries, and probably cantaloupe.   For nuts, I'm a big almond fan, and I eat quite a few peanuts, so that has to change to less dense nuts such as walnuts, which have  great antioxidants anyway.  For veggies, nothing beats a bowl of baby carrots while you write. I can also see me eating more squash, spinach, peas, green beans, and black beans. I'm not opposed to black beans and tomatoes for dinner.

SECOND: adding herbs that are known to curb appetite and promote good health.  Green tea extract, or EGCG and Caralluma Fimbriata are two very good supplements you can buy over the counter and both are inexpensive. You don't need to go to a fancy place, or order them online from a club. Wal-Mart carries them both, and I bet quite a few stores do; just be sure to get pure extract without fillers.  The other thing I'm adding is a good strong probiotic; one with at least 10 billion units, I may opt for more, we'll see. I prefer the liquid type, but they sell it in pill form as well.

THIRD:  water, water, then more water, but of course if you know me, you know I drink coffee in the morning as well. I'm not giving that up, but I am giving up creamer. I will use an organic half creamer, one without sugar, and all should be fine. I drink water now, but I've let it slack off. I remember drinking 2 bottles in the morning, 3 bottles at night (or the equivalent) and then tea in the evenings. I have been really lax with my water intake, so that changes immediately. I don't do cold water. I know I drive my friend Jeannie crazy, as I don't have ice in my house. Since I don't drink soft drinks, I don't do ice. I also know that cold water makes your body work harder, but I don't like colder water; never have. I'll do the room temp water, and more hot teas than I have been.

There we go. Day 1 in motion. When Laura gets home we're going to the store to get what I need. I'll let her keep the foods she wants, but we're throwing out the junk - - done!  Viva la 150!!  YEA.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Have Horses

I have horses. What that means exactly, is that I have a built in excuse not to attend weddings, not to attend funerals, not to go anywhere or do anything that I really don't feel like doing. If I get the call from a friend or family member asking me to help them move, or go furniture shopping, I have that covered with a simple begging off with "Oh hey, I would love to go, I really would, but I have horses! I have to feed them. They live far away you know, and I have to go to them, feed them, and one of them needs farrier work. Wouldn't you know it, this is the day the farrier is coming to the barn!"  It works every time.  What are they going to do, argue with me? Have you ever seen a horse person NOT take their horse over a date, over a show, over a movie, or anything? Well, if you had horses you'd understand. I may be broke, and yes, it's because I have horses, but I do have my priorities straight. I'm not out drinking, I'm not out gambling. You won't find me spending money on art work for my house, a new mattress, or on even a new pair of shoes. Why would I need new shoes? You don't wear shoes to the barn!

There are really only two types of people in this world; horse people and non-horse people. Horse people get it when I say I haven't seen what Kim Kardashian is up to. They understand if I don't ask questions about the latest fashion, or the next big thing in electronics. I haven't seen an online game in over ten years and I think I heard My Space wasn't being used anymore, but I didn't really care because I really never got on mine. It was made for me by my kids back when I had the Haflinger - did I just refer to a time frame with a horse analogy? I think I did.  Some old people will say "Back when I had a good knee to stand on.." I use terms like "I had Rocket then, he was about 4, I remember!"  Those without horses do tend to stare at me when I wipe my hands before I eat rather than wash them. They also shake their head when I don't apologize for walking into the store with mud on my boots. It's not that I'm being rude, but I have to get back to the barn soon, and this little trip to the store to get toilet paper was a necessity! It is what it is. I have horses.

We board now, but when we were living in Indiana we had our own place for a while. I can't tell you how great it felt to wake up to a frosted window with the automatic coffee pot calling out to me. I'd look outside, past the initial backyard to see five fuzzy faces staring at me just wondering if I was going to get around to bringing them their first feeding.  I never really missed a day, but with horses you have to remind them every now and then (every damn day) that you're not going to let them starve, that you are a responsible owner, and that you do have their best interests at heart.  Some mornings I took my time sipping my liquid brain-opener and other times I let them get the best of me and put their stomachs first.  Most mornings I spilled coffee down my coat trying to do both.

Now, because we live in the city, Laura and I board our babies at a nice little facility just outside of town. We have access to the indoor arena, the outdoor arena, several acres of land, and of course the best part is I get to drink my coffee every day without the pangs of guilt slamming me in the chest each morning.  I pay people do take on that guilt. They don't mind - I don't mind. The horses could freaking care less who it is that brings them oats and hay as long as someone brings them oats and hay.  Most days they are fed twice and most days I go out to see them in the evenings to bring them apples or carrots. I don't know why I spend so much time, so much energy and my very last dollar on them, but when I don't, if I didn't, I think the horse-sized void would be too much to bear.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy Coffee Day!!

Suffice it to say that it's be way too long since I've written a blog.  I looked on the site and noticed that it had been 21 months since my last post. I wanted to scream "Are you serious?", but that tag belongs to my friend Pastor Paul Begley, and I'd feel rather plagiaristic if I took it.

Happy Coffee Day! Today is September 29, 2015, National Coffee Day, and let me tell you, I'm celebrating. I do coffee. I am one of THOSE people. I think I was three when I started chugging down the dredges left in my parents' cups after breakfast. I remember mom taking the cups away from me when I would steal them off the table, but I think honestly she was more concerned that I had a glass cup in my hands than coffee in my mouth. She's like that to this day, believe it or not, she'd rather see me drinking my coffee in a plastic cup on the tile - - just kidding, mom's grown up to be a really cool old lady.

National Coffee Day affords the would be coffee drinker a chance to try out a free cup at Dunkin Donuts; they always get into the spirit. Starbucks on the other hand, plants a tree, or donates money from your cup of purchased coffee to the tree growers so they can plant the tree on your behalf. I wonder how many of us, or rather how many cups of coffee it takes to get a tree planted? It's just a question, but I assume there is an answer. What if I went into Starbucks and ordered say, a venti? It's a larger cup, so would they donate a larger amount? Is it determined by size or quantity of purchases? Who decides this? Who decides to plant a tree rather than say, feed a kid, or pay for low-income vaccinations for dogs? I think trees are important, sure they are, but are they any more important than the kids living in the countries where they decided to plant these trees? That's just me, that's me on my soap box. I think if you're going to have National Coffee Day -- give out coffee. Plant a tree on "National Plant a Tree Day".  Wait, is there a National Plant a Tree Day? Because if there is, I may go to the woods to get a free cup of coffee while I plant a pine!

I work in an office with six other people, one of them is only a temporary, an intern, but he's a real live guy so I include him when I count how many people are in the office at any one given time. Out of these people I am the only one, the ONLY ONE, who drinks coffee, and that somewhat disturbs me. The stats in the particular office are as follows: 1 out of 6 drinks coffee. 2 out of 6 drink iced tea, 1 out of 6 drinks Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, and the others (wait, let me count now....1, 2, 3, 4, OK 4) the other two people drink regular soda in the morning. Best I can tell, there are three of us who have our minds in the right places by 9:00 a.m. and the others are on sugar highs. You were doing the math weren't you? LOL...caught you. You're like, "Wait, 1 drinks coffee, 2 drink tea, 1 drinks the Dr. Pepper, albeit diet Cherry, and 2 drink soda straight....that's 6. She said there were six others in the office, making a total of seven people, but only six are drinking before 9:00 a.m." Don't worry, you aren't using Common Core methods to figure out the equation - Shaun the intern comes in after 1:00 p.m.  Gotcha!

Well, happy National Coffee Day, I'm going back to the grind - - see that, little java joke there. Gotta get back to work.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It Doesn't Look A Thing Like Christmas (2013)

I'm not going to sugar coat it; Christmas doesn't feel or even resemble Christmas this year. I'm not with family, I'm living alone in a tiny little apartment in Oklahoma City. My family is in Indiana, and even they aren't celebrating in what you could consider to be a traditional style. No one I know is. I've not run across one single person who is doing what they normally do. It's either because of weather, work, money, family, or other situations, but this year Christmas is just ...well, not Christmas!

I don't have a single garland hanging; there was no reason to hang decorations if I live alone. I don't have a tree up, no decorations, and I haven't purchased a single present to wrap. I bought things for my kids and grandkids and I boxed them up about two weeks ago, sending them through the United States Postal Service; at least I wrapped the exterior in bright yellow paper so they would be easy to see in the piles of other boxes at the distribution centers. Something I never do, but I did. I mailed off Christmas presents. It was the beginning (I think) of what became (or is) the strangest little Christmas ever. Could I go up to Arcadia to see my parents and siblings? I don't know, maybe, but I don't want to. I love my parents, my brother, my sisters, nieces and nephews, but I'm not motivated to drive 30 miles to eat with people I rarely speak to. It seems like a waste of time, but in reality it's not even possible this year due to another strange event that just took place out of no where.  The Black Friday Target Scandal...I'm actually a victim!

My best friend Jeannie and I went shopping on Black Friday, after the crowds of course, and one of our stops was at my neighboring Target store. I think I did spend about $300 there on gifts for my family, food, and the things I have to have to survive for the month of December, as I'm paid only once a month as a teacher and Black Friday was the day I was paid actually. The last day of the month fell on a weekend; so we were paid a day early. That actually turned out to be a bad thing.  I was one of over 40,000,000 others whose credit card information was taken by thieves. The week following Black Friday I was wiped out completely. It was a very good thing for me that I had already paid my rent, car payment, insurance, and other necessary bills. It did leave me without extra money for food after the 15th of the month, and gasoline for my car was certainly an issue. I did manage to have JUST enough gas to get back and forth to work until the day we were let out for Christmas break. God has a sense of humor! Now I'm literally stuck in my apartment with very little food but at least I'm safe and sound. I have the dogs to keep me company, and I have the ineternet as well as television and Netflix to keep me entertained. (oh, but I really should be studying for the Common Core test to get my Principal's certificate!)

No decorations, no tree, no garland, no traditional food and really no Christmas spirit...with the one exception that I'm well aware that over 2000 years ago, and probably not on December 25, a baby was born to Mary and Joseph; two fine upstanding citizens of the City of David. To them our Savior was born, and this is what Christmas is to me...a celebration of His birth.  It's appropriate that I only have animals to share it with since He was born in a barn and laid in a manger that first night. Doves are outside my apartment on my balcony eating the last seeds I had to offer them until I'm paid or the bank returns my disputed funds in a few days. God takes care of His creatures, every last one of us. This is the meaning of Christmas. It's OK if I don't have presents under a non-existent tree. It's OK if I don't have mounds of food to feed myself, friends, family, or anyone else. It's OK if I just sit quietly studying for the future, because Jesus is the reason I have a future.

What does Christmas even look like?  Today it looks sunny, bright, cold, and as the ice melts off my car and balcony, Christmas looks wet and shiny.  Merry Christmas to you. Now I have to go snuggle with the dogs for a while - - and call my grandbabies and kids!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rapture / Rosh Hashanah 2013 - Yes, Please!

When I so much as mention the word "Rapture" in a conversation I am usually met with either the overt ignorant statement "God says no man knows the day or hour so we can't guess when it will happen!"  Or I'm met with head-shaking (from Christians and non-believers) who just aren't prepared for the taking out of the Church for one reason or the other. I get it - you're busy, you're not ready to give up all you've either already achieved, or the potential of what you could possibly achieve. For me...I'd rather give it all up, never attempt another project  or goal again,  and rest eternally with  Jesus, but that's just me...or maybe not.

When I began doing my research about the Rapture I realized that I had been born with a disadvantage concerning the matter. I was born a Baptist.  I was raised with ministers, pastors, brethren, preachers and teachers all telling me that no man could know the  hour or the day. It wasn't as if they understood the meaning of the very words they were repeating; to each one of them goes the credit of knowing what is written in God's word, but...and this is a BIG but...it was a riddle more than anything. You see, God gave Israel 7 feasts (actually appointed times) that they were, as a people, to honor, observe and celebrate. Each of these appointed times had prophecies concerning their fulfillment and ultimately explaining God's  eternal plan for Israel.  The first 4 feasts (or appointed times) are in the spring of each year. The last 3 feasts are in the fall.  When Jesus was on the Earth He literally fulfilled 4 of these feasts, and they were EACH AND EVERY ONE fulfilled ON THE DAY of one of the feasts and/or appointed times...TO THE LETTER. I capitalized that for a reason - because it was and is FACT.

The four spring feasts were fulfilled at the death, burial, resurrection of Christ and then the giving of the Holy Spirit.  You can YouTube for more accurate information concerning these events.  The 5th feast is the first fall feast, and it is Rosh  Hashanah. In English is it known as the Feast of the Trumpets. (Trumpets?  Really? Aren't the believers in Christ going to be called to Heaven at the Last Trump of God?) If believers have no issues believing that they will be caught up (Hebrew word "harpazo" meaning "caught up") then why would they balk at saying it will happen at the time of Rosh Hashanah?  BECAUSE...Christians have issues with dates. You can't possibly KNOW the day or the hour...right? There is a reason for that. Out of the  7 feasts and/or appointed times, there are 6 that take place on specific dates - but ONLY one that takes place at the very crescent of the start of the new moon - - Rosh Hashanah. Because it could be this day, or the next day, NO MAN KNOWS THE DAY.  New moons are not 100% predictable - at least they weren't  in Biblical days - remember, this holy day preceded Christ!  Because the new moon celebration had to be documented and the people of Israel did not know the exact day - or the exact hour  that the new moon would show up, they couldn't say with certainty when the holy day (feast day) began.  Only the High Priest had the authority to proclaim it - - when two witnesses brought proof to him.

GOD set the moon. God knows the day and the hour it will show itself. HE alone knows the minute.  We are called to be prepared, we are commanded to look up and watch! Luke 21:28 says "When these things begin, look up! Your redemption is nigh!"  YES...what things?  We already know that too: wars, rumors of war (is there a difference? YES there is.)  Think about Syria, consider that the country is in war, and today the US is spreading rumors of going to war with that country.  We  have  never done that - - before we just went!  Think about Egypt.  Think about what is happening to the great Nile.  Ethiopia is closing up the gates to the river and it is causing more rumors of war! Think about the famines, the destruction, and how EVERY nation surrounding Israel is against her now...just like Ps.83 says will happen. IF you have time, I encourage you to look into that too,  as every nation mentioned in Ps.83 is to THE VERY LETTER of their ancient names going against Israel today - September 4, 2013.  Rosh  Hashanah is tomorrow or the next day!

COULD IT BE?  CAN IT BE?  MAYBE?   WHAT IF?  I say yes, please.  Do yourself a favor and watch this series of videos by Perry Stone: Rapture and Rosh Hashanah  (parts 1-3) and go listen to a few of J .D. Farag's Middle East Prophecy Updates on YouTube to familiarize yourself with what could very well be our last day on Earth - - unless of course, it's not. It could be that it is another year away. We may  have to go a while longer - - but there will be a day. There will be an hour - - just because we don't KNOW it now doesn't mean it isn't real.  I can't wait - - personally, I'm excited cause it means I get to be healthy again. My broken body will be replaced, and I'll be able to ride again, do backflips, and hey - - no more car payments!!  Oh, and the IRS won't call me again. LOL

I don't think the Rapture is meant to clear up our credit issues - - but I for one, will not be here to argue with anyone seeking repayment!  Nope...I'm looking forward to getting married....what? You didn't know?  Well, maybe you should do a bit of research while you have time. If you're a believer you're getting married to Christ immediately following the Rapture!  WHAT?  Yep!!  I can't think of a better eternity....It may not be this year, but I really really hope it is.

Clues that the Rapture took place and you missed it:  (1) all the children are gone  (2) all the special people on earth are gone (3) airplanes fall from the sky cause pilots were taken (4) cars go crazy on the highways and that crazy woman who won't stop talking about the Rapture...me, well, I'm gone too.  PLEASE...someone, feed my dogs.  If you're reading this and the Rapture hasn't happened, and maybe you're not a believer, please ask Jesus to save you.  It's not hard - - just know He will if you ask. Confess your sins, desire to change, and with your mouth ask Him to save you. PLEASE...Heaven has enough room for all of us.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Root it Out....Literally.

I'm a big time ginger fan. I love the root, think it's one of the best ones God ever made. One of the reasons I love it so much is its flavor of course but the ginger root also carries with it a major power-punch of energy; not to mention it can help save your life! Ginger has for thousands of years been added to foods and teas to help soothe soreness and promote good blood circulation, I also add it to my green teas to give it a bit of a kick. It helps to reduce stress, it helps to lower cholesterol and body fat. Why wouldn't I drink it? I should be downing ginger green tea by the gallons. I probably will be in the very near future. I'm sick and tired of being fat and lazy. Ginger picks you up physically because it promote the reproduction of red blood cells, it literally pumps your blood and gets you off your keister! YEA ginger!

For years I was a good and faithful student of the way my body reacted when I added green tea and ginger as a regular means of liquid replenishing. I've just stopped, and there's no reason for it. I'm a lazy person now, and that has to stop. I moved from Oklahoma City to Indianapolis about three years ago, and I remember when I lived in Oklahoma I was always moving, walking, jogging, riding my bike, or horses -- I wasn't sitting on the computer all day surfing LinkedIn, Facebook, and Gmail. Nope, I was working, walking, and pouring that ginger infused green tea down my throat. I also remember not being sick in Oklahoma, even though so many of my friends had horrific allergies in the spring I didn't. I did before I started drinking ginger in my tea, but after the practice - clear! Why would I stop? Lazy, just no excuses, and I won't even blame the kids, which is what I normally do. Nope, me, all me, just one fat, lazy woman, and that must stop now.

Today Laura and I went to the store and we were about to shop for groceries when I found myself walking down an aisle literally filled with chips and dips, crackers, party snacks, colorful and salty, some sweet, some just fabulous fattening and full of saturated fats. I thought to myself and then out loud "Why am I doing this to myself?" Laura looked at me and said "You're right, Mom. We're the ones picking this stuff up. We don't have to. So, let's get good stuff now." Wow, yes, it is possible to stop right in the middle of an aisle you feel so at home in and just turn your back and say NO MORE. I went through my kitchen pantry in my mind. I could see the sweets, the fats, the oily stuff. I could see the cakes, the cookies, snacks, puddings, simply all the fast grab-n-go foods that we think we need. I could rattle off about twelve things I know I don't need. I DO NOT NEED Oreo cookies. I do not need fatty Ruffles potato chips. I do not need cheeses, brownies, toaster pastries, and no, I don't need Mike & Ike candies. I only pop a few Mike & Ikes randomly, I told myself it wasn't that big of a deal, but you know what -- it's become a big deal. I feel like going through the kitchen and throwing it out, but instead I'll ask my kids if they want the stuff. I do hate throwing away good food products. I say "good" with a giggle, but still, just because I've decided to turn away doesn't mean everyone else has to.

I walked up and down the aisles and looked really carefully at what our stores sell us. It's our own fault when we give into the loud colors of marketing, and the flashy commercial ads which hide from us the fact that this or that cookie holds twice as many calories as a good heaping of cottage cheese or an apple. Once you pass the produce section of the store you get yourself into trouble. Immediately at the stores I can think of you find yourself in the frozen food section where you're bombarded with tempting ice creams, frozen yogurts, fast-food pizza rolls, deli pizzas, and some of the most amazing frozen foods ever made - - Pillsbury Grands! HOW can you say no to GRANDS? Easy. Grands are OK, but I don't stop with one, I get two, and I always put butter and jelly on them. Sometimes when I'm really bad I put Philadelphia Cream Cheese's new Indulgence dark chocolate cream cheese on my Grands, and this is the very very reason I must say no to Grands from now on. I'm not saying you have to go cold turkey and give up everything because that can cause a person to become resentful and upset. I believe in substitutions. What can I have in the mornings instead of a fluffy Grand biscuit? Healthy whole-wheat cereal and fruit. I can add walnuts and make it even better. Walnuts may be expensive, but they help your blood to flow better, reduce chances of diabetes, lower cholesterol, and all without hyping you up with bright packaging that you have to find a recycling bin for - - so, it's settled. I'm stopping all the madness today, and I'm going right back to my heart healthy plan of being both active and full of more energy - naturally. I even told Laura I don't want to get salads in bulk so we'll have to go to the store a few more times and walk the entire store wall to wall to put in that much more exercise than we would if we just showed up and got what we need. She's good with that.

Laura and I picked up more in the produce section than we normally do; fruits, veggies, nuts, and avocados. I know no one really knows where to put them on food charts. I put them with fruits, but then again, I put tomatoes with fruits and everyone laughs at me. I picked up Roma tomatoes for their flavor today; they'll make excellent salsa, and yes, you can still have a few whole wheat crackers or chips with your salsa; sans the salt if you can find the reduced or no salt added boxes. It's just that much better for you. I'm the type that loves to eat almonds all day, and if you're willing to do that, and add berries to a smoothie with yogurt and honey, well, it won't take too long before you're back on track. Your belly will thank you, and so will the other parts of your gut like your intestines, once they figure out that you're not just making a change for the weekend. It has to be a real change, it has to be a life change, not a month change, or worse a change that you can easily get bored with. You don't need the sugar, and you don't need the fats. Well, you don't...and that's me saying YOU to ME because I'm talking to myself here, I do not need it, and I do not want it anymore. I want ME back...ME. The other day I stood in front of the mirror and I didn't even want to see who was in the darn thing - - I didn't like her. I didn't know her and she was invading my personal space. Her belly hung over her pants, her skin wasn't pretty like it use to be, and she wasn't able to move the way she use to, it's just not fun being me at this point and time in my life. I MUST DO something, and so I made the choice.

YEA...I do feel better, and it will take weeks, even a few months to get back to where I can say I am happy about who I am again, but it has to start somewhere and that somewhere is with my tea. MORE ginger than before, more parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme - - what, you thought that was just lyrics? Nope!