Monday, June 30, 2014

The Restaurant Game

In our society, customer service is huge. It is crucial to many businesses and none more so than the restaurant/bar game. Who stands out the most, takes the most crap...(deserved and undeserved) from both the kitchen and the customer? The server! 

Back when my husband was alive, before he settled on the aircraft industry, he was in food service. He managed a couple of restaurants, was a co-chef at one and worked as wait staff at others. He knew the business well and being a salesman at heart...he knew that good wait staff and customer service were key. He used to say that no matter how lousy the food, if the service was good then customers would usually overlook the poor cuisine. He was right.

Going to a restaurant to eat with Tim was always interesting. He would critique each place we went from the cleanliness to the decor and the food to the service. He knew what it "should" be like and if it wasn't....then on occasion he would take it upon himself to school the staff. He could tell the temperament of a server before they even seated us and if he detected even a smidgen of rudeness, ego or lethargy in the person he would tell them right up front that they were starting out with an $X tip but depending upon the service we received would decide if that amount actually made it into their pocket. Since Tim was an amazing tipper, it usually jolted even the poorest of wait staff into a 5 star server during the course of our meal. However, if the service went south at any point, both the server and the manager would hear about it. Tim always felt as if customers were doing the restaurant a favor by coming in to eat....not the other way around. He also never chewed wait staff out for a problem that he knew came from the kitchen. I have watched him walk into a kitchen to compliment a kitchen staff or to go off on them for a poor meal. Yeah, dining out with Tim could be an adventure for everyone involved.

I too have done my fair share of time both being a restaurant server and a bar server. I learned early on that how I presented myself (clean and appropriately dressed) and how I treated the customer made a huge difference in how the customers treated me and how they tipped. Trust me, in a world where tips are everything, it serves you well to treat customers as you would want to be treated as a customer.

So having all of this background knowledge of the restaurant business and customer service, it never fails to floor me when a server is rude, careless or simply doesn't give a crap about their job and lets it show. I am also not a fan of being served by someone with dreadlocks or their hair being long and not put up. It is not only a health code violation (or at the very least should be) but it is also a personal phobia of mine. Hair in my food (especially my dreadlocked waiters) doesn't exactly make my artichoke dip all that appetizing. Like my late husband I am not above subtracting $ from their final tip for an unhappy dining experience. Be rude to me or my special needs kid who yes, as a matter of fact does get loud at times (duh, why do you think I ask for a back table?!) and the server, myself and the manager will be having a rather unpleasant conversation.

Most restaurants I am pleased to say do make some effort to train their servers. Since I don't dine out a lot, when I do, I don't usually have huge problems with servers or service. However, occasionally you walk in to a place and right from the moment you are seated, you know you have lucked into the best server ever! We were that lucky a few weeks back. As I said, we seldom eat out but as a treat we went to our favorite restaurant Red Lobster. We usually go to the one on the East side but because we were running errands on the West side, we decided to go there.

The experience was on a roll from the moment we walked in, as we missed the main dinner rush and were immediately seated. When I asked to be put at a back table so David would not disturb any other diners, they opened up a typically unused section at that hour and gave it all to us. Then our waitress came out. Right off the bat she connected with David and as he said "Hi!" several dozen times over, she just laughed and said "Hi!" right back. Girl nearly doubled her tip with that act of class! She was pleasant and helpful and on top of our order from the minute she took it. I really don't think I have ever been served that quickly or that professionally by anyone else.....EVER! Never was a glass less than half empty on our table nor was our biscuit basket ever empty at all. She was the perfect combination of attentive without being annoying. She was pleasant, kind and very good at her job. As I sat there looking at my perpetually full glass of tea and enjoying my delicious shrimp, it occurred to me that this meal could not be half as good as it was and I would still consider this an amazing dining experience. Yes, some of that might be because I never get out of the house, but most of it was because of the wonderful and professional service. Even Z who currently is a fan of no one......ever, was impressed with her service.

The waitress got a well deserved tip of all I could afford that evening and I personally thanked her for being such a great server. Z though, was way ahead of me. As I was walking out trying to push the wheelchair, hold the doggie bags and find my keys, he walked straight up to the manager and expressed how pleased we were with her service and our dining experience as a whole. He even filled out a customer review card for both the restaurant and the server. I too might have done the same thing had I not been juggling and steering trying to get to the car. Show off!

So today.....I don't like bad service anywhere at anytime but especially not at a restaurant where I choose to spend my time once in a very great while. I do on the other hand LOVE....great service especially at a restaurant that I only get to enjoy once in a very great while. Respect my son while you are being great at your job and in my are a keeper! So if you are on the West side of Wichita and are hankering for some Red Lobster, stop won't be disappointed!

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Still Trying to Keep the Faith

Yes, I fell off the blog wagon. Life has been a bit busy (you know....summer and all) and blogging has just taken a bit of a back burner to everything else in my life. Of late, I have had a small issue with life, feeling as if it is collapsing in on me again. Perhaps it has been the weather and coming to a stand still on the pool/deck project. We are short 7 ton of sand (which hopefully is coming) and about 60 deck boards which I am short the money to purchase them with. It will happen though. I have faith! 

Then there was the trip to Shriners to check out Davids hip. It was suppose to be on Wednesday, but then just hours before leaving, the house was hit with the Bubonic Plague. Okay, maybe that was a bit dramatic, but my house and all inhabitants were sick! This then meant having to reschedule. That is never fun with Shriners. Luckily we got a date just a couple of weeks off. That was definitely a God thing!

The hits just kept on coming when I realized that I was $160 short somewhere between leaving my house and getting to the bank. Still not sure how that happened. I searched every crevice of my van and my purse and no sign of it. Sigh....perhaps a lesson from on High about being less frenzied and more observant.

Finally....the cherry on top was the fact that I was suppose to have a meeting with a Social Security representative on the 15th to discuss David receiving SSI (disability) and after filling out preliminary paperwork on his health via e-forms, I received a determination in the mail yesterday that he was not eligible for disability. Apparently having cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, being hydrocephalic and a host of other conditions along with being on 4 seizure meds 3 times per day doesn't make him disabled enough for disability. It has been suggested to me to get a disability attorney involved, but then again....if I could afford the attorney....I wouldn't need the disability! Still trying to keep the faith here people!!!!!

It was at this point that I began to hear the oh so familiar I am broke and I am never going to financially make it tune starting to play in my head. I could almost feel the hyperventilating coming on as my body tightened and the migraine set in. It sucks when you are mentally trying to pick out which bridge is going to be the warmest to live under this winter. Yes, I know....more over dramatization, but the financial worry is real. Then I remembered.....didn't I hand this all over to God a while back? Didn't I say that I would stop worrying about all of this and have faith that He would guide me? Yes I did! It also occurred to me mid-panic attack, that it is easy to have faith when things are easy, but REAL faith is believing even when things are really rough. Trust me.....they are really rough and yes God....I am not taking anything out of your hands....I have faith that all will be well!

Instead of panicking....okay....fully panicking, I decided to pray about it. I gave God my problems and so as to stay strong and not try to take them back, I decided I needed back up. So off I went to the internet and looked up some novena's. If you are Catholic then you know that novena's are tried and true methods of prayer for miracles straight across the board. I was looking for a novena explicitly for financial help when I ran across the Mother Teresa's  Emergency Novena. I love Mother Teresa and this for me is an urgent emergency, so it was definitely a fit. This novena is simply the Memorare said nine times in a row for your intention. For those of you who don't know what the Memorare is, it is a beautiful prayer to the Blessed Mother asking her to intercede on behalf of the one in need. Attached to the novena was a message board asking if anyone had ever said the novena and if so....their results. Many answered but the one that caught my eye was from someone who was not a Catholic but who had been given the novena in prison. He said the prayer asking for intercession as he wanted his life to turn around. Apparently his prayer request was granted.

I continue to hand this all over to God. I know He is listening and lest He not forget my request.....I have also sent the Blessed Mother to remind Him. Yes, I can be persistent like that. In truth, I have also sent St. Jude His way and I am thinking St. Pio and St. Theresa may also be paying Him a visit very soon. Yeah....I would call this an emergency.

To me, the biggest leap of faith is relinquishing control and letting God have it all. However, it becomes exponentially easier when I take things into true perspective and see where my need to control has left me. I can almost hear the ethereal question...."How's that whole control thing working out for you?" And to that I can honestly say...."It's not!" 


Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection 
implored thy help 
or sought they intercession 
was left unaided
Inspired by this confidence
I fly unto thee O Virgin of Virgins my Mother
To thee I come
Before thee I stand...sinful and sorrowful
O Mother of the word incarnate
despise not my petitions
but in they mercy
hear and answer me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Oh Diet Mt. Dew....I DO Love You (An oldy but a goody) is Thursday again and I am going to lay a little Health and Wellness on you. Actually I am going to tell you a little about the vice I like to call......Diet Mt. Dew. So head on over and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Project #1.1....An Up Cycled Fire Pit

Projects!!!! Well to catch you up on the huge project that is my back yard, the deck frame is in place. It had to be in place before the pool could go up. Last night, a tractor was brought in and the ground where the pool will be, was scraped level. That will be new and novel since my my last pool became extremely un-level over time, earth movement and sand/dirt shifting. My last pool had an unintentional deep end which was almost six inches deeper than the rest of the pool. This could explain why the liner no longer fit!

Since last week, we have still had to dodge weather and work around work schedules (theirs not mine), but the deck frame is complete. After the pool is put up, then the deck boards will be put in place and finally the stairs and gates. These poor guys aren't going to know what to do with themselves when they don't have to drive to my house every day after work to put in another 6-8 hours. NOT! 

Last night when the tractor arrived, the guys let David give the tractor a spin. He had a ball. It wasn't all fun and games though as the ground is now pool ready. Hopefully today will start the pool set up and then we should be just days away from pool time beginning. I will be sure and keep you all posted as this project moves forward.
So as this huge project is going on, we have begun some smaller projects too. I think I may have mentioned that we were going to have a fire pit area. After a good bit of research and some Pinterest browsing, I finally came up with something I liked, was within my skill level and best of all was in my! Free always makes me happy.

Okay....this is where I forgot I was suppose to be documenting everything for this blog, so I forgot to take pictures along the way. However, I did take a finished project picture, so I guess I didn't completely drop the ball. I also planned to pull my how-to instructions from Pinterest but apparently I didn't pin them, so you will
jut have to take my word for how to build it. Again is not rocket science and I have the completed picture for you. Here goes....

To make this fire pit, myself, Z and Z's girlfriend A, used a portable metal fire pit I already had. I had purchased it at a garage sale for about $10 several years ago. We had never used it much because a)it was portable and had a tenancy to move during high KS winds and b)it was just not very safe. The fire pit was on wheels and a stand with a base tray, a wire basket that fit into the base and then a lid. We proceeded to take it all apart and then when we got to the wheels and stand, I tried to unbolt them. Unfortunately after sitting in the outdoor elements for several years, the bolts were rusted on. I then allowed Z to take our trusty sledge hammer and beat the wheels and stand until they broke loose. This left holes in the bottom tray where the bolts had been which is fine because the tray needed to have the holes....I assume for ventilation.

We then laid the base on the ground and marked an area about 3-4 inches larger all the way around it. At this point, A and I began to dig the circumference we had marked and then we dug about 4-5 inches deep. We laid the base into the bottom of the hole and then put sand around the area between the edge of the tray and the edge of the dug out wall. Once this was done, we then reassembled the original fire pit putting the basket into the base and then covering the basket with the lid. After that, we took paver stones(we used 2x6x18 stones) and arranged the pavers around the fire pit building up the sides.

The completed project took less than 30 minutes and looks much better than the old fire pit and I believe it is also safer. I think I am going to fill the base with pea gravel or rock as most fire pits have some form of this in the bottom. The lid can also be removed and a grilling grate can be placed over the top to allow the fire pit to also double as a grill. Versatile and free....what more could a girl want???? I really can't wait to start putting our new creation to good use.

Currently with my torn up yard as the backdrop for this new up cycled creation, it doesn't look as amazing as I think it will when Project #1 is actually finished. Still though, it is something that we will be able to use and enjoy for a long time to come and will extend our outdoor season time, from early spring to late fall. there you have it. Since project #2 is actually going to be the basement room.....we will simply call the fire pit, Project #1.1! We are moving right along and progress is being made. So how are your summer projects going? Any you would like to share? You can either share them by commenting in the "comments" section of this blog or message or email me. I would love to see them and share them in my upcoming blogs.

Until next week.....wish us luck on Project #1!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

David and Life With Special Needs...."Staring at Special Needs"

So here you have it. Tuesday's blog about David and Life With Special Needs. Enjoy Staring at Special Needs!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sunday.....The Way it Should Be!

I love Sunday! Yeah, I don't just "like it" but I truly love it. Well, actually I love what in my head I believe Sunday should be.

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was friends with two sisters who came from a family of 12 kids. While my friends were second and third to the youngest....they had many older brothers and sisters. Every Sunday at their house was Sunday dinner. Yes, they were a Catholic family (no surprise I am sure) and the parents and the kids left at home would usually go to 11 a.m. mass. Then by 12:30 they were home and the rest of the family would start coming over. Everyone usually brought a covered dish and that was supplemented by fried chicken and dessert. While the food was always amazing (I still have recipes that I begged for back from those days) it was the family, the noise and the being together that made it so special.

As if there weren't enough people running in and out of their house on Sunday's with kids, spouses and grand kids, there was also an open door policy for friends and I was lucky enough to fall into that category. At least I think there was an open door policy. If not....I apologize now for spending just about every Sunday there for several years. At any rate, there always seemed to be room for one more and everyone was treated like family, no one went away hungry and usually in the summer time, there were still people there until 9 or 10 p.m. at night. Or again....maybe I just stayed too long. Whatever the case though, I lived for and loved my Sundays back then. My own home life at that time wasn't nearly as much fun and being that there was only my brother and I and most of the time we weren't speaking, Sunday was my day to be a part of something to me that was rare and special.

I never forgot those times. They stayed with me and I always wanted that for my kids. I wanted a day where we could unite as a family and spend the day unplugged and just talk, laugh and remember that those with us whether related by blood or not.....were family. At times I have succeeded at this better than others. I have always been the one to take in my kids friends and feed them and make them feel a part of our family, because I always remember how much I needed that and how great it felt when it was done for me. Other times though....well you know my story. Not everything always goes as planned in Lisaland.

It occurred to me on Saturday as we worked late into the evening on the pool and backyard and then we sat around talking and laughing and sharing stories, that I want that again. I want potluck dinners, an open door policy and family, friends and framily coming and going, laughing and talking and looking forward to that one day a week when we can all be together. I want pool time, bbq's and board games. I want music, laughter and sitting back full, happy and in the midst of amazing company. I want Sundays!

Well.... there you have it. I love Sunday's the way they should be. God first, family second and good food, good friends and lots of fun to follow. So just so you all know.....when the back yard is done and the pool is finished.....there will be an open door policy on Sundays in Lisaland. Bring your suit, your favorite dish and be ready for Sunday....the way it should be!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Few Words to Dads

Father's Day is one of the most difficult holidays for me. Part of it is over the fact that I have a really ambivalent relationship with my own dad and part of it is because my kids no longer have their dad. It has been better though in the last couple of years watching first my step-son becoming a dad and watching him thrive in the role and then this last year watching my other son also becoming a dad knowing how profoundly this has changed him. Regardless of any faults these two guys may have, they understand the fundamental importance of what it means to be a dad. I couldn't be prouder.

As a girl, a daddy is suppose to be the one of the top of a handful of people in her life that remains in her heart forever. A daddy is suppose to be a girls first love and the person who teaches her that all men should be held to a certain standard in her life. He should be the one that loves her fiercely and is willing to do everything from having that tea party, to helping her through the rough patches of life. He is suppose to let her wrap herself not only around his little finger, but also completely and totally around his heart. He should be her biggest cheerleader and also the one she fears disappointing the most. He should love her without condition, support her dreams and guide her to be a confident and proud woman.

I have a dad but I never had any of those things. I had the best my dad knew how to give, but I never was his little girl. Now don't get me wrong, as I have said before, I am not feeling sorry for myself. I did have a dad in my life, however...the father/daughter road we took ended us to a place of co-existence but never understanding, respect or even friendship. We are just two people cast in these roles in life with no instruction guide to get us through. At 50+ years old though, I have finally gotten to the point in my life that I can say, I understand....sort of. It doesn't erase the years of hurt, sometimes embarrassment and often times anger that my dad acted as he did, but knowing him as an adult and being an imperfect adult myself......I do have a better understanding of possibly why he acted as he did and while it doesn't change the past it does make it so that I can completely forgive him for the hurt I have held within me all these years.

So to you fathers out there that like my own dad who were not given that owners manual to raising your kids (especially your daughters) I would like to give you a few words of advice from a daughter, a child and someone who grew up feeling anything but loved:

Being an absentee dad is not being a dad and you can be physically there and emotionally absent. That is almost as bad as not having a dad at all. Remember are your daughters example of how men should treat women and how your daughters should expect to be treated in the future. You are also your sons example of how a real man should act, love and treat women. Ignoring your kids in favor of your own wants and desires makes them feel as if they are an imposition and unworthy of your attention. This is something they take through life. As a father, you are molding your kids, they need discipline and guidelines....but they also need acceptance, understanding and encouragement. you treat them when they make mistakes and even fail from time to time and how you make them feel on these occasions is going to be what they take on into their adult life and it will be a direct reflection of how they feel about trying, failing and themselves. Also remember that the kind of parent you are now is not the kind of grandparent you will be in the future. Age and wisdom will change your views and you will soften, learn and grow. When you get to that point in life, you want to see your own children's parenting skills to be a positive reflection of what they learned from you. No grandparent wants to see a miserable grandchild and know that their previous actions when they were parents was the catalyst for this. Most of all, remember that you may not have lots of money and you may not be able to always supply your kids with the latest video game, the smartest phone or a brand new car, but regardless of income or social status, you can always give them the greatest gifts of all......your heart, your time and most of all......your unconditional love.

Now to all you dads out there.....and I know some phenomenal ones......I hope you can take today to relax, enjoy and know just how great you are to the ones who call you "daddy!"

Happy Fathers Day

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What In The World???? Prince William Flies Coach?!


Apparently the young Prince of Cambridge, coincidentally born the same year I graduated from high school (yes I am that old) is not afraid to hob nob with everyday joe's while flying the friendly sky's. In fact, I have heard that he is so normal and down to earth that he might be just one of the guys if not for that whole royal title and all.

It seems the Prince was flying back to England from a friends wedding in Memphis last week when he was spotted by a reporter taking a seat on an American Airlines coach. As I understood it not only did he fly economy on the way back, but while he was in Memphis, he also played the tourist as he went and visited Graceland, the home of the late Elvis Presley.

I have to say, this whole thing boggles my mind. Here is a young man who is in line to be King of England someday, in fact maybe sooner than later as there is talk that his father Prince Charles is no longer eligible after his mother abdicates her throne. Apparently English law frowns upon divorce in their potential kings so it seems Charles may no longer be in the running. That means that Prince William will be next in line. As a future King, in the pictures I saw, there did not look to be any body guards or secret service men around him. In fact, there didn't seem to be any pomp and circumstance at all surrounding him or his visit.

Why the Prince chose to fly coach, I am not sure. Maybe he was bumped from first class, although I sincerely doubt any airline would do that. Maybe there was a mix up in his flights and there were none in first class on this particular flight or maybe.......he just didn't see the sense in spending more money than necessary to get home. Whatever the case, I give this young man kudos for not only flying coach (whatever the reason) but also not acting like his title made him entitled.

Wow! I have to say I really loved this story. It made me very happy to read it and it gives me hope for this generation getting ready to take hold and take the reigns of our future. This future king seems to have it all. He has his mothers good looks, obvious charm and now we find out that he is just a regular guy. Dang that Cate is a lucky girl and I am sure that somewhere, Diana is smiling down at this young man knowing..... she done good.  

Have a great Saturday!

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Little Diddy.....The Tornado

A Little Diddy.....The Tornado. Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of the tornado that hit the outskirts of my hometown. Living in Kansas nearly my entire life, I am no stranger to these storms on steroids, but this storm was different. Prior to this tornado, I had been in a tornado in the 1970's that touched down just blocks from my house. It's roar, like a freight train raging through your house, could be heard as we huddled in the basement. We all just knew that when we went upstairs our house would be gone. We lucked out, however a few blocks over they were not so lucky.

I also witnessed first hand the Andover, KS tornado in 1991 and the Haysville, KS tornado in 1999. There have been many others too with lots of trips to the basement where the kids are told to stay put as the adults in a mesmerized like trance make their way back up the stairs to watch the fury and the beauty of such an impressive phenomenon. Forget the danger involved, watching the greenish cast of the sky, the swirling clouds, a breathtaking lightening show and if you are lucky, the appearance of a tail dipping down.....are usually worth the calculated risk of leaving your basement. On June 12, 2004 though, something was very different and nothing except the tornado itself could have pulled me from the basement that night.

I remember the storms started in the afternoon. The air was thick and hazy/sunny and any Tornado Alley resident knew that "something" in the way of storms was going to be happening that day. By late afternoon the warnings had started. I watched the periodic weather break-ins on the tv as we went from storm watch to tornado watch to storm warning and finally as the station was no longer taking any breaks from the weather, the sirens began going off. I remember grabbing Z who was 8 and David who was 3 and running them down to the basement. Before shoving Z down the stairs with David in his arms, I looked out and saw clouds rushing in all directions and the trees were deadly still. The air felt both heavy and electric and I knew that something was about to happen.

As we hit the basement I turned on the tv. The storm had gone through Wichita and was headed directly at us. The sighting of a tail dropping down and then going back up in the clouds had been reported by several spotters along the way. The sirens had stopped and then suddenly the meteorologist said that there was a spotting of a tornado at K-15 and Rock Rd. The sirens began again full force. This  intersection is only a couple of blocks from my house which meant this tornado was headed for the actual town and quite possibly,  my house. My heart stopped and then raced. I was trying to figure out what I could throw the boys under and keep them safe from debris and flying objects if the tornado just came on through. It was the first time since I was a little kid that I remembered being really scared of a tornado. Normally it is more of an adrenaline rush, but not that day. Not when I thought it might be coming right down my block.

Like these monsters often do, the tornado tail dropped down but went right back up without actually touching the ground. The storm accompanying it was fierce as it traveled east out of town. I continued to keep glued to the tv as weather spotters were all over our area and reporting into the tv station as the storm picked up momentum. Then the storm did what it had been trying to do for awhile, it dropped a tornado that hit the ground destroying a home/daycare, a saddle club with a home and then another home. Little did I know at the time but one of those homes belonged to a close friend of mine.

As the storm headed on down the road and the all clear was given, we knew there was damage and destruction but there was no definites as to where or how bad. That evening I did something that I don't normally do. I put the boys in the car and we went driving to see just what chaos had been left in the aftermath. I remember seeing trees down and branches everywhere. There were roof shingles here and there along with a fair amount of debris and this was all in town where the tornado hadn't even actually hit. This was all damage from the storm and the strong non-tornadic winds that accompanied it. Heading out east of town though, was a completely different story. The further east I drove, the more debris I saw however, you could only go so far as police already had road blocks up redirecting traffic and onlookers like myself, away from what was left of the touchdown. After hearing there were no fatalities, I drove us home relieved that regardless of whatever damage was left behind, no lives had been lost.

It wasn't until the next day at Mass that I heard that one of the houses hit was my friend Chris's house. I nearly died. I immediately got in the car and drove out there. She lives about a mile and a half down a dirt road just off the main highway. As I turned onto her road and drove about half a mile, there started to be rows of cars along the road. Then as I got closer, I saw it. My heart sank. In the field across from where their house stood less than 24 hours before, was her husbands beautiful mustang. It was twisted and folded as if it were nothing more than a piece of paper. There were clothes, belongings and fragments of house and furniture in trees, fields and scattered across the road. Chris's house had been swept completely off it's foundation and everything in the basement had been sucked out. Chris and her youngest son had been home at the time and thankfully watching the storm. She had watched the tornado form and the tail dance up and down several times above her. Then she knew it was time to hit the basement. Grabbing what photos she could and her son, they made their way under the stairs in the basement just as the tornado came down right onto their house exploding it every which way. When all was said and done, the only thing left was the stairs they were under and the photos they grabbed. It was literally a miracle that they were left untouched.

Family and friends from far and wide came out that day and all were in shock at the devastation that this tornado had left in its path. People were searching everywhere for anything salvageable. There was almost nothing. Not knowing what to do, I ask what was needed. Being in shock and neither Chris nor I ever having lived through the personal aftermath of a tornado we had no idea what that sort of thing does to fabric. She asked me to pick up any clothes I could find on the ground and take them home and wash them. After a thorough search of the area, I found about a black trash bags worth of clothes and took them home. After I washed the first load that basically just looked wet and maybe a little muddy, my wash machine was full of dirt, rocks, wood splinters and other assorted muck. I cleaned it all out and reran the clothes. The second time the machine was just as dirty. After the fourth time of washing them, the machine had much less residue, but the clothes began to disintegrate. The force of the tornadic winds had literally forced all this debris into the fiber of the fabric and ultimately destroyed the material. In the end, out of the entire bag of clothes, I was able to salvage only a couple of items.

Chris's family had a great deal of support and soon the property was cleared and bravely, they rebuilt on the same site. The saddle club and house also rebuilt as well as the house/daycare. In the midst of all of it, because of all the weather spotters out that day, both official (Weather Channel) and unofficial, our tornado became rather famous with clips being shown regularly when talking about tornado's. What makes it even more interesting is that at the end of most of the videos taken and even in some of the still shots, you can very vividly see Chris's house being hit as it explodes into shooting debris. Not exactly something you want to be famous for.

Now ten years later and I am surprised at how clearly that day still comes back to me. Thankfully we haven't really had anymore calls that close. That day could have ended up so much differently with a lot more damage and lives lost. It does make you realize that we are no match for these twirling beasts and even being in a basement may not be that secure without a safe or reinforced room.

So why do I continue to live in a place where my house could be sucked off its foundation and where literally millions of dollars in damage has been done by such hellacious storms over the last quarter of a century. The answer is......because I live in Oz and there really place like home!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Health and Wellness......Diet Liar

Welcome to Health and Wellness day. You will find today's blog on my blog Do I Look Like a Celery Kind of Girl? Today's blog is titled....Diet Liar. I hope you enjoy it and have a very happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Project #1 David's Pool

Project Day!!! This should be the easiest blogging day of my week every week! My life is nothing if not one big huge project. Truthfully though, cleaning alone is a pretty big project in Lisaland......possibly because I hate cleaning. Yes, it is the top three of my top five least favorite things to do in life. To me cleaning is right up there with root canals and colonoscopies. However, the irony of this whole I hate cleaning thing is....I will go a little over the edge if my house is not clean. So after the last few months that we have had, it should be no surprise to anyone that currently I am hanging over the edge and holding on by my fingernails. My house really needs cleaned. 

Two big projects that are not of the house cleaning nature that we are working on this summer are the basement room that we started last summer but lost momentum on and of course, the back yard. Hopefully neither of these will take up the entire summer (maybe just a couple of weeks) but in Lisaland....who knows what twists and turns may unexpectedly snake their way into my life?!

So first, the backyard. In the spring my backyard started out with a deck and a pool which was about 10 years old. After several attempts at trying to fill the pool after draining and cleaning it for the season, the pool would collapse in on itself each time after it had about a foot and a half of water in it. I decided that maybe the liner had shrunk since we drained it, so I was looking into getting a new liner. After each collapse, with help from some friends, the sides were straightened. As my luck seems to go though.....after the final straightening, a famous Kansas storm hit with it's famous gale force winds and by morning my pool had almost totally collapsed in on itself and was beyond repair.

After a lot of prayer, a disappointment or two and some really kind people, we were blessed with a new pool. This pool however is a different size and shape than the old pool, which is requiring both some ground and deck restructuring. The deck has to be taken partially to mostly (its a builders term) apart and reconfigured for the new pool shape. Then, when Z and I pulled the old pool down, it was quite obvious that the ground was in great need of some smoothing and delumping (yet another one of those terms). This required a bobcat to be brought in to tear out a good chunk of the yard and four tons of sand to be brought in so that the pool liner will lay on reasonably level ground. Luckily, I have two great guys who were willing to give up their evenings and weekends whenever possible to put the deck and pool together. Yes....I see that my future will include me baking quite a few cheesecakes in repayment for their generosity!

Like often happens in Kansas this time of year, or really any time of year...the weather becomes bi-polar and this last week the weather has out done itself. My backyard which already looked like an excavation project, now looks like a soggy excavation project. Yesterday was the first day that the muddy, sandy bog in my yard even had a chance to dry out. Hopefully work will now get back underway and progress can be made before mother nature has another psychotic episode.

As I said, right now it doesn't look like much back there, but soon.....very soon, David will have a pool for his physical therapy and I will have a place complete with lawn chair, umbrella and trashy novel to hide out from my housework. I think I may be more excited than even David is....and since the yard is torn up  Z, my creative genius had his mind going in overdrive. He spotted the little red pavers that had been a small path to the original pool some 30+ years ago. They had been dug up and discarded by the bobcat. He decided that we needed a fire pit area to make the yard fun both day and night, so now what was once a walkway is now being recycled or maybe up-cycled into a fire pit. Then.....a friend had a projector that they decided they no longer wanted. It can be hooked up to just about any electronic device, so we decided to do a Pinterest project and make a movie screen with pvc pipe and a king size sheet. Why stop there though? Why not add a horseshoe pit (after all....we do have 4 tons of sand and lots of leftover deck wood). What better time to implement such a great idea than when the yard is already torn to shreds????? BONUS.....when it is done, there will be almost no yard left to mow in the back!!! Could this be a better plan? Who needs a vacation when you have a cool back yard?

Yesterday evening. the posts went up for the deck and much to everyone's shock, the muddy back yard bog is already dry, hard and the dirt is cracking. With the deck posts re-situated and in place, it will be no time before the pool goes up. Then if I understand everyone correctly, they will go back in and finish putting the deck back together. Hopefully after all of that, then summer will be here for real and the temps will quickly warm the pool. We are so ready to get this summer in the pool started.

So there you have it....project #1....David's pool! As you can see I have thrown in a few pictures to see where we started and where we are at now. Next week I will catch you up on this project and hopefully be ready to introduce you to project #2. Until then......Happy Wednesday!!!!  Oh....and by the way, if you are elbow deep in a project of your own.....please feel free to share it with us in the comments section. I would love to hear about your project experiences!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

David/Life With Special Needs......So It is Summer!

Here is the link to today's blog....entitled: So It is Summer! I hope you like learning about and/or catching up on the Incredible Mr. David!
Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 9, 2014

I'm a Widow....Take Advantage of Me

To Like or Not to Like. I might as well get the ball rolling......

When I was growing up, I lived in the post Ozzie and Harriet world. They still taught girls home economics in school, complete with cooking and sewing and there was still the expectation that girls would grow up to be wives and mothers not members of the workforce. Even with women's lib on the forefront of  politics as well as the headline of the evening news, many of us girls still dreamed of a future as someones wife, not the CEO of a fortune 500 company. Then add to my world, a father who let me know at every turn that because I was a girl (or maybe just because I was me) that I couldn't do anything and you had a recipe for a young woman that needed a man in her life just to make sure she could dress herself daily. More than once I heard my dad say that he couldn't wait for a guy to come along and take me off his hands because I would never be able to take care of myself. I was never given a skill set to survive in the world and yet I was looked down on for not knowing my way.

Even as a young adult, my father would step in and handle car repairs, finances and various other things...because I was a girl and couldn't handle those things for myself. All the while though, he let me know that I was somehow less in his eyes because he "had" to help me. Yes, my young adult years were very special.

When I finally found that guy who would take me off my dads hands and I got married, my husband took over  most of the "guy" stuff. If the car needed fixed, bills needed paid or something needed handled, he usually did it. Somewhere along the line though, I had bought into the propaganda that I wasn't smart enough or skilled enough to handle life for myself, so letting my husband do it all seemed pretty natural. After all....what did I know about care repairs or health insurance???? 

This all worked out fine until the day I woke up and realized that my husband was dead and there was no one there now but me to handle things. Tim may have died but the car still broke down, bills still needed paid and the house still needed repairs from time to time. Unfortunately the moment he died, apparently a neon sign flipped on on my forehead flashing "I'm a widow....take advantage of me!" Having no previous skills dealing with any of this and people learning that I was a widow was an obvious and open invitation for every skeezy care salesman, mechanic and fix-it guy to come out of the woodwork and try to bilk me out of my non-existent inheritance. I can safely say that in the first six months of becoming a widow, since I was barely functioning as a human let alone knowing what I was doing where anything else was concerned, no less that four individuals tried to overcharge me because they thought they could get by with it.

It wasn't long after that, I realized that there was no "man" to take care of me and  that I had to take care of myself and learn the ways of the world. First of all, I quit letting people (especially men who were providing a service such as car repair) know that I was a widow. In fact, if I was quoted a price on anything....I would always say, "I will have to discuss this with my husband first." A time or two I had "gentlemen" insist that they speak to my husband as they really didn't want to do business with me. I did them one better and took my business elsewhere. I also began reading up on any work I needed done to at least learn the terminology of the task at hand. You would be surprised how a few properly placed words in a sentence can back a shyster down.

Slowly but surely, I realized that I could do this stuff. I wasn't the imbecilic female that I had been brought up to believe I was. Come to find out too, I was actually paying attention on occasion when Tim was dealing with people and I picked up a thing or two. No, widowhood was not easy. In fact it sucked....for the obvious reasons and the not so obvious ones, however, I was learning the ropes and figuring out how to be a woman who knew very little about most things but who could fake her way through a lot. After the first year, my taken advantage of rate went from about 75% to less than 5% and along the way I gained some knowledge, confidence and self-esteem.

In the last couple of years my backbone has grown exponentially. I have also learned that it is not only less than honorable men and crooked repair people that are out to take advantage of anyone they feel is a possible easy prey. There are also plenty of others out there who think that their position or person can intimidate or even terrorize a woman alone with no male support system. After years of dealing with repairmen, car dealers, insurance companies, schools, co-workers and even medical professionals, I finally developed a thick skin and a sharp tongue. I learned to educate myself and then defend myself with facts. Of late I have been told I have quite the reputation for being less than pleasant to deal with because of my acquired skills. I have even been known of late, to stand up and fight for others. Apparently there are those in my hemisphere that prefer to no longer be around me and walk quickly and decidedly in the other direction when they see me coming. To that I say....GOOD!

Recently, with summer being upon us and me trying to find the positives in life.....I have let go a bit and put my poison computer keys and "treacherous tongue" (not my words) to rest. Then a couple of weekends ago, I was once again reminded why I had to become the not so lovely version of my former self. It all happened when I found myself dealing with a home improvement store. I haven't decided as of yet whether I will put them on blast or not so I will not throw out the name just yet. I was treated well by several in the store, but two "men" who were managers crossed the line with me. Why? Because I was a woman in a predominantly male venue. One man basically told me that I didn't know what I was talking about and tried to take complete advantage of my lack of knowledge on lumber (except it turns out that I had more knowledge than either of us realized) and the other one, whom I had never even talked to or met....called me a liar and basically a thief to another customer without even having all of his facts straight. Once again I had to use my skills of taking care of myself, standing up for myself and using words that these neanderthals understood.....mainly......"I am taking this to your boss!" Then one had the audacity to say to me in the same sentence that he was suppose to be apologizing in, that I just didn't understand how he was so taken advantage of by customers who were dishonest with him. I then told him in my nicest fake empathetic voice that I completely understood all about being taken advantage of.....after all I was both a woman and a widow. He got my point. So did his boss!

So what is today's point? It is, I don't like those who take advantage of anyone...especially widows! In case you weren't aware, a widow has already been through quite enough. She has lost her spouse.....must she also be out hard to come by cash for an unnecessary repair or an over priced item? Taking advantage of others for your own gain is pretty low by any standard not to mention what crappy karma you are causing yourself. However, when someone takes advantage of kids, the elderly or widows....then that is a special kind of sleezy that I am almost sure will gain them a special place in hell!

And this folks....ends my first To Like or Not to Like. Hope you have an amazing week!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Wheat or the Chaff

A crisis of faith. I suppose we all have it from time to time. Even Blessed Mother Teresa had one and spoke openly about it. To some I guess it means losing faith for a time while for others it simply means questioning the faith they have. I have heard it said many times that faith is easy to have when life is good, but the true test of faith comes when life is difficult. I believe when life is tough and faith is tested, that is when the chaff is separated from the wheat. It scares me to think how many times that I have been the chaff.

As a cradle Catholic, I have always been taught that faith is a gift and added to prayer, you have a combination stronger than any issue life throws at you, no matter how bad. I have seen this for myself many many times in my life. Faith though, is not something that everyone comprehends. It is something that we all have within our reach, but some refuse it, some disavow it and some simply don't understand it. Faith in God is the belief in something you can't see or touch. It is the acceptance of a power much higher, much stronger and much more knowing than anything in creation. It is the understanding that all we must do is put everything in these unseen hands and know in our heart that all will be taken care of as it should be. It is the knowledge that ultimately....God is in control.

My crisis of faith usually happens (yes I have had more than one), when the world seems to spin out of control. I try desperately to fix, manipulate and yes....control things directing them in the way I think they should go. When they don't go that way, even when I pray, then my faith gets shaken...never lost....merely shaken. It is usually then when I realize that I am fighting God's will and His will...will always win out. Just because I think something should be a certain way, doesn't mean that is what is best for me or how it should be. God forbid (literally) that I always get what I think I need. I am sure my life would be inside out right now if I did. Instead, God redirects and in the end, things always turn out the way they should. However, sometimes it is the time it takes between the redirection and the actual results that cause the crisis. We are a world of instant gratification and God is on His own timetable. When the two collide, sometimes we humans use that as an excuse to give up on faith and turn away from God. It is basically the spiritual version of a childish temper tantrum and in the end, we suffer far more then God does.

I have of late been witness to a crisis of faith. Not my own, but anothers. I was assured that they had not given up on God, they were simply mad at God. While I am sure God's shoulders are more than strong enough to withstand the mad, I can't help but believe He must feel sorrow that there is so little faith as not to trust His plan. Granted, when the road is rough and it seems like more than just the other shoe keeps falling, it can feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It is these times though that faith is so important. It is that faith that gets you through the tough times and when you get to the end of that tunnel, the light is more beautiful and brighter than you ever dreamed possible. And like it or not, it is the tough times that make us better, stronger and in many cases.....much more faithful.

Of late, I am much more mindful of my plan vs. God's plan and His time vs mine. If I try something and it doesn't work, I have learned to simply hand it over to Him and have faith in the knowledge that things will all work out. I am praying about more and asking for guidance instead of bulldozing ahead thinking I have all the answers. I am doing my best to worry less and exercise my faith more.

Yes, faith is a gift. Whether you ignore it, deny it or embrace is always there for the taking. It is not forced on us, but gently offered. It is the root of hope, the path to grace and the core of every prayer ever whispered. It is the knowledge that our hearts are heard and understood and that we are never alone even in our toughest times because.......God is always there beside us.

So there you have it. Faith. Are you the wheat or are you the chaff?

Saturday, June 7, 2014

What in the World? Trending!

What in the World?????

Trending. Quite frankly I would never know what was trending if it weren't for the side bar on facebook. I have almost completely quit watching the news because quite frankly, I am not up for a daily dose of self imposed media lies, speculation and negativity. If it weren't for my diligent news junkie friends on fb and the ever present trending side bar....I would never know what was going on in the world.

Today though, the top trending headline read...Antonia Banderas and Melanie Griffith split after 18 years. It caught my eye. I never understood their union in the first place. He seemed like the hunky Latin Lover type while she always seemed like the ditzy blonde. If headlines were to be believed from the beginning, then their marriage has been on the skids almost since it started. According to paparrazi and showbiz gossip, Griffith spent her marriage insecure just waiting for Banderas supposed roving eye to not only rove away from her, but also to replace her. Facts though, say that while Griffith had three prior marriages under her belt, Banderas only had one. So who had the roving eye? all fairness two of her marriages were to the same guy.....Don Johnson, but still.

Yeah, it wasn't really urgent, state of the world press, but the headline held my attention for several reasons. One of course, was because 18 years of wedded bliss in showbiz time is like 50 years in regular people time. Hearing they were breaking up after all these years was both a little sad and mildly shocking. The other reasons this grabbed my attention was because of who they were. They were a couple that always fascinated me both singularly and as a couple and also bewildered me a bit.

My first memory of Griffith was in the 80's movie Working Girl. I liked the movie more than I thought I would and there was something about the sultry sexiness of her voice that was always contradictory to who I thought she might really be in real life. Long before Working Girl though, Griffith had been making headlines because of her real life status. She was the daughter of actress and animal rights activist Tippi Hendren. It was through Hendren that Griffith met and started dating her first husband Johnson at the tender age of 14. What would be considered a felony now a days was apparently viewed as a love story in the 70's. The two eventually divorced and she remarried. When that marriage hit the skids too, she found herself back in the arms of Johnson and once again during the 1980's they sought out wedded bliss.

I liked Griffith and Johnson together. Maybe it was because for some reason in my head, they seemed well suited for each other. Maybe it was because I really liked Johnson, a South High graduate from just down the road. Or maybe, it was because I liked the idea that second chances do come along and they were living proof of this. I remember when they split yet again.....I was actually kind of sad.

My first sighting of Banderas came in the movie Interview With a Vampire. I was a huge Anne Rice fan and unlike most cases where I have read the book before seeing the movie....this time I was not disappointed. Banderas character Armand, almost made me forget that Brad Pitt was even in the movie. I was instantly a fan of this Spanish born actor. Following his Vampire gig, he was cast in some really good parts and some not so good parts, however, the part I found to be his least believable was his real life casting, courtship and eventual marriage to Griffith. Media hype called her the aggressor which ended Banderas nine year marriage and the fact that the media also played up their three year age difference, Griffith being the more mature of the two, seemed to not make them Hollywood nor my favorites. There was something about the union that just never seemed right to me. In fact, the whole thing put my judgmental side into a bit of a snit. Still, even though the media played heavily on her supposed insecurities, his love of women, her plastic surgeries and their desire to live out of the country.....their marriage seemed to defy the odds....until today that is.

Yes, today they trended. Not only did they trend but they were at the top of the chart on trends. Was it merely a slow news day or were others like myself, strangely drawn to the news of yet another Hollywood breakup? Especially one with a certain amount of longevity. Who knows? Maybe they will just separate for awhile and then get back together. Surely all those years were not in vain. Then again....maybe they won't. Hollywood is a fickle town and actors seem to be a fickle bunch. Anyone know if Don Johnson is still available? Maybe the third time really is the charm!!!!

And that is what's going on in my world!

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Little Diddy.......This is My Family!

My first theme blog of the summer. Wouldn't you know it would be a story one? I am not really good at true stories as my life just isn't that interesting. Why include them then? The answer is two fold. For one, hope springs eternal that someday my life will become exponentially more interesting and two, trying to find a good story stretches me as a writer.

So as not to stretch myself too's little diddy will be about family. I know I speak endlessly about my family (mostly my kids), but I never talk much about the family I grew up in. I guess it is time you got to know a little about those people, places and things that molded me and turned me into who I am today. I don't believe this blog will read particularly like a story but in fact more like a synopsis of characters in a book. This will be good for future reference though as I think who I am and what I have turned into may actually make more sense to you all in time.

The character of my dad is played by a man that grew up in Oklahoma and spent his early years as a farmer. When he moved further North as a young adult, he went to work for the city and from there he retired. In his younger years he reminded me of Glenn Campbell. Why? I am not sure. I was never his little girl and I don't particularly remember being doted on by him....ever. He was/is a hard one to get close to and "love" is a word that seldom if ever has passed through his lips. As a child I had no way to bond with this man and any effort on my part was made even more difficult when I was in the 3rd grade and my parents divorced. When I was older though, he taught me to love musicals, westerns, football and history. Those four topics have been our focus of discussion for my entire adult life and for the most part....they have been the cornerstones of our relationship. It is our common ground.

While not a particularly humorous man, he does appreciate a good joke or a witty comeuppance. As kids, when the mood was right, my brother and/or I on occasion found ourselves with a good serve and grand slam directed in our fathers direction. We always knew when the zinger was well executed and caught him off guard as his face would turn red and he would laugh out loud. Those times were seldom, but when they magically happened....the moments were priceless.

As fathers go, I am not sure mine got the skills handbook, men go, I think he has given fatherhood his best shot. Most of the time he was simply the father we got. There were those times though, when times were desperate, that I actually felt I got the father I needed. To say that our relationship has been and still remains to this day an understatement.

The character of my mother was also played by an Okie. Seven years younger than my father and less than a hundred miles away from where he grew up, my mother was also a farm girl. She was beautiful, smart and had a stubborn streak a mile wide. She was the polar opposite of my father. Where he was quite, she was outgoing. She loved fiercely and wasn't afraid to use the "L" word many times a day. She was funny with a brilliant sense of humor. She loved to dance, garden and tell stories. Her profession, when not raising her family, was as a registered nurse and during her career she specialized in Army nursing, working on a tuberculosis ward, a post op cardiac care nurse and finally.....a psychiatric nurse. She was exemplary both professionally and as a mother.

My mother's life was not an easy one. She had many trials along the way. Some were self inflicted and some were just life's little surprises. Being a woman of great faith though, she faced it all with grace, dignity and prayer. She refused to ever let life best her. She did everything on her own terms....right up to her death.

No one ever laughed like my mother nor got angry like my mother. To this day....if I were to hear my first and middle name said together, my body would involuntarily stand at attention. Through it all though, I realized after she was gone, there was so much I didn't know about this woman and I still miss her every day.

Finally to round out our cast of my brother. Six and a half years my junior, we are as different as my mom and dad. As kids we were close. He was/is a funny kid. I don't think I have ever met anyone with a quicker wit than he has. When he was little he had the kindest, tenderist heart. He loved big and had no understanding when the world didn't respond in the same way. I think he often felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. In his youth he never gave in to peer pressure and never felt the need to be "that guy" when it came to socializing and parties. He chose to stay true to what he felt was right and was both a good student and a good kid trying hard to do what he thought was right.

Perhaps life jaded him or maybe I did. I was much more social than he was and a whole lot less inhibited. I did what I wanted and seldom worried about what anyone thought. Looking back, I was probably a cautionary tale in his life. I pushed boundaries, curfews and risked groundings more than once and I am sure my mom worried herself crazy. I have no doubt that he decided to be the anti-me. 

My brother always played by the rules and lived in a black and white world. At some point, I think he grew tired of not only my shades of grey but the greys of the world. He had no understanding of them. He became cynical and started biting the world before it could bite him. Today we live less than a half hour away from each other and rarely speak. He knows little of my life and I know just as much about his. It is sad, but it has become our norm.

So there you have it. These are the people who molded me and shaped my thoughts, attitudes and feelings on just about everything. I have taken both the good and the bad in my life away from my relationships with each of them and they have each given me moments that I would never ever want to live through again and moments that I will hold dear until the end of time. Yep.....this is my family

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer Blogging

If life has taught me nothing has taught me that the best way to find yourself is change. Getting in touch with my inner Type A control freak though, I had to first take a bit of inventory on what works in my life and what doesn't. At first glance, I was thinking....nothing works! Of course that is typical shoot from the hip Lisa BS! So I looked a little closer. One thing that makes me,, is my writing. Of all the things I have been passionate about in this life, my writing has always been somewhere in the top three and the best way I know to get in touch with who I am, is to go back and read about who I have been at any given time. Sometimes I go back and read what I have written years ago, months ago or even last week and I amaze myself both in good ways and bad ways.

Lets face it, I am no Hemmingway, Bronte or even Bombeck. Sometimes my sentences run on, my words super impose each other and my point is hidden somewhere in a bunch of words that fly out of my brain, into my fingers and onto my page and yet this is who I am in real life. Pretty much, whatever I put down on paper is who I am and if you have read my blogs, over time you realize that I am not very shy about expressing myself. In fact, someone asked me recently if there was anything I wouldn't or haven't shared in my blogs. The answer is yes! With all that is shared, you would be amazed at all that remains inside me. Some I simply do not care to share and some....I simply cannot. What I share though, I share openly and without shame. Granted....I may blog for the world to see, something that I would not sit one on one and tell someone, but it is nothing that I am afraid for others to know about me. Yes, I am pretty much an open book to a point and quite frankly, I find that a pretty safe way to live. It is fairly difficult for others to talk about you or malign you, if you have already told all your own secrets yourself. 

But as usual....I digress. My point....once again hidden I am sure, is the fact that writing/blogging is as much a part of me as breathing and when I am away from it for any real time, I am simply not me. Of late, I have felt myself being directed and my writing is a part of this. Something tells me that I need to incorporate my writing back into my life, not just occasionally, but daily whenever possible. It feels write. (Pun and misused word intended). So that is what I am doing. 

Looking back on my blogs, one thing that I really liked and readers seemed to like too was when I did daily themes. It gave me a place to stretch my thoughts and my writing and it gave people something different to read every day as well as seeing different sides of me. I also loved it when I would get up early and write. It was like exercising my brain first thing in the morning and going back later in the day and reading some of those blogs even surprised me as to what my brain would put forth at 5 a.m. So in order to move forward with my life, I think for the summer at least.....I am going to take a page from the past. Themes it is! 

Many of you know that this blog is not my only one and I intend to include my other two blogs in with the themes. You will be able to link to them from here on the days that I write on them. As usual, I have no real idea how all of this will turn out, but part of the fun is experimenting and the element of surprise. My themes will be as follows: 

Monday: To Like or Not to Like. This will be the ever popular (to me anyway) what I like and don't like. It may center on people, places or things and maybe all the above. 

Tuesday: David/Life with Special Needs. You will find this at David's blog which will be linked from here. This will be everything from updates on David's life to life in general with a special needs child. If you are just starting out in the world of special may be of help. 

Wednesday: Projects! Projects! Projects! Welcome to Lisaland and project central. This summer my house, yard and life are one great big project. This can be anything from my pool and backyard, to my individual rooms, to craft or cooking projects. You will get pictures and first hand accounts of how well or unwell each project goes. 

Thursday: Health and Wellness. You will find this on my health and wellness blog. can link from here. This blog is about my own health and wellness journey and it will have info on my progress as well as interesting facts and information I find along the way. 

Friday: A Little Diddy. It's story time. I will tell you stories about what is happening in Lisaland or perhaps I will regale you with a tale from the past. Again....people, places and events of all kinds may show up here.

Saturday: What in the World? This will be the day that I talk about what is going on in the world. My blogs will come from current events and news stories. This will be a no holes barred day. may even get political from time to time!

Sunday: Faithfully. This will be about faith, spirituality and religion as I see it! 

So there you have it. Themes! Who knows, just maybe....once again my blog might be your morning read. Feel free to chime in, comment and critique. My skin is thick, my humor is in tact and I am ready for some summer blogging! 

Monday, June 2, 2014

I Don't Got This

In the last couple of has been the first time since before Christmas that I have actually taken a real breath. I have spent all these months worrying, praying and trying hard to keep everything in my hemisphere from falling apart (aka....controlling everything in my hemisphere). As I was emotionally going down for the last time....I finally cried "Uncle!" and gave up! I gave up control and turned it over to God. Yeah, I am an expert in handing it over and taking it back, but this time.....I don't want it back! I don't want control. I want peace of mind, soul, heart and body. In the midst of all my praying, I could have sworn I heard Tim (my late husband) and my mother saying in chorus, "Hows all this you controlling everything.....working out for you?" The answer was wasn't. When I heard those words, whether it was them really speaking to me from the beyond or simply my common sense chiming in disguised as my two late loved ones, the reality was pretty clear. Either I needed to truly let go and let God, or I could continue to spiral into oblivion. Was there really a choice after that?

I have started finding me again little by little and I have been able to start sorting through the clutter in my brain. I am learning what is important and what isn't and funny enough, the important pile doesn't seem to be stacking up all that high. My finances which seem to rule my life, well I realize those can only be remedied by gainful employment and unfortunately, that employment has to be specific to my family and my financial needs. In recent months, I have jumped on every lead hoping that if "it" wasn't the right job, it might lead me to the right job. I have driven myself crazy hearing either you aren't right or you are simply unemployable at this time or worse yet....hearing nothing at all. I was really feeling like a 4th class person in a 1st class world. Finally I decided to quit playing tug of war with God and just let Him handle this too. I have no doubt that soon there will be the right job and it will be better than even "I" could have "planned" for.

We seem to be moving out of the black cloud that the last few months brought us. Life seems to be finding a normal and the crazy, busy pace that my world and my summer seems to have taken on feel healing. Yes, there are still speed bumps and the occasional wrong turn, but prospective seems to have returned and nothing is derailing at this moment.

One thing that seems to feel more like a complication than a positive motivation is social media. It is very easy to get sucked into negativity and become negative if too much time is spent on social media. It is the ultimate double edged sword. Because of this, I am rethinking social media and my place there. I have decided that I am not leaving fb because I have a great many groups I started, plus....that is where I post my blogs. However.....don't expect to see me on there much. Yes, you will likely continue to see pool progress pictures and blogs, but you won't likely see much else from me. It is summer and I need to refocus and find out who Lisa is. After all, how can I possibly continue to hold the title of Queen of Lisaland, if I don't know who Lisa really is? I refuse to let stress and fear control me anymore and both of those things are fueled by negativity, so I am stepping away. I am listening for God's gentle whisper to guide me. I am hearing that I don't have to worry or fear, He's got this. I am really happy to hear this as it has become quite evident that I don't got this.

There is change happening. If you could see my backyard you would know how evident that was. There is also change inside of me. I feel it and soon it will be visible to the naked eye. I am finding my smile again and I feel the humor creeping back in. There is energy there and positivity that I have only been able to at best....fake these last few months. The words, everything happens through God the way it is suppose to happen and in His time keep coming into my mind. I feel that there is good ahead and all these last years and months have been lessons in preparation for what is about to be. I am not a victim, I am especially chosen for this journey because God has faith in me. He has given me physical and spiritual lifetime boot-camp so that when I get through this obstacle course, I come out stronger, happier and closer to Him. The least I can do is show Him that His faith has not been wasted.

In the process of all that is happening....I hope to stay pretty prolific with the blogging but I am even leaving that in His hands right now. When the timing is right there will be blogs! :) For now though, I am imagining myself a child on a swing, swinging high and feeling the wind in my hair and the heights excitedly taking my breath away. I don't have a care in the world because my Father who loves me has got this. All I have to do is trust in Him and relax. And you know what.....relaxing feels really good right about now!