Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's Never Enough

I believe we are becoming a society that is increasingly disappointed and unfullfilled. And I believe that these feelings are self inflicted. It seems that we expect more and more for ourselves as well as from others, then when we don't get what we expect we are disappointed, even angry.

I've had a theory about this for a long time now. I call it "The Script". Often we have it written in our minds. It's a beautiful script. It's what we envision everyone around us, including ourselves, to say and do in a particular situation. There is one catch one has a copy of the script but us. Therefore, when others don't know their lines, we become very frustrated.

Some of us have very high expectations. And as time goes by, we want more and more from people, particularly people on whom we are codependent. And when these people don't live up to our high expectations, we become hurt and even angry with them for not knowing their lines!

It's sad really. We can't be happy with what we acheive, or what we are given, because in our complicated minds, we always expect more. It's hard to let go of those high expectations, but if we can find a way to do that, we will find ourselves satisfied with ourselves, and content with what we receive from others.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wanna Walk With Me?

After Linda's stroke, and the neighborhood fire, I felt exhausted. I went to bed early that night. I got up early the next morning and got the kids off to school. This happened to be an "off" day for me, and I had scheduled a day full of errands. I knew I'd be running around until time to pick up the kids late in the afternoon. But something strange happened to me during the course of my busy day. I kept getting text message updates from Linda's daughter. I realized my friend was not only paralyzed, unable to eat, and barely able to see or speak, but with blood clots still remaining in her brain, and a dissected carotid artery, Linda was also in a fight for her very life.

As I pulled back into the neighborhood, I drove past the burned house. Charred roofing, siding, and various belongings sat in a dirty black heap in the front yard. A blue tarp was making an attempt to keep the winter weather out of the upstairs bedrooms. A window was boarded up. Everything was empty and deserted. A far cry from the usual buzz of activity that normally surrounded this very busy house.

At that moment, something very strange came over me. Not sadness or anger, but a strong, strong feeling of gratitude. Thankfulness for the blessings I have; for my beautiful, healthy children, for my warm comfortable home, for my family and friends.

When I got into the house I sat quietly for a long while and prayed. I thanked God for everything He has given me, and I asked for blessings on the displaced neighbors and my dear Linda.

That was 8 days ago. The neighbors are split up and living with assorted family members, but they are all safe. I'm happy to report Linda appears to be doing well, and may be moving to rehab very soon. She will have at least a year's worth of physical therapy to look forward to, but even though her life will be forever changed, she has a very good chance of being able to walk again, and live an independent life. She may even be able to come back to work one day.

As for me....I believe something crossed over in me that day. I am signing up to walk in my first 5k, later in February. I want to take care of the healthy body I have. I will walk in honor of Linda, who cannot walk right now. I am inviting everyone I know to join me. Do it for yourself, and for the people you are thankful for.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Get To Know Your Food

We all know what's in a taco, right? Lettuce, tomato, cheese, and beef......right? Well, if you get your taco at Taco Bell, that may not be entirely correct.

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Jan. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C. has filed a consumer rights class action lawsuit against Taco Bell Corporation. The lawsuit challenges Taco Bell's practice of representing to consumers that its restaurants serve "seasoned ground beef" or "seasoned beef" filling in its products, when in fact a substantial amount of the filling contains substances other than beef. The lawsuit seeks to require Taco Bell to properly advertise and label food items, and to engage in a corrective advertising campaign to educate the public about the true content of its food products.

According to standards established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the meat filling in Taco Bell's products does not meet the minimum standard requirement to be labeled and advertised as "beef," seasoned or otherwise. The substantial majority of the filling is comprised of substances other than beef, and is required to be labeled and advertised as "taco meat filing." Taco meat filling includes ingredients added to increase the volume of the product, such as binders and extenders like "isolated oat product."

"Our government, through the USDA and FDA, provides definitions, standards and labeling guidelines for 'ground beef.' What Taco Bell is representing on their restaurant menu as 'ground beef' does not meet any of those definitions, standards and labeling guidelines," explains Beasley Allen attorney Dee Miles. "This product does not qualify to be considered 'ground beef' and many of the 'seasoning' ingredients are in fact binders, fillers and coloring. These ingredients increase the overall volume of this product, reducing the actual 'beef' content per serving. It is against the law in this country to take someone's money for a product that is misrepresented. This lawsuit seeks to put a stop to that type of conduct and practice," he says.

One report I read said there is so little actual beef in one of these tacos, it could almost be considered vegan. Yet we all pile in to the drive thru to get them--why is that? Say it with me....because it's Cheap and Convenient. And they taste pretty good. Best of all, we don't even have to get our ass out of our car to get them!

Unfortunately, the lawsuit isn't challenging Taco Bell to change it's ingredients, merely to be truthful in advertising them. I'm sure there's nothing dangerous in the "taco meat filling" or the "seasoning", but wouldn't it be nice if we could just buy a taco with real ground beef and spices? Get to know your food, folks.

Friday, January 21, 2011

An Awakening

I'm searching for the right word here, and I think I have it. This week was very "enlightening" for me.

Monday morning I was still wiping the cobwebs from my eyes when I got a call saying one of my employees was being taken to the hospital by ambulance. She had collapsed in her bedroom while dressing for work. She was unable to move the left side of her body and her speech was slurred. Of course she was having a stroke. As with all the women who work at my small office, Linda is more than just a coworker. She's a good friend to me. Often a trip to my office to ask a question or drop off a paper, will result in deep conversation, and sometimes a hug. Linda is a kind, caring woman, and the picture of health. No one saw this coming.

As I was trying to wrap my head around this tragedy, I received a text message from my neighbor, telling me there was a house on fire down the street from us. As I began to put the pieces together, I realized this was the home of a boy who sometimes spends time with my son. Terror came over me as I realized three children live in that home and they were probably all home alone since school was closed for the MLK holiday. Another neighbor then telephoned me to say she'd heard someone was taken out of the home and appeared to be deceased. All I could think of was that the children may have all still been sleeping and never smelled the smoke. Luckilly I was wrong. The fire was started when their father was cooking, and everyone made it out of the house safely. The house sustained significant damage however, and I expect the family will be displaced for months.

By Monday night, life seemed very fragile to me, and overwhelmed by so much tragedy in one day, I retreated and went to bed early. When I woke on Tuesday, I somehow felt "different". I felt so thankful to God that my family was safe and healthy. I felt thankful that no one was injured or killed in the fire. I felt great sadness for Linda, who's life will be forever changed. I felt for her daughter, who is holding everything together right now. I know all too well what it's like to watch your mother suffer a life changing illness.

This was somewhat of a spiritual awakening for me. The significance of that will be material for the next post or two.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lose Your Quit

I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better now that the holidays are behind me, and I'm back on track with eating. In fact, I lost 4lbs this week! I can tell I'm back "in the zone" because yesterday at the hairdresser's, someone brought in Burger King and my hair dresser made the comment "No one asked if I wanted any!". Instead of thinking "Oooooh, a Whopper sounds goooood", I said "They did you a favor! You don't need that crap food!". Then I knew it was on.

By now you know that my favorite television show is "The Biggest Loser", and my favorite contestant from the show is Danny Cahill, Season 8 winner. I had the pleasure of meeting Danny back in the fall, and had my picture taken with him. Danny's motto is "Lose Your Quit". You know what it means--start your diet on Monday, lose it somewhere around mid-week, then vow to start over again the following Monday. At some point in this cycle, your brain keeps telling you to quit.

Danny is living proof that breaking the quitting cycle will get results. He lost 239lbs to be the Biggest Loser and has kept it off.

The photo in this post was taken the night Sara and I saw Danny speak at her church. That night, Sara bought us both bracelets that read "Lose Your Quit". I'm putting my band on today as a reminder that I need to keep moving forward.

If there's a goal in your life that you keep quitting on, you may want to think about Losing Your Quit too!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Follow Up

Just a follow up to the previous entry. Last night I was driving home from work and it happened. I heard the chime. I'd just received a text. Immediately, I thought of my vow not to text and drive. I wondered if it was one of my family members, needing me to pick up something on the way home? I wondered if it was a friend in need? It took everything I had in me to wait until I got to the red light to look down and see who the text was from (red light texting has been my angle all along). It was one of my employees. I glanced up and saw the light was still red. Should I read it? I did. The employee was asking a simple question that required a yes or no answer. Should I go for it at the light???? I decided not to. I knew I would be at my destination in about 15 minutes, and knew this answer could wait a minute. When I pulled safely into my parking space, I answered the text.

I'm being brutally candid here. Most people know it's politically correct to say they don't text and drive, but we know we do it anyway. I'm just being honest about it.

Why have we become so obsessed with staying connected 24/7? Why do we feel this need to be "available" at all times? I can see this is a habit that is going to take awhile to break.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's The Law

My 13 year old son texts more than he talks. In my nightmares I dream about him having a driver's license in three years. I see him out on the road just texting away behind the wheel, and it terrifies me.

We've all heard the statistics, time and time again. We know how dangerous it is to text and drive. It's just as dangerous to dial the phone while driving. Anything that takes our eyes off the road, even for a second, dramatically increases our chances of being in an accident. But we all do it anyway, don't we? We preach and preach about the dangers, but we still do it anyway.

This week, a new law went in to affect that bans texting and driving in my town. I wonder if it will do any good? After all, we have laws requiring the use of seat belts, yet you can glance over at any red light in town and you'll find plenty of people, and their young children, riding around beltless.

We've become a society that wants instant gratification, and wants to be connected at all times. We can not, and will not wait until we've arrived at our destination to make a phone call. Sometimes I call people on the ride home from work just because I'm bored.

But I'm proud to say I have not sent a text message from behind the wheel all week. Not even while sitting at a red light (it doesn't count if you're sitting still, right?). I'm not stopping because it's the new law; I'm stopping because it's foolish. And I'm cutting down on phone calls while driving too. So if you call me and I don't answer....dont' get mad; leave a message. I'll call you when I get home.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


One of the greatest Christmas gifts I received this year was a book, given to me by Miss Pamela. I have a feeling the book will give me plenty of Detach material for the coming year. The more I think about what I read, the more interesting it becomes to me.

The thought I read about today was about layers. Well, sort of.

We are born with a pure soul. An inner peace. As we grow, layers and layers of worries and problems pile up on top of our soul. Resentment, anger, greed, shame, bitterness, guilt, and regret build up one layer after another until our soul becomes buried. When this happens, we become disconnected from our soul—disconnected from God.

Only when we figure out how to dig through the layers and return to that pure place deep within us, will we find ourselves again. Only then we will truly reconnect with God and our true selves.

Maybe life on this earth is one big test to see if we can figure out how to be happy before we die. To see if we can figure out how to dig through the layers and get back to that true spot from which we came.

It's 9:00. Do you know where your soul is?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lessons Of The Housewife

I am happy to report that I am feeling better today. I got some stuff out yesterday. Also, the Christmas tree is down and the house is getting back to normal. Crazy as it sounds, I think that helped as much as anything.

So remember the book I was reading? The one that talks about exhausted working women turning sleep into the new sex? Well, now the book has raised another interesting topic; how the "housewife" evolved into the "stay-at-home mom".

The idea is that when we were youth, the world revolved around the grown ups, and what they needed to accomplish during the course of a day. Parents purchased homes near playgrounds so their children could be entertained and out of the house while mother cooked and got everything ready for father to come home. The term "Soccer Mom" didn't even exist in June Cleaver's day. Now, the world seems to revolve around our kids. We feel an obligation to stimulate them non-stop with multiple sports, music lessons, and other activities. Birthday parties have become social events, costing hundreds of dollars, and family vacations are centered around entertaining the children more so than the parents.

Is this the fault of the children? Of course not. I think many of us grew up feeling like one day we'd give our kids all the things our parents could not or would not give us. Many baby boomers were starved for some attention from their parents. Now we want to compensate. Have we gone overboard with it? I think so. I have one friend (a working mom) who's kids are in so many activities, there are often multiple games and practices in one day. Almost every single post this friend puts on Facebook is an exhausting list of the tasks she must happily perform for the children, or how successful these kids are. Never a post about what she's thinking, feeling, or doing; only the triumphs of the children. The end of each post always reads "I love it!".

Kids are the future of our country and ultimately, of the human race. It's important to love and educate them, and make them the best young adults they can be. But I think we need to be careful not to lose ourselves along the way. Whether we are liberated, busy working mothers or liberated, busy stay-at-home mom's, we shouldn't completely lose the lessons of the housewife.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Well, it's a new year. A fresh "do-over" for us all. I have to say I don't feel any different right now. In fact, I just wiped a big wet tear from the corner of my right eye. But I'm going to get cleaned up and get myself out. I'm headed to the market for healthy foods. I may even use the Christmas money I got to go buy myself a couple of new things. I'm going to pray while I'm out, and try to get myself back to a better place.

To you my readers, I wish all the best. Thank you for supporting me through thick and thin. When I'm up, you read my blog to inspire you. When I'm down, your support and powerful words motivate me. That's what it's all about, right?