Thursday, September 18, 2014
In August when I was losing my mind, the Lord sent me something significant between the two of us; a Luna Moth. I blogged about it, and totally unexpectedly, it became a Most Popular Blog. My first ever, I think, here on SP.
I am in an emotional hole due to long term unemployment desert, and due to my current "un-job" I'm about to take. I haven't even stepped in the door yet, and had major, and multiple, issues with online training. Only a nuclear bomb could help their pitiful excuse for a website.
A week or two ago I had taken the floor mat out of my car and rested it on the windshield, to air out overnight after a quick rinse that really wasn't good enough. (Some fruit had squished on it and it still smelled fruity.) That Thursday morning when I woke up I unexpectedly saw beautiful blue, moving color outside the windshield on the mat, and immediately recognized it as one of the butterflies from my youth, one I grew up with.
I also saw two different kinds of smaller yellow butterflies, not near my car but in the same vicinity about 20 minutes later, flying by:
They really cheered me up. But especially the blue one, because it was so big and so close.
I am not sure where it's name comes from; maybe before pollution it was purple? But it's common name is Red-spotted Purple Butterfly.
It's part of the Admiral family, of the brush-footed butterflies. You can see it's related to the Admirals by closely looking at the markings.
I would call it, "Orange-spotted Blue Butterfly", but no one asked me.
On the ventral side, the orange ("red") spots that it gets it's name from, are seen:
Scientific name is Limenitis arthemis. It's polytipic.
I have never seen one that is purple, and I have never seen one with red spots.
I have seen trays of other preserved butterflies, marked by year, that clearly show the effects of pollution in the specimens. A drastic change in colors, since the 19th century. So while that may be the case, I really have no idea why it is called Red-spotted Purple.
All I know is it is beautiful. A gift from the Creator. Do you know He made more than 40,000 butterflies? FORTY THOUSAND. What a beautiful world.
Enjoy beauty where you find it, and be encouraged.
He also made the sparrows. And we are worth much more than many sparrows. When you see a beautiful bird, or butterfly, or a flower (lily of the field), think on these things and be encouraged.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
SparkPeople already has an article on saying "no" to food pushers.
Saying "No" Graciously by Lysa TerKeurst
This is not about food; it's about saying "no" to people asking for your time and help. I heard this on KLOVE this morning but couldn't find it on the KLOVE site. The following is from her new book: "The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands."
Best Yes Bible Study link (w/free downloadable book):
Lysa said this morning on KLOVE:
"No isnít a cuss word.
It doesnít have to be hurtful. You will survive and so will they.
Saying no is not a rejection. Itís a necessary protection of your Best Yes answers.
So, here are 10 ways to graciously say no when you feel pressured to say yes:"
1. While my heart wants to say yes, yes, yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.
2. I am honored by your request but Iím in a season of refocusing my priorities and have committed not to add anything new right now.
3. After living at an unhealthy breakneck pace for too long, Iím learning to realistically assess my capacity. Though I would love to say yes, the reality of my limitations means I must say no this time.
4. I so appreciate you asking me, but I must be brave and decline this opportunity. Saying no is hard for me but necessary in this season. Thank you for understanding.
5. Iíve promised my family not to add any new commitments to my schedule right now. Thank you for our friendship that allows me to be honest with my realities.
6. Thank you for thinking of me. Your project sounds wonderful. However, as much as I would love to be involved, I canít give your project the attention it deserves right now.
7. While I would love to connect about your new project, Iíve discovered this is one of those activities I must give up while trying to ____________________ (write my book, start my business, stick to my project, etc.) Saying yes would just enable my unhealthy habit of procrastination. Thank you for understanding and helping me push through to the finish line.
8. There is nothing more that I love than helping others in my field get started. Unfortunately, I get so many requests for this that Iím no longer able to meet in person. So, Iíve created this attached document with my best advice. (Create a standard PDF for instances like this so you only have to type out your advice one time.)
9. While I donít have time for a lunch appointment, Iíd love to connect for a few minutes over the phone. I can talk from 8-8:30am.
10. Thank you so much for caring enough about me to want my involvement. Unfortunately, Iím not able to participate this time. But Iím certainly cheering for your continued success.
I'm a reformed people pleaser, how about you? Dave Ramsey and FlyLady also talk about saying no. The good news for me is, responding with TACT and RESPONDING GRACIOUSLY are skills that can be LEARNED. There is much serenity in LEARNING to say "no" graciously.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
This year I've discovered a surprising link between trusting God and prioritizing yourself first.
Can anyone relate to surprising revelations on their SparkJourney?
A yearly goal for me in 2014 was to more consciously address the stress in my life. Everyone of us has stress. But how good of a job are we doing managing it?
Many years ago, a pastor who was preaching about stress said, as a summation at the end of the sermon, that we must learn to Enjoy the Journey. You would have had to have been there; there was alot more to it than just that simple phrase. It was NOT a simple sermon. But after experiencing the entire sermon, that phrase had deep meaning.
It stuck with me. And at different times, under different circumstances, it's really meant different, but deep, things to me. Always helpful, & significant, in different ways to simply remember to Enjoy the Journey.
As a Christian believer, the Bible has much to say about faith, trust, peace, trials, tribulations, overcoming. did I mentin faith?, prayer, anxiety, & worry. Life is not a snapshot, and life will always have moving parts of the game with stress included. It's not IF we'll be stressed; but how we respond to it. Part of our outlook on life, CAN be, seeing our life as a journey, and learning to enjoy the unexpected trials and tribulations. The still waters as well as the rapids.
Knowing all of that, imagine my surprise to find a link between consciously practicing serenity (or anti-stress), and gaining an enhanced ability to put yourself first. Many of us on this journey are here because we prioritize everything and everyone in our lives over taking care of ourselves. TIME to plan meals and eat correctly. TIME to exercise. I know this is true for me. In fact I was raised, wrongly, to believe in always putting God and other people first; and then if there's anything left over, it's okay to eat the crumbs (this occurs in many different arenas of life). I was even raised with a nice little acronym to illustrate this. JOY = Jesus, Others, and then Yourself. Although in specific applications this may have some truth, overall this is so mis-used, false, and may I say, VERY ungodly. One cannot love your neighbor as yourself, until you first love yourself. Weighing 320lbs like I do, is NOT loving yourself (hello!).
It is necessary and required to take care of your needs, so you may survive and so you may serve others. If the oxygen masks drop down in the airplane, you put your own on, FIRST, and then you put on your child's mask, SECOND. You are not being selfish or ungodly or a bad mother or a bad believer to put others, even your own child, second. God knows we have needs and expects us to honor our bodies, minds, souls, and spirits by taking care of them. By showing love to ourselves. Blessings, fruits of our hands, and fields, and paychecks that come into our lives, yes we give Him the FirstFruits. In living a servant's life, yes we put others first. But never confuse that with taking care of your basic needs first, yours, and then your household's. Everyone, has the right to take care of their basic needs first - a message many of us never got, incredibly; somehow.
But if we've learned anything on this journey, it is that we must choose a lifestyle change of putting our basic needs first - EVERY DAY. Yes, God is first, and yes, the rest of our day can be spent serving others and loving others as yourself AFTER we've taken care of ourselves.
But don't skip the part about taking care of yourself first. God never intended for us to skip that part. Or to eat the crumbs of time and energy if there are any leftover.
And because of competing time mgmt needs, sometimes it IS hairy to put your basic needs first. But there should be no confusion or guilt about it, even when things get hairy. No matter what else is going on, i.e. even when it's hairy, you STILL have take care of yourself!, period.
This is what I've found this year with focusing on practicing, protecting, pursuing, and guarding my serenity: trusting God MORE by practicing serenity frees up more of me, or orients me, to take care of myself. It makes forming the habit of taking care of my basic needs, easier. I am not exactly sure how it works. Yes, time and energy - but something more. Serenity unexpectedly provides a spiritual connection or enhancement that makes the lifestyle change of putting my basic needs first, easier. Because of practicing serenity, pursuing peace, trusting God more - it has the unexpected benefit of making it easier to prioritize myself first.
Have you had any spiritual awakenings admidst your SparkJourney?
Sunday, September 07, 2014
It's been a rough year with lots of ups and downs. The first 6 months weren't easy . . . but when July and August got here, they made the first six months look easy by comparison.
Because July and August were doozies.
So I'm proud of myself for attempting The Step Diet, and for logging my steps. Even though I had a pedometer malfunction in July, and no computer for half+ of August, I kept on.
I've also tried to keep my yearly overarching goal, and to return to it when I stray:
"Alkalizing cuisine; and clean, green, lean and serene in 2014"
I've lost my diet & serenity & steps periodically, but I keep coming back and recentering myself and prioritizing my serenity first, which is my start towards learning to prioritize myself, my health, first. Serenity is like a "code-word" reminder to trust the Lord, instead of stressing out and worrying and freaking out.
I also added SparkGuy's "10 Minutes or More" of exercise habit per day on August 1st, and so far I have an unbroken streak. I don't do "or more" on the Sabbath, but I still walk. Sometimes more than 10 mins, but at least 10 mins.
May Daily Average: 3647
June Daily Average: 4440
August Daily Average: 4759
May Monthly Step Total: 113,071
June Monthly Step Total: 133,204
August Monthly Step Total: 147,539
Remember to include the nurture of your spiritual self and emotional self in your goals. And remember the bottom line is: JUST IMPROVE. No matter what you choose for your SparkJourney Goals, as long as you are making progress, be proud and keep going.
Saturday, September 06, 2014
Well, I am so grateful to be able to use my laptop again. Such a huge relief, and huge blessing.
Such a blessing to be able to post pictures again, as well!
Such a blessing to be able to run Swagbucks stuff again, too. So, so much I couldn't do, small and large, on the public library computer . . .
I am so behind on everything that I'm not going to try to go back and catch up on all I wanted to do and planned to do and said I would do. Instead I'm borrowing a page from FlyLady and am changing my paradigm to say, "I'm not behind, I'm jumping in right now, right where I'm at". There is more serenity in that, and I need to respect and protect and nurture my serenity.
So I'm jumping right in right where I'm at and . . . where exactly am I, by the way? Well, it's Sept 6th, which means there are 16.5 weeks left in 2014. Do you know where your goals are? What improvements are you willing to work for and pay the price for, before we celebrate a new January 1st? How much food and overeating are you willing to give up? What can you change, and what reasonable progress can you make, in the next 16 weeks?
This morning at the library when I plugged in the cord from the third Amazon order, and it worked, I made myself do the very first thing I DID NOT want to do. Which is, I opened Amazon, opened my account, opened my orders, and I copied and pasted the three order numbers into Word with explanations beneath each.
While waiting for the 3rd order to come in, I thought about what I wanted from Amazon. I decided, first, I'd wait to make sure the cord from the 3rd order actually worked, make sure the nightmare was over. Then, I'd ask Amazon Customer Service for the total cost of the 3rd order (even tho that one was the correct one) be refunded to my account.
So that's what I did, first thing today, so I could move on with my life; I got all the facts lined out logically in order and then I opened Amazon chat. I've had about 5 CSRs from India help me, and all of them were good but one. Today's chat guy was really good, after I overwhelm-bombed him with my initial info on all 3 orders. He worked thru all of that and then he credited my account and sent me a shipping label for the return of the 2nd order's wrong cord in the mail, since I can't print the shipping label.
Also, due to the one bad CSR, and some of you all's previous comments about getting it for free, I had the courage to ask for the 2nd order to be free, and was given a $10 credit, instead. Hey; at least it's something.
Ordered laptop cord Aug 14; received Sept 5; plus have a $10 credit off next order.
Job hunting: March, April, May and June I tried really REALLY hard to find a gainful employment, professional job (i.e. a real job), instead of a crappy anything job, so I wouldn't be quitting at fast food places or temp agency places every 2 to 3 months.
However, I didn't find a real job.
So since July I've been pursuing piddly pay jobs at 7 places, fast food etc. I started in July because I need paychecks by August to pay for August's bills. But that didn't happen.
I love Chipotle food and would love to work there. The local Chipotle didn't hire me after 5 weeks of visits and interviews, so I'm going to try another location in a neighboring town. Driving will be a problem if I get it, however. But that's the only option. Minimum wage is $7.25; Chipotle starts $8.25, give or take.
And Aug 29 I applied and interviewed at a slightly better type of employment, a customer service job at a security company that I learned of through the Soup Kitchen. I'm still waiting to hear from the security company. They said the position was for 1p - 10p, and every other Sat 12 - 9. So I would have mornings free to work elsewhere . . . it's ~$10.00 hr . . . and it's 40 HOURS OMG.
The rest of the crappy jobs I don't want but will still work at several of them, whomever will hire me. Steak N Shake, Dollar Tree, McDonalds, Ollie's Bargain Outlet, Wendys, etc.
The first one of the crappy places to offer me a job so far is a Subway; on Sept 4th I filled out hiring paperwork. However since I'm naming the company I won't be able to write future blogs about them here. It will also be close to 40 hours, surprisingly. I was pleasantly shocked. Currently I have to do 17 hrs of computer training before I go to work in the store, but I get paid for the computer training so I'm happy with that, too.
However I will only be able to work for Subway until the first time I get sick. Every Subway is different, I've learned; this Subway requires a doctor's note or you're fired. I told the hiring manager that I won't be coming to work if I'm throwing up. And also that I won't go to a doctor, either. They're full of themselves. So that will be that. The hiring manager hired me anyway. I am not normally a sick person, so I will work as many hours as I can before that happens, but I know up front my days there are numbered. That makes this a "throw away job". Per their rules, not mine. I am still grateful for the temporary, minimum wage income. It's better, though lower paying, than those ultra crappy temp agency jobs I had at the beginning of this year. A cleaner and more pleasant, civilized environment, except for the dorky uniform; plus I get to serve customers which I like doing. I enjoy the customer aspect of retail. I just hope I'm not sick during the first week or month there. Hope I can work there for as many pay periods as possible, before getting sick, or having an unavoidable scheduling conflict with a gainful employment job, etc. Those would be the only things I would miss work for, to begin with. ANY work. Even piddly pay throw away jobs.
I would sooo love to work at Chipotle mornings and the security company afternoons & evenings . . . that's my dream schedule. Until I could get gainful employment. Oh well. Will take what's offered and go with it.
SparkJourney: I've met my goal of "10 Mins or More Exercise" from August 1st to date. Inspired by SparkGuy's blog that WARMSPRINGDAY posted, I finally finally lowered my goals to a single goal, and that of just 10 minutes which has always seemed super ridiculous, grossly insufficient, to me. Here's my blog and SparkGuy's linked blog about that:
(At least read SparkGuy's blog, it's super good. Inspirational.) Well guess what, it's working. And on the days I struggle with 10 minutes, it is the goal that keeps me going and gives me the motivation to do it. Do I want & need more? Yes! Should I be doing far more than 10 mins? Yes and yes and YES and yes. Of course. But you'll never walk a mile without taking the first steps. 10 mins may be ridiculous; but if it works . . . IS IT? Is it then, ridiculous? It's like FlyLady's 15 minutes on the timer, and Dave Ramsey's baby steps and 'every dollar must have a name'. IF IT WORKS, HOW IS THAT BEING RIDICULOUS?! Still bending my mind around "10 Mins or More Exercise", but, it's working.
And on another team I'm doing the challenge to lose a pound a week before Jan 1st. So for me, that's my answer to the next 16.5 weeks' goals. Besides maintaining the 10 Mins or More. I will weigh at Planet Fitness tomorrow morning to see how I did for my first week on this challenge, which I started last week. It would be so wonderful to be 17lbs down by Jan 1st . . .
I'm getting my focus back on eating something alkaline ROUTINELY, at every meal. I'm using Bragg's apple cider vinegar on salads, I keep a peeler in the cup holder and am snacking on cucumbers with meals, and I'm adding lemon to water whenever I can.
How was your Labor Day Holiday? I worked on ministorage 3 nights in a row, as I didn't have my computer cord yet then. The third night, I was almost unable to get the door up, as stacks had tipped over inside, domino style, against the shut door. I was very lucky to be able to get the door open, and then so discouraged to have to re-do the night before's work and re-do four stacks. So I got alot of needed work done at ministorage over the holiday, tho it was more than I had planned to do. Some more work is needed but it's mostly on the clothes now. I'm going to bring them all outside and go through all of them, all seasons at once. They all need to be repacked, folded, and hung. Cold weather clothes I'm going to purge 75% instead of putting them back inside. Other people in need should get use out of them instead of me hoarding them in packing crates. Then I'll do the other seasons if I have more time. They need purged, too, but since fall is fast approaching, I want to donate my cold weather excess clothes.
What's on tap for you this coming week? I have about a million job hunting things to follow up on, go back and visit these places like a boomerang, plus the 17hrs computer training time for Subway which I want to do pronto so it will be on my first check right away, then hopefully time at the Subway store towards the end of this week, plus clothes at ministorage and working out at Planet Fitness. Also yesterday I used the Christian Mission's computer, and looked online and found a church to visit tomorrow. Tomorrow is also laundry day. So I'm looking forward to church tomorrow. Have a great week everyone!
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