Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The 3rd Party is Relevant!

From an unknown Libertarian web source:

The Libertarian party is made up of many factions, not unlike any other political party or group of people. Not every one agrees on each and every principle or theory, but most Libertarians will agree on about 95% of the issues. A good example of a divide is in religion. Some Libertarians are atheist, most are Christians and I am sure there are a few that have alternative beliefs.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #1 - Freedom Of Religion Libertarians believe in following the United States Constitution and the Constitution clearly gives us the freedom to practice our religion or lack of it as we see fit. It is all about personal freedom, not forcing everyone else to our will.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #2 - Expansion of Personal and Civil Liberties Libertarians believe that we should repeal all laws that presume the government knows how to run your life better than you do. People should be free to make and learn from their own decisions.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #3 - Freedom of Speech And Communication The government does not have the right to regulate our speech or communications. Whether we are making a speech, communicating via the internet, TV, radio or any other means, the government has no right to regulate it in any way.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #4 - Return to Individual Property Rights The government has no right to regulate or control how an individual or business entity uses the land it owns. All public lands, except as allowed by the Constitution should be returned to private ownership and the money raised from the sale used to pay off the national debt. Individuals would have the right to homestead unused land.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #5 - The Right To Privacy Libertarians support the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment. The government tracks us by many means including our social security number. The social security card or any other government issued card, should no longer be used for identification purposes. This has lead to identity theft and an invasion of our right to privacy. Libertarians also oppose road blocks that stop vehicles without probable cause.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #6 - The Right To Keep And Bear Arms An armed citizenry is essential to a free society. All gun control laws should be repealed and the Bureau of Alcohol , Tobacco and Firearms closed down.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #7 - Reproductive Rights Libertarian recognize that abortion is a sensitive issue. The government should not be involved in the issue either in support or against it. Libertarians support an end to all government subsidies for childbearing or child prevention.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #8 - Government Debt Libertarians support a "Balanced Budget Amendment" that would only allow the federal government to spend as much as it took in the previous year, with the goal of eliminating the national debt. Libertarians would eliminate pork barrel spending and eliminate political corruption. Congress would sell off non-essential assets to pay off the national debt.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #9 - Corporate Welfare, Monopolies and Subsidies All government granted subsidies and monopolies would end and the United States would return to a free market capitalist society as originally intended by our founders. Repeal all anti-trust laws. The government should no longer give guaranteed corporate loans.

Reason To Join The Libertarian Movement #10 - End The War On Drugs The war on drugs causes more harm than good. Thousands die trying to smuggle drugs into our country and in gang fights over drugs every year. If an individual wants to use a drug, that is his or her individual right. By eliminating the war on drugs, we will cut the budgets of law enforcement and save billions every year on imprisoning those involved in the drug trade. Since drugs would be legal and could be purchased in a local store, gangs would have no ability to capitalize on the trade or need to kill each other over it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello, Lovelies!

Yes, I have been away for a while. Yes, it was intentional. I have been working on a book (actually, a trilogy series, but still working on part one), and I felt that blogging or reading (at least anything in the epic fiction category, non-fiction is fine), would distract from my drive and purpose. Let us not forget that I also have two young children to take care of and my husband travels for work. A LOT.

Anywho, what better way to dust off the blog than by posting about an amazing giveaway? Two words: Shabby Apple. If you haven't heard of this company, then it's time you learned something new! The clothes are edgy, unique, vintage, AND adorable. Take a look through their selection and you will see why I tend to drool over some (if not most) of their clothing lines.

Now that you've taken a look through their amazing collection, feast your eyes upon this AMAZING giveaway!

"Can you think of anything better than 12 free dresses? We can't either. Go directly to the blog, we don't think you will regret it!"

It's just so easy to receive your entries for this giveaway!

Love it??? So do I!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why I work out

If you exercise for more than a couple of weeks, you begin to realize that "losing weight" is not the only reason you get up off of your butt and move it around a bit. I can admit that, while I have physical goals when I start a particular program, I work out to escape. I escape from stress, anxiety, frustration, and boredom. I escape from that diseased feeling I get when I lay around all day with my husband and kids on a Saturday. I escape from the dulled sensation from a lack of stimulation.

All basic knowledge of the physical benefits of exercise aside, it really is great to have an escape. An easily accesible escape that you can rely on at any moment in time to help you reconnect with yourself. Oh sure, I love sushi, chocolate, and basking in the sunlight... but those feelings are temporary compared to the longer positive effect of exercise.

Some people like to work out in groups, and others prefer to work out alone. I relish the thought of working out alone. It is my time to unload, unwind, recharge, cleanse negative energy, and push myself a little past my limits each time. Plus, I find great entertainment in kicking the pavement's butt. I really enjoy showing the treadmill who's boss. I love putting the fear of God into those free-weights. I like telling those 10 sets of Burpees that they are chumps. The only person I compete with is myself, and I LOVE it. Then afterwards I can tell myself I did a good job and give myself a giant hug by doing a little stretching or yoga.

But also, I work out because I just ate those dang Girl Scout cookies, or I really enjoyed that extra serving of spaghetti last night, or a really awesome Sister from church just brought me a treat and I devoured it in .5 seconds. I used to tell my spin class that I worked out so I could eat cookies, and that is half of the truth!

Most of the time I am a beast with my workouts, but sometimes they really badly kick my butt. I shake hands and say "that's okay, I'll get you good next time". I go ice my knees, take a long shower, and add a little peanut butter to my protein shake to "make my booboos better". I win far more than the exercise leperchaun does, and I deserve a medal for that!

Lastly, and probably mostly, I work out to get the crazy out of me. Kicking the pavement's butt or shadow boxing yourself into a panting mess is better than giving in to the temptation to verbally punch someone in the face, any day. My list of priorities always include spiritually uplifting things (think prayer, study, church attendance, good deeds), but my very own personal piece of the equation that is absolutely necessary to get the best answer is DESTROYING MY WORKOUT.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Old friend, this one's for you

When we think of relationships and regret, we often think of romantic relationships or maybe even strained family relationships. Friendships often take a backseat when heartache is mentioned in conversation. It’s true, there are friends for all seasons of our lives, and a single friend can change a person’s bleakest outlook on existence. I have some absolutely amazing friends that I love, adore, and cherish. There is the one I have known since middle school and shared all of my joys and sorrows with (I adore her and wish we lived closer together so I could see her every week), the ones I keep in contact with from school that always make me smile, the church friends I have accumulated over the years that are always so wonderful and full of light, the one who comes to my house and talks with me for hours while our kids play, the women who come out for Girls Night to laugh and share life experiences, the ones that have been brave enough to reconnect after years of “being busy building our lives”, and, of course, the amazing friend I married and adore with all of my soul… but what about the one that got away? No, not an ex-boyfriend. They all pale in comparison to Bryan’s, well, everything about him. I’m talking about the amazing friend that slipped away. Friends come and go, drift apart, and then come back together. This blog is dedicated to the one that slipped away and never returned.

She was (and still is) an amazing person, full of personality and color. She took a chance on a troubled teenager (that would be me) who was on a path to disappointment. She had such a welcoming personality, and it drew me in. She was a very free-spirited person who saw the world through glasses of a different hue. She became an anchor in my chaotic life… and she introduced me to the LDS church. Her tastes in clothing, music, and entertainment were unique, and many of them mirrored or complimented my tastes. She wrote me cute notes with quips and pet-names that turned into our own little treasured inside jokes. She made me delicious lunches, and I attempted to return the favor, though I couldn’t beat her vermicelli. She listened to me on the phone and invited me to her house simply because she wanted to hang out with me. We spent our high school years dorking up the courtyard and enjoying our group of mutual friends. She had wonderful talents, and I am sad to say I never admitted to her that I had some jealousy for her confidence and her talents, and that they sometimes intimidated me. It stood in the way of allowing our friendship to grow deeper. I was worried about throwing off the dynamic of the best friendship I had ever had. Don’t rock the boat, right? I loved her, cherished her, appreciated her, and admired her. I just didn’t know how to show it.

Changes in my life (mostly about my spiritual understanding and my craving for a smoother spiritual foundation) created distance between us. I wanted to share my changing understanding with her, but again… I didn’t know how to do it. I hated feeling vulnerable and putting myself out in the open at the risk of being injured. I also feared the shift of view would change the cherished dynamic of our friendship, so I did the foolish thing and ignored addressing the changes. A couple of events vastly shifted the dynamic of our friendship, and she slipped away. A lot of it was my fault. My fear of being let down and my insecurities kept me from sharing with her how I truly felt. My concern about having a fight with a dear friend created a chasm between us. After the friendship dissolved, I kept my life busy with my newfound spiritual understanding, the entrance of a friend who would become a love interest - then fiancĂ© - then husband, and the creation and birth of my first child. These things shaped my life and gave me light and purpose, but when I thought of her… I missed her. I missed everything about her. Who wouldn’t? She was wonderful. It took a lot of my husband’s influence and the influence of the gospel in my life to finally knock those walls of defense down, and I finally felt safe sharing my vulnerability with others.

So this one is for you, friend that got away. My heart is full of special, safe places for all of the people that have touched my life for good. One of those places will always be filled with memories of you. You are wonderful, you are beautiful, and you are loved.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Enrichment/Relaxation Challenge Winners

I haven't posted about the winners for week 5, so I will include them in this list below about the winners for all weeks:

Week One: Sewing/Hot bath with bath oil
Week Two: Hand-washing clothes/Ashiatsu massage
Week Three: Homemade yogurt/Nap
Week Four: Candle-making/Car ride
Week Five: Knitting/Music

Now I have to pick winners in each category for the whole challenge! It has been really hard to choose which ones I liked the most, because they were all wonderful in their own ways. I guess I will have to pick runners-up to make it easier on myself. :-) Here it goes!

Relaxation Winner: ASHIATSU MASSAGE (Grace wins! She is wonderful)
Enrichment Winner: CANDLE-MAKING (it really is so much fun)

First Runner-Up Relaxation: Car ride
First Runner-Up Enrichment: Hand-washing clothes

Second Runner-Up Relaxation: Nap
Second Runner-Up Enrichment: Sewing (although knitting could have tied with sewing)

I must confess that I have done the majority of these things before, with the exception of knitting. I learned how to knit with looms and it is something nice to do while sitting or waiting. It was also my first time making a garden box, but not my first time creating a garden bed or doing basic carpentry. The craft projects were new, but not the first time I have done projects in those categories. Some of the relaxation activities were new to me (HPT and Ashiatsu massage), and I really enjoyed them. I hope to start another challenge soon, because finishing this one made me feel very fulfilled and accomplished. :-)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 Day Challenge - Week 5

I have been slacking and putting off writing the post for this week. I got all of these done in a reasonable amount of time, but then school started for Grace last week. I spent the whole week cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, and getting Andy settled back in before preschool starts.

First I need to pick winners for week 4. I must confess that I really enjoy driving Bryan's car alone, with the music playing and the windows down. Car ride won for relaxation for week 4. As for enrichment, I have always loved making candles. Watching the wax melt, adding the scent, pouring it and watching it harden and set. Then, of course, lighting it afterwards and letting the aroma fill the room. Candle-making wins for enrichment for week 4. On to week 5, which is also the last week of my relaxation/enrichment challenge. :-)

Day Twenty-Seven:
Relaxation - Music
Enrichment - Knitting

Listening to music is a great way to shift your mood. I listened to some jazz, blues, and a little classical while I straightened up the house. Singing along always makes it more fun! Knitting turned out to be so much fun, and I got a little obsessive with it right away. But I didn't use knitting needles, I opted for looms. You can say that's not "real knitting", but I say if there is an easier way to be self-reliant, that is the smarter way! Besides, my fingers lock up when I use them too much, so needles would have been a painful and long experience. I knitted 3 hats... one for Andy, one for Grace, and one for me. Bryan doesn't want one and Andy doesn't want a picture of his until I put a car on it. :-)

Day Twenty-Eight:
Relaxation - Sunset
Enrichment - Garden Prep

Watching the sun set is always a peaceful way to end the day. It is a reminder that the planet on which we reside is a beautiful place, carefully crafted to keep all upon it alive.... and bless us with amazing sights along the way. We can see the sun setting nicely from our front porch, across the field of the elementary school. The rays usually shoot up right before the sun disappears behind the horizon, then the hues of rose and gold slowly turn to gray, then slowly darker until night sets in. Seeing the sun set tends to remind me of all that I can be thankful for, so I keep a song of praise in my heart as I watch the day turn to night. Garden prep..... it's HOT. Even in the morning. Thankfully my herb bed has a plastic weed-blocker that was put in by the previous owners. I managed to get all of the old dirt and grass-grown areas up with relative ease. But I have not bagged any of it yet, because it is HOT. I plan on doing that later this week. The ground is ready, all I have to do now is put down a new weed-blocker (I got a 10-year roll from Home Depot), lay down the fresh dirt and compost, and plant away.

Day Twenty-Nine:
Relaxation - Evening Walk
Enrichment - Garden Box

The evening walk was relaxing for all of 10 minutes. Then I was a hot, sweaty, sticky mess. The relaxing part of evening walks will have to wait until Fall sets in. Making the garden box was a fulfilling experience. Bryan recently bought a cordless drill, and I used it to make holes in lumber I purchased from the discount rack at Home Depot. Leftovers from previously cut wood can be bought for as little as $.50 each. I spent $2.00 on wood for my garden box! I lined up the wood with the holes and screwed long woods screws in to secure the pieces to make a square shape. Then I nailed weed-blocker to what is the bottom of the box, placed it in the backyard, and filled with dirt. This box will probably be used for lettuce and spinach for the Fall/Winter garden. *note to self - buy a staple gun!

Day Thirty:
Relaxation - HPT
Enrichment - Jelly

My friend Belin is a certified HPT Energy Healer. This is an alternative treatment method that involves applying pressure to points across your face and over your heart to align energy. The focus of the session was relaxation, and the outcome was just that. I tried to upload it as video and as a URL link, but both gave me an error that they could not be posted. It might be time to set my blog up elsewhere, this happens anytime I try to post video or URL links. Dah! Oh well. I will try to figure out later and see if I can repost it. Thank you to Belin for doing the session. You are a wonderful person with a heart of gold.
The enrichmnet was originally going to be jam, but I changed my mind at the last minute. I already have a large jar of blueberry jam that I haven't opened yet, so jelly was a better option. I opted to make grape jelly, and ended up with 4 pint-sized jars of delicious grape jelly. I have a water bath canner, and it really is easy to make jams and jellies that will stay preserved for a long time.

That is it! I finished another challenge! I will pick winners for the whole challenge later this week and post another blog about it. This challenge has helped me reconnect with myself in so many ways. I feel more relaxed, more creative, more assured of my strengths and talents, confident that I can learn more and do well with it, and thankful for all of the gifts Heavenly Father has given me to use to help my family and others.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 Day Challenge - Week 4

Week three winners have to be picked before I can blog about my most recent projects. For relaxation, nap wins! When would a nap ever lose???? NEVER. :-)
For enrichment, I had to choose between making yogurt and the "fishing for compliments" chart. The chart was a fantastic idea! It has given my kids wonderful incentive to be on their best behavior in public. But the yogurt was really, really YUMMY, and yummy wins! Enrichment winner for week three is delicious homemade yogurt!

On to week 4, woohoo!

Day Twenty-One:
Relaxation - Swim
Enrichment - Scarves

Swimming would normally not be a relaxing activity for me. Last summer it was stressful and a major chore, since Grace was still gaining water confidence and Andrew couldn't swim. But this year has been wonderful, especially after Andrew learned how to take breaths when he is swimming. It was nice to see friends a the pool and not have to feel like each child needed an eye on them at all times.
The scarves were a fun project! I saw some rosette scarves and looped scarves in Old Navy's Fall line that I liked, so I took the idea and updated some of my scarves from last year. Instead of rosettes I simply chose a layered petal look, and the loop scarf was as simple as taking a regular light-weight scarf and sewing the ends together to make a long loop, then doubling in over when I put it on. Voila!

Day Twenty-Two:
Relaxation - Car Ride
Enrichment - Baking

I changed the relaxation for this day from pilates to a car ride, because, well, I needed a little alone time..... in Bryan's Challenger.... with the windows down.... and the sun roof open..... and the acoustic station playing..... it was NICE! I love the area down Clay Road between Katy and Brookshire where it goes back down to one lane.... thee are trees and land to look at, not cookie-cutter suburban houses!! :-)
Baking was fun, and I got to share it with some children I was watching. Dark chocolate M&M cookies..... they were really GOOOOOOOOOD. The whole house smelled delish all day, and you can't beat that!

Day Twenty-Three:
Relaxation - Facial
Enrichment - Body Spray

I went to visit a friend for a free facial, and it was a nice experience. She sells Mary Kay, and I figured it would be a win-win to go see her, get a little pampering, and help her out. The TimeWise products are nice, and the powder foundation made my skin feel soft and smooth. If you are interested in getting with her to ask a question or take advantage of the free facial (it ends August 31st!) here is her website:

My enrichment was something I have been needing to do for a while. I love jasmine essentail oil, and I misplaced mine several months ago. So I drove down to Boutique Botanica in Old Town Katy and grabbed some more. To make it last a while, I just added it to some warm distilled water in a spray container. It smells so luxurious! :-)

Day Twenty-Four:
Relaxation - Aroma Shower
Enrichment - Home Improvement

I needed the aroma shower on this day, I was sweaty and stinky from working on my enrichment project! I sprayed the shower down with a pre-mixed cinnamon and clove spray, and it was the perfect blend to soothe and make it a relaxing experience.
My home improvement project was a lot of fun, and I felt really accomplished afterwards. The cabinets in our kitchen and bathrooms are these ugly dark oak veneer shells with white doors and drawers.... it's AWFUL. So I decided to paint the cabinets an espresso color for uniformity and a smooth final look. I decided to test it on the kids' bathroom vanity with a spray-paint form. The spray-paint form makes the job go quicker, but the cleanup afterwards is more laborious (spray-paint dust, anyone??). I like the final look. I may need to sand down the doors lightly and apply one more coat, but it looks really nice right now, too.

Day Twenty-Five:
Relaxation - Hair Brushing
Enrichment - Candle Making

I loved getting my hair brushed or getting my head rubbed when I was a little girl. I would go to my mom and ask her to do either, and she would lovingly oblige. I decided to add it to my list because Grace enjoys brushing my hair and giving me makeovers. It was a nice mother/daughter experience.
This enrichment activity was something I have been looking forward to doing since I started the challenge. I have always enjoyed making candles. There is something soothing about watching the wax melt and then pouring it into a container to watch it firm and take shape. The end result is a beautiful candle, dyed and scented to your preference. Mine is a cinnamon scented mulberry color jar candle.

Day Twenty-Six:
Relaxation - Power Nap
Enrichment - Butter

The power nap is often looked at as the scrawny cousin of the full-blown nap. But I beg to differ! A power nap (30 minutes or less) can really boost your energy levels, if done at the right time, in the right place. Mine was done at 3pm on the living room couch. The trick is to intentionally clear your mind of clutter, close your eyes, and relax your whole body. Set a timer, that way if your power nap turns into dozing you will not have a chance to transition to REM. Hitting REM and then waking shortly after is what gives the "groggy" feeling, as the body has to take longer to adjust from deep sleep to a waking state.
My enrichment was making butter. I have been doing it for a few months already, but I made more than usual this time, so I could skip a week or so. :-)

The left is butter, right is buttermilk

The next post will be the last (4 days left), and then I will choose a winner for each category. I thought it would be easy to choose a winner at first, but now I am conflicted. I have really enjoyed doing several of these activities, so I might need to do a runner-up category!