I don’t want my kids to have an easy life.

Before you say I am a mean and cruel mother, let me clarify.  I do not wish hardships upon my children, nor do I wish problems to befall them.  What I want for them, however, is not to come by what they want too easily.  My sons are both working now and my daughter is anxious to start working as soon as she is able to.  I do not give them money for gasoline, food or activities.  I don’t feel guilty about this.  I believe this gives them the message that I have faith in their ability to provide for themselves.  Should an emergency arise, most definitely I will do what I can to help, but I do not intend to be the first option.  All three of my children know this and I have not reaped any repercussions from them for my attitude and actions.  I think it is perfectly fine for them to want things that they cannot currently afford.  The desire for things and events is an opportunity for my kids to learn how to obtain them.

Being made to forgo one thing in order to save for another teaches self-control and patience.

Self-control, openness, the ability to engage with others, to plan and to persist – these are the attributes that get people in the door and on the job, and lead to productive lives.  ~ James Heckman

I truly believe that taking time to evaluate what they REALLY want, making a plan for obtaining it and putting that plan in action will give them skills they will need to survive and excel in life.  Were I to just give them what they want and to require no effort on their part to get whatever that might be, the value of it would be greatly diminished BECAUSE they didn’t have to work for it. delayed gratification I have witnessed far too many instances of well-meaning parents that want to provide everything and every opportunity for their children and keep them from wanting for anything.  While there may be exceptions, for the most part these children learn that there will always be another ____ (fill in the blank), toy/outfit/car, so valuing and caring for the one they have is unnecessary.

Delaying gratification by making the choice to forego the $5.00 toy because he or she is saving for the $15.00 one is an excellent lesson for a child to learn at an early age.  A child is much less likely to leave a bike out in the elements where it may rust or be stolen if that child worked for an entire summer mowing lawns or doing other odd jobs to earn the money to buy that bicycle.

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When it’s not earned, it’s not appreciated as much.

If the child is given bicycle after bicycle because the child is irresponsible and leaves that bicycle unlocked and uncared for, the parent that continues to supply new bicycles is the one to find fault with, not the child.  The message this child receives is that the parent has no faith in the child’s ability to properly care for the bicycle or obtain another should it be lost, stolen or wrecked.

My kids know that should one of their prized possessions be broken, lost or stolen, I will empathize with them, but will not replace the item.  My response would be, “Oh, no.  That’s terrible! What are you going to do about it?” I trust that they are capable of caring for themselves and their possessions and should they, unfortunately, happen to lose or break one of their items will figure out a way to replace it or live without it.  I foresee a bright and happy life for each of my children.  They may not be wealthy or have the best of everything, but they will all have the satisfaction that comes from earning their way in life.

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Solitude – WP Daily Prompt

“Cultivate solitude and quiet and a few sincere friends rather than mob merriment, noise and thousands of nodding acquaintances.”  ~  William Powell

“The thoughtful soul to solitude retires.” ~ Omar Khayyam

“Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” ~  Paul Tillich

 

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Romeo enjoys the freshly cut grass too!

As an introvert, I cherish my solitude.  I dearly love my children and husband, but in order to be the best person for them, sometimes I need to spend a little time just for me. To me, solitude need not be found on a quiet mountaintop or in a beach chair listening to the sounds of the ocean.  I wouldn’t pass up those opportunities, but I can enjoy the solitude I find just listening to the steady drone of the lawn mower as I mow my lawn.  I can turn off my busy mind for a little while and just enjoy the smell of the freshly cut grass and the breeze on my face as I walk back and forth across the lawn.  I can slow down and allow myself to notice the new flowers blooming in my yard, the bunnies in the neighboring yard playfully hopping after one another and the freshly formed buds on my lilac bushes.

Yellow and White Iris

A beautiful iris waiting to be noticed

When I have taken time to enjoy my time alone and recharge my battery, I am ready to once again enjoy the noisier fun family activities to follow!

This post is in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt.  Check out the many other submissions at: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/solitude/

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A Girl Who Can Climb 219 Steps to the top of a lighthouse can do anything!

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The St. Augustine Lighthouse in St. Augustine, FL – 219 steps to the top!!

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A beautiful sunset captured from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse

I remember reading a book in which the author talked about having a “can do” attitude.  She stated that by taking risks and doing something she wasn’t sure she could, she was able to adopt the mantra, “A girl who can (insert amazing achievement), can do ANYTHING!”.  My amazing achievement was climbing the stairs to that lighthouse!  In fact, the following day I climbed the 203 steps to the top of the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Daytona Beach!

The Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Daytona Beach, Florida - 203 steps to the top!

The Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Daytona Beach, Florida – 203 steps to the top!

My goal in 2016 is to keep in mind that “A girl who can climb two lighthouses can do anything!!”  Here I come, 2016!!

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From Fat and Frumpy to Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Months (?)

You may wonder WHO the header of this post refers to.  Well, gentle reader, that would be ME.  After stepping on the scale a few weeks back, I have determined that I am going to get back to a better version of me.

Sure, I have plenty of excuses as to why the scale hasn’t budged (at least in the RIGHT direction) for the last few years.  Some of these include:

  1. I’m over 40 now and my metabolism has dropped to seemingly nothing.
  2. I’m on medications that can cause puffiness and weight gain.
  3. I do my elliptical or treadmill at least 3-4 days each week, so the extra weight is “muscle“.
BabyBeth

Ok, maybe I don’t want to go QUITE that far back in time, but I was definitely a LOT littler (and cuter) in this photo!😉

There may well be some truth to all of the above, but I’ve decided that despite my litany of reasons why I don’t see the little, smaller, cuter me looking back in the mirror, I am determined that I WILL someday see her again.🙂

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My plan is to see THIS me (albeit with a few more wrinkles, and no doubt a bit warmer outfit) looking back in the mirror by November of 2016!🙂

My wonderful hubby presented me with an early birthday gift, a FitBit Charge HR.  Don’t worry; he knew I had researched the various devices and really wanted to get the FitBit.  He is awesome and says he loves me no matter what, so it was not a push to get me to look better.❤  I want to do it for me so that I can be healthier, be around longer for my family and wear adorable outfits and even skinny jeans again.

I know I have a LONG journey ahead of me.  I like food too much to restrict my calories to nearly nothing, so based on limiting my calories by about 250/day, the MyFitnessPal app which I’m using to track food and exercise, tells me that I can reach my goal and be 30.2 lbs lighter by November of 2016.  YIKES!!!  I know, I know, waiting 15 months to see my fitness goals realized seems like a very long time.  I’m hoping that I can reach it before then, but I also know that I need to stick with a system that is easy and one in which I don’t restrict every food item that I have liked up to this point.  I’m going to try the same tactic with food as I have with my belongings.  If it does not or will not bring me joy, I will avoid it.  This leaves me room to have the pizza, steak, pasta or desserts that I love, but as a treat that I savor and not a dish that I devour.🙂

By posting this on my little blog, I am taking a step toward more accountability.  With the help of my new FitBit and my MapMyWalk, MyFitnessPal and FitBit apps and encouragement from my family, friends and all of you lovely readers, I hope to be able to be happier, healthier and smokin’ hot (haha) by the finale of my fifteen month foray!  🙂 I’ve managed to stick to my 8000 steps a day goal, even though I’m sometimes walking around my house or walking in place in my bedroom to complete it!😉

If it’s gonna be, it’s up to me!  (Words of wisdom from a former Weight Watchers Coach)  Wish me luck!

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

flowerbirds©

The beautiful photo of the two little birds encased in a frame custom-made by the artist! Such talent!

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My daughter loved this little kitty. I can’t remember what type of flower or grass the body is made from, but I remember it has rose petal leaves and collar.

When I saw this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, I first thought of the usual “inspirational” photos, sunrises, sunsets, beautiful nature photos. When I thought a bit more, I remembered something an incredibly talented artist said to my daughter and me as we were purchasing two of her magnificent creations at the recent Spearfish Art in the Park craft festival.  Her space at the festival was filled with incredible pictures created with dried plants, leaves and flowers that she had, with incredibly talented hands, made into pictures of animals, simple floral bookmarks and incredibly detailed landscapes. As we were purchasing our items, my daughter asked her how long it took her to make one of the photos.  The artist explained that it is a long process of selecting flowers, waiting for them to dry, creating the design and the frame and finally completing it.   She said if she actually kept track of the hours she spent, she would have to charge more than most would be willing to pay.  She explained to us that in many jobs, the workers are constantly watching the clock and wondering why the hours go by so slowly, while in her job she is so involved into creating and perfecting the designs that hours pass by very quickly. I commented to her that her work is wonderful and that in creating these masterpieces, she shares a little piece of herself with every person who purchases them.    If you are lucky enough to see Michelle Barnhart as a vendor at a craft festival, plan to spend a bit of time at her booth admiring the beautiful work she does!!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Up Close

Blue crawfish©

I love the color of this crawfish. Such a beautiful blue!

jellyfish©

I am always fascinated by jellyfish!

RaysCloseup©

I think stingrays are some of the most beautiful creatures!

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We delighted in being up close and personal with these cute parakeets!

I’m sliding in right at the end with an entry for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.  This week’s theme is “Up Close”.  I’m submitting some photos that I took when our family visited the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans during our family trip in June.  I love seeing the details of some of these fascinating animals!

Take a little time and check out the many beautiful and creative entries to the challenge by clicking the link above🙂

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Can “tidying up” REALLY change your life?????

After reading countless reviews praising “the life-changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing” by Marie Kondo, I found my curiosity aroused to the point where I HAD to read this book.  On our recent anniversary trip to Denver, my husband and I visited the Tattered Cover bookstore (AMAZING, by the way), and lo and behold, there was this magical book on the display stand with other books hand-picked by employees at the bookstore.  It had a handwritten note underneath saying it was as good as the hype, so I took a leap and bought the book.  IMG_0437

Four weeks later, I have not yet finished the book, but I HAVE made huge leaps in decluttering.  Kondo’s writing style is conversational, and reading this book is like talking with a friend.  She gives recommendations in such a pleasant and helpful manner, I found it difficult to argue with her logic.  Her advice is to begin with the things that we have the least emotional attachment to and to move on to those with the most.  Using that logic, she recommends starting with clothing.  Keep only that which brings you joy, Kondo says and I love that advice!  In order to do that, she says I must gather EVERY item of clothing that I own, which means cleaning out all my closets and drawers.  When I first read that, I admit, I was about ready to dismiss the book outright, but when I thought more about it, it made complete and total sense to me.

It took me a few days to get myself prepared to actually start the process, but a few evenings after starting the book, I decided to give it a try. I took every item of clothing out of my closet. Quite a pile formed on my bed, but I knew I had more to go.  I then emptied the two storage totes with my “winter items” of clothing. Next, I moved on to my dresser.  Many of the items in there had not seen the light of day in years. Out it all came! There was a method to my madness. I piled it high on the bed so that I had no choice but to sort through the items before I could get another restful night’s sleep😉 Here’s what I was left to tackle:

My MASSIVE mountain of clothes!

My MASSIVE mountain of clothes!

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Not QUITE as massive…..making major progress!

Scary, right???!!! I did as Kondo suggested and held every piece of clothing and as I did so, thought about whether it brought joy to me. Some items had at one point brought me joy, but hadn’t been worn in years; some I had purchased or had been given to me as gifts, but weren’t my style, didn’t fit comfortably and were inevitibly returned to the closet when I tried them on because they honestly did not make me happy with how I looked. They had made their way in and out of my closet, but had never been discarded because I felt as if I shouldn’t get rid of them since I had spent so much money on them or received them as gifts.  She has wonderful words of wisdom about these items. They served their purpose and brought me joy when I bought or received them. In doing this, these items have done their job and can now be released to bring joy to someone else. It’s so much easier to let go of anything by looking at it this way. I turned up my tunes, and with a little help from my daughter, whittled down the massive mountain! I thanked the clothes for bringing joy to me and talked to them as I either hung them gently back in my closet, placed them lovingly in my dresser or folded them and placed them appreciatively in the bags that would go on to others who could use them.

Oh my gosh, I DID it!  There really WAS a bed underneath all of that!

Oh my gosh, I DID it! There really WAS a bed underneath all of that!

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WOW! Five bags full of clothing ready to go on to new homes and bring joy to new people!

While I can’t say that tidying up changed my life, exactly, I will say that I feel a lot better when I step into my closet now. I really love every item inside and find choosing something to wear in the mornings a much easier task than it previously was! Some of the clothes were shared with my daughter, some with my coworkers, some with my sister and my nieces. In each case, I really did discover that there truly is joy in giving and knowing that clothing relegated to the back of the dresser or closet will go on to be something new and fun for someone else.

My closet filled with items of clothing that bring me joy! :)

My closet filled with items of clothing that bring me joy!🙂

If you find that, like me, you sometimes look around your house and think that it’s time to simplify, I think you will love this book!  I recommend it highly!

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