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Thinking About New Year's Resolutions

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lately I have been struggling with finding meaning in my life. End of 2012, we moved from Wisconsin to Tennessee for my husbands new job. I have been mostly staying home since then, volunteering, cooking and working on a blog. This has kept me busy enough, but I have had a hard time finding meaning and purpose in my life. My hope is that by thinking about making some new year's resolutions for 2014, I can make my own meaning. I have always felt that we, as people, make our own meaning in life. Rarely does God speak in his booming voice and say this is what you are to do this year. Most of the time, we humans are doing the best we can with what we are given.

So what are the resolutions I am considering...
1. Keep the weight off that I lost 3 years ago now. I lost about 50 pounds, well, more if we consider the amount I lost before that. I went from when my son was born about 16 years ago almost 200 pounds, to completing my weight loss December 2010 at about 120 lbs. I have gained about 7.5 of those pounds back during the move and time after, as I had been doing 40 minutes of exercise per day with one long exercise day and often times one timed 10K each week. When my husband finished his previous job and was staying home a short while to prep for the move, I stopped doing the 10k and the one long exercise day and didn't really realize that meant I was only doing 40 minutes per day every day and this was a cut back in exercise that needed a cut back in calories. In order to loose those 7.5 pounds, already lost 1.5 of those pounds, I am going to do 45 minutes per day of exercise and one long exercise day (normally a 2 hour walk/hike) and probably a 5K timed jogging/walking intervals with distance being extended as jogging becomes easier. I am a walker who is trying to add in some jogging.

2. Continue to do some charity races and hopefully another half marathon. I completed one half marathon in 2012 and one in 2013 and would like to do another in 2014. My first was about 3 hours and 13 minutes, with my second being 3 hours and 4 minutes and would really like to do one in less than 3 hours this time, hence the adding in some jogging/walking intervals. It seems hard to walk faster than 13.1 miles in 3 hours. I can do that pace for shorter distances, but for that amount of miles, just not sure I can.

3. I would like to add in more strength training and maybe use my kettle bell some. Never been good at doing strength training, just not something I like much.

Some non exercise weight loss ideas...
4. Continue to run my coupon blog and hopefully post more walk/hike trail reviews with pictures. I have been enjoying walking local trails here in Tennessee and documenting them with photographs and verbiage/reviews on my blog. Also be more active on reviewing local restaurants. I seem to get behind on the coupon matchup stuff and forget to do the recipes, walking trail reviews and restaurant reviews. But I want to do more of the walking trail, recipes and restaurant reviews. I enjoy doing them and hope that others find them interesting to read.

5. Maybe find a way to help others with my couponing. I can't seem to convince the local food pantry I volunteer at to give me some money and let me buy some of the things they need, so maybe I could try and use some online crowd sourcing to receive donations on the food pantry's behalf and then buy the toilet paper, bar soap, etc. that they can't buy at Second Harvest. Anything they can get at Second Harvest is cheaper than the tax on the free item I can get. But hygiene items they can't tend to buy there, and many have said how hard those items are to obtain if you are poor/homeless.

6. Continue to see how the English as a second language classes with homework help for the children who come with their parents turns out. Not sure if this will be something I enjoy doing and will find purpose in it or not, but giving my son the ability to possibly help volunteer outside the home with others who may need help, is a good thing. My husband is more of an intellectual who doesn't always see the need of others and my son tends to be the same. I want him to see that we all need help on this earth in some way. Some may need financial help while others may need emotional help. No one is an island and my husband believes this in a way, but doesn't really follow through with it much.

7. I want to continue to be there for my family, even if they don't seem to value it at all. My son will be going to college in a short time and I want him to have whatever opportunities in High School he can. Not that we are springing for a trip to France or anything, but filling out applications and such, is probably going to be something we are doing a fair amount of. Reading his essays and making pointers, etc. Continuing to feed them yummy foods when I can, etc. Maybe try a few new recipes still, but keep many of the old ones including homemade pizza, homemade ravioli (Yes, we make the pasta from scratch and fill them with sweet italian sausage with feta and havarti cheese), many homemade breads and biscuits (even if people from the south say they aren't southern biscuits.)

8. I want to try and find ways to compliment and thank people more. My mother was always a rather negative person and I have a tendency to be like her, especially when I am down in my mood, which I have been a lot lately. The past year has been more down moods than probably any other time in my life, unless my teen years was worse. I want to see if I can turn those moods around and make sure I am not overly negative, especially to my husband and son. I know my husband has gotten a fair amount of that negativity this past year.

I think that is the main things. I will continue to keep my eyes open for a job that would help give me purpose/meaning, but I won't take a job that is just because I want to feel needed/valued. Even though right now, that is tempting.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELLIEBEAN 12/30/2013 9:44PM

    Congratulations on all of your accomplishments! You have wonderful ideas for the new year!

I wish you much joy in the new year!

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PUNCHILOUIE 12/29/2013 2:20PM

    Best wishes for great resolutions. Have a Happy 2014! God will guide!

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SEABREEZE65 12/28/2013 12:24PM

    Very thoughtful blog.

It seems many people have a problem with meaning at some time especially as kids get older and move away. Sounds like you have some good ideas.

Good luck in 2014 and hoping you have a "meaningful" year!!!

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RASPBERRY56 12/28/2013 10:51AM

    You have a good ideas to work on, and that's great! Best wishes to you and yours for the new year!

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September 11th Stair Climb Challenge

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today, I am going to be doing a September 11th Stair Climb Challenge. For me this means trying to beat my previous floors high of 138 floors on August 12th. My fitbit keeps track of floors climbed in a day and tells me my personal bests, etc. Apparently the fitbit counts 10 feet as a floor, so you could do your own challenge, be counting the stairs and then how many times up them, etc. This is what I did before I obtained a fitbit, or should I say before my hubby bought me one. Let me know if you are joining me today. I would love to see your results for the day. This is not meant to be a competition between people, but more of one with yourself. I also have to say that climbing stairs is very hard to me compared to other forms of exercise I do, walking and bicycling. I did this for my first time after I had seen a stair climb charity event in Milwaukee where Firemen and policemen would climb the stairs of a local tall building in full gear. I can't imagine climbing stairs in full fireman gear. EEEk.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWYOGA 9/11/2013 10:19PM

    emoticon Sounds great, but don't think I could But really happy for you! emoticon emoticon

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SEABREEZE65 9/11/2013 3:01PM

    Sounds like a great challenge. My daughter loves her fitbit and has encouraged me to get one.

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HEIDIJO150 9/11/2013 8:12AM


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KDGIRL 9/11/2013 8:08AM

    Okay - 138 floors is a great challenge. I will join you to commemorate the 12th anniversary. Good luck!!

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Living Up To One's Potential?

Friday, August 16, 2013

I am now 40 years old, which I can't deny that that is midlife now. Many, many people don't live to 80. Yes, I am female and females tend to live longer, but I can't deny that 40 is midlife. And the question I keep asking myself is have I done anything at all in my life that has lived up to my God given potential? Or have I squandered or wasted it all? If I have wasted it all, how can I change it?

In high school, I thought that getting a good education would help me to get out of a not so great childhood. My step-dad was a verbally abusive man and my mom was just an ice cube. She never really seemed to care about us. Our step-dad did care, as he apologized a time or two for his very bad behavior, but he still hurt me and my twin sister rather badly. But for me, now that I have a son of my own, I can not understand my mom's uncaring behavior. So I did well in high school and went to college and did reasonably well. Had trouble finding my first job, as my degree was in political science and there aren't many jobs in that field straight out of college. Most of the poli sci graduates I knew went to law school, volunteered in someone's campaign, did an unpaid internship or got jobs in other fields. I didn't have the money to do an unpaid internship, especially as I wasn't interested in local government and did not live in the capital city of my state, Ohio. In the end, I worked a data entry job through a local temp agency. I was hired on permanent by the company we worked at in the end, but I knew I would be leaving soon to head out of state and be with the man I had met on IRC and fallen in love with. The hiring company had decided to make me a trainer to help train new people, even though I was leaving in a few months, which surprised the heck out of me. (I graduated in June and my soon to be husband graduated in December.) Then I went to join my husband around january the next year, after he set up an apartment, as he graduated a few days before Christmas. So in a way, I met my husband online while in college, but I did not really use my degree. I got my Mrs. in college, which in some way which is what I faulted my mom for. She divorced my dad and was going to night school for accounting, but then she never finished and got her CPA license, instead she married. She always thought she had to be married. She has tried to marry my twin off many times. This has all made me wonder if I would have managed to do okay for myself or not. I do tell myself that I had a reasonable job, that was willing to let us work over 40 hours a week, as long as it was less than 50. I could have saved up some money for awhile and then moved into my own apartment. (I was living at my dad's house at the time and I worked normal days and he worked night shift, so I really only saw him weekends, which was kind of nice and allowed me to save up some money.)

Since then, I have worked a few different jobs, some via temp agencies, some more permanent, but then had my son, so had to leave that job. Then worked as a church secretary of a little church that had some yoyoing pastors. I kept that little church going for quite awhile, but in the end, I knew it's closing was best for it and thought that would be best for the members too, as they were such a hodge podge that didn't always fit well together and were starting to really show stress and conflict with each other. While at the church, I thought it was where God wanted me, then I searched for a new church home to attend for a year and never really found one I could call home. Then my husband obtained a job in a new state. I do have a church I am attending here, but it is taking me awhile to feel at home there, as names to faces allude me, etc.

When I left the state I was in, no one really seemed to care. When the church closed, everyone worried about the pastor, or different members, but no one expressed any concern for me. That church had been my church home and my job for 14 years or so. Saying goodbye to the state was like saying goodbye to the church again, especially as when I emailed different people in the state that I was leaving, no one invited me to a farewell dinner, no one called, almost no one even emailed back. If I had made a difference in their lives at all keeping that little church going, they didn't show it. This has led me to question if my entire life up to 40 years of age has been somewhat wasted. Has any of my actions made a difference at all? And what the heck does God want me to do now? My husband works a job that makes enough to live reasonably well and I have the privilege of not having to work, if I want to. How do I put that time and potential to it's best use and not squander it? I mean most people have to work so many hours, they can't volunteer or do what they want to do and here I have the ability to do just that. But I feel guilty all the time, if I am doing something during the normal work hours that isn't for the family or something productive. But what is productive? What isn't?

I volunteer about 6 hours a week at my church's food pantry and cook yummy meals, make homemade breads, etc. But I still feel like I need to justify to my husband what I am doing with my time and I hate it. I also feel that need, as when we were preparing for the move, my husband yelled at me on his birthday that it was my fault that we weren't more prepared for the move. He yelled the same things my step-dad used to yell at me. Okay, not really, but his statements implied that I was either lazy or at least not working very hard. I admit I was delaying on some things with the move, but it was more like I was mourning leaving our home and our city/state, etc. and mourning the fact that my life in Wisconsin has seemed to mean nothing to anyone. Why am I so weak to need to know that I have made a difference somehow? I mean, many people never see the results of their actions while on earth. Why can't I just tell myself that I do what I do, because it feels right and get on with my life?

I even find with dealing with others, I feel guilty about the fact that I am not working and they have to work. I went to a lecture the other day and someone asked what do you do... what are you doing here? He was trying to ask how are you a non-retired person able to come here during the day? How the heck am I supposed to respond to that one? Even talking to cashiers at local drug stores, things I say seem to be making excuses why I am out shopping and not working. I know the other part of this, is that my step-dad always seemed to value people based on what they made monetarily. I, personally, do not do this to others, but I have found in the past that I was better self-esteeem wise when I was making a paycheck at least. Now working for a little church was very low paying and I joked it was half volunteer, as I was making more per hour but quite a bit before my son was born 14 years earlier than when the job ended and the church shut down.

I think if I could be convinced that God had a plan for me, and I was doing what God wanted, maybe I would manage to get over this dadblasted somewhat sad state that I have been in for awhile now. But God does not talk to me or communicate what He wants. Which you know, isn't very fair. I wish I wasn't so weak that I needed to be told that I am worth something. My husband and son both have a lot of self-esteeem, sometimes they need to be reminded to be humble, while lately, I need to be reminded that I have value at all. My life has been a good life, but I just feel like I have wasted it.

Yes, I think I am calling this my midlife crisis. But when will it end? Where is that light at the end of the tunnel? For some reason the song from Lion King Endless Night seems to sum up how I feel lately.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OWL_20 9/9/2013 7:51AM

    You certainly have value. I think it's something that needs to come from within, not dependent on others to 'add' it up. Mid-life is an odd place to be, I'm 51 and still working through bits and pieces. Many times I wonder what mu purpose in life really is--is this it? Well, it is if I want it to be, lol. But I think I'll find my way, and you will, too. It's a process that needs worked through. Take care, emoticon

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SNOWYOGA 8/16/2013 9:35PM

    emoticon Thank you for your blog, and the last 2 sections remind me of me too, but I think we will get there! emoticon

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30K Steps in a Day Challenge

Saturday, August 10, 2013

MostMom1, the hulla hooping sparker, in a reent blog post challenged some of her readers to a 30K step day today. Her blog is here
if you are curious. So today, my challenge was to walk 30K steps and then blog about it.

First, some history. I have walked 30K steps before in one day. I walked a half marathon in April 2012 and since beginning to wear my fitbit around December 2012, I have one day walked that many steps with 33K steps on May 28th which was a 12 mile walk. I plotted out a 12.5 mile walk for today. When I plotted it out, I wasn't specific on exactly how I would go where I was going and how I would walk home, as I tend to vary it and was walking main roads in town to go to a local grocery outlet that I had never been to. This week, I have not been getting my 8 hours a night of sleep that I need, so was rather tired. I decided I would head out whenever I woke up, ate breakfast, showered, etc. So I did not get started on my walk until about 11:45 this morning. The weather report was also for possible thunderstorms today, but looked nice when I left.

When I first walked out the door, I realized it was a bit more humid than I was expecting, but not overly hot at least. Usually I have been exercising mornings or evenings to avoid the warmest part of the day. But as I had slept late, to give my body to get the sleep it needed from earlier in the week, I left later than I had intended. The first mile is a local bike trail that goes through some wooded area. Then down a sidewalk along a road to the main road in town. On the way, I stopped off at the library to drop off a few books to donate to the library. I love buying cheap or getting free books reading them, then donating them to the library book sale. There are only a few books I keep, only if I think I will reread them someday. Had a granola bar after the library visit and walked on. This was about the one hour walking mark. (I keep track of how long walking down the street is, verses how much is small side trips, like bathroom visits, library, etc.)

Then I kept walking to the United Grocery Outlet that I had wanted to take a look at and price check, etc. They do have some cheap day old bread, but one loaf already had mold on it and I set that one on the register and told the cashier when I was checking out. So if I do go back to this outlet store, I need to check the dates on all items and the status of those items very carefully. (Color, mold, etc.) Their website said they buy closeouts, overstocks, etc. Sounds like they are odd lots like, so no telling what they will have in the store one day to the next. Did also see cheap cold cuts, that were dated 8/24 so not bad. Shredded cheese seemed well priced too, but was a larger bag than I normally buy. I do freeze shredded cheese, but would have to separate some of it out and put that in the refrigerator and the rest in the freezer if I bought a bag that big.

The grocery outlet was the turn around point, then I started back towards home, but stopped off at a local asian produce market that I like. Just as I was about to go in the door, I missed seeing the curb and fell. Put a hole in the knee of my pants, so I guess they will become a stay around the house pair of pants. Went in and did not wind up buying anything, as we have a CSA pickup on Monday and I don't need much in the way of produce right now. I did try a sample of a jackfruit the sign said. Wikipedia says " The flavor is comparable to a combination of apple, pineapple, mango and banana.[18] " I can see that I guess. But for some reason I wasn't a big fan. After I stepped out, I kind of ate my grapes, to somewhat get rid of the taste.

Then I decided to walk home a bit of a different way. Along the way I stopped off and peeked at a produce stand. Nothing overly interesting, again, as the CSA had already given us some of the yummiest fresh corn and the largest quarter sized black berries, etc. Eagerly looking forward to Monday's CSA pickup. Wonder what we will have this time?! Then I went by the bookstore that always has free books out and grabbed one that looked interesting. I stopped off at Kroger next to use the bathroom and to buy a Coke 20 oz, as I was sweating as soon as I stepped out the door this morning and I had brought along one of my free coke 20 oz. coupons received from entering in all my coke points on Love having those free coupons to use when I am walking on warmer days. I so kept thinking about how I wanted a cold drink and eyeballing those ice cream bars and such in different stores, etc.

Forgot to mention that before I got to Kroger and the book store, I did get rained on a bit, but just enough to cool off. After the Kroger and getting my 20 oz., I started to hear some thunder and kept my eye out to see how far off the lightening and thunder were. About 1.5 miles from home, it started to rain again and I got a bit wet. Sang in the rain for at least a little while. I love to take my ipod shuffle with me when I do longer walks. Sometimes the worst part of walking, is having all of that time to think about things, life, etc.

So in the end, I did about a 12 mile walk, which wasn't quite 30K steps, but by doing a little walking around the house tonight, I have now finished my 30K steps. Don't think I am going to beat the 33K that I did back in May though. But I think I will do so in the near future. Wonder if I will beat my best floors according to my fitbit, which was climbing diamond head in Hawaii, 127 floors on June 28th.

Future plans... I keep talking about doing my second half marathon, but I have fears about doing so. My first and only half marathon so far was April 2012 and I finished it in 3 hours and 13 minutes for an average of a 14:44 minute mile. The local half marathon in the city we have moved to has a 3 hour cut off. I would have to cut off 13 minutes off my half marathon time, which is basically 1 minute per mile. Now, I can walk about a 12 minute mile, and have done a 5K in just under 40 minutes which is about a 13 minute mile. I am just not sure I can do a 13.7 minute mile for 13.1 miles. Today, I did 12 miles in almost 4 hours, spark said a 19 minute mile. I can do faster than that, but just not sure I can beat the 3 hour time limit. I am probably going to start training for doing that and see how it goes. The other complicating factor is that the half marathon in this city is the Sunday after thanksgiving and we usually go to my husband's parents for thanksgiving. If we go, I think it is an 8 hour drive, and we would have to go on Wednesday, be there on Thursday and Friday and come home on Saturday and I have no idea how much sleep I would get during the trip, as I don't sleep well away from home. But may give it a go.

Some people have urged me to consider running some of it and not walking all of it, and others have mentioned that I can email the race organizers and see what happens if you don't meet the cut off but are very close to it. I may consider both. But so far, I can do a 5K in the mile time I need, I can do the 13.1 mile distance, and am slowly increasing my faster walking distance and will see what happens.

So far I have seen blog entries from these people who have completed the 30K step challenge

DANAPRIME also made it, but haven't seen a blog yet
MOSTMOM1 also made it! Haven't seen a blog yet, either.

Now I need my reward, a nice back with a book, and no, not the book in the water getting wet!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SNOWYOGA 8/12/2013 9:13PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LYNNIERN 8/12/2013 10:18AM

    emoticon Saturday was really a great day! I love that you have done this before, it really inspires me to get another 30,000 Fitbit badge!

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LOLAJO54 8/10/2013 10:19PM

    gosh hope the knee is okay though even if the pants didn't make it!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHELLEYHOWARD 8/10/2013 10:00PM

    So awesone you joined in the 30k challenge. I walked with mostmom1 today. Lots of fun and now lots of tired :)

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STEELERTOM 8/10/2013 9:46PM

    Awesome thanks for joining us for the 30k challenge! There was 4 of us in Mostmom1 's group!

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DANAPRIME 8/10/2013 9:37PM

    Congrats on the 30,000! Hope you didn't get hurt when you fell.

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ILOVELIFE2012 8/10/2013 9:36PM

    congratulations good work. I actually had planned to walk 4,000 steps but ended up doing 12,250 - about 6 miles. My dog went with me the entire time. I broke out the walk in the morning and now evening. I'm going to sleep good tonight. Sounds like you had a lovely day!

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MOSTMOM1 8/10/2013 9:34PM

    Hooray!! We did it! And wow, you crammed a lot into those steps. I like how you were able to go all those different places on foot and incorporate that into your day. Fabulous!!! CONGRATULATIONS and way to go!!!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

PS: I'll post a video blog tomorrow. My brain was too fried to edit today. Lol

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FITWITHIN 8/10/2013 9:17PM

    emoticon job! I love my ipod shuffle and take it every where I go. emoticon emoticon

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Do Lent Generously Day 3: List Your Blessings

Friday, February 15, 2013

So day three is to list out your blessings... I will probably add more to this as time goes on, so this will be a short list at first and will be added to...

1. My new home and town. I love our condo and the natural area around it and the nature around the area in which we now live. We live in a valley in Tennessee with mountains and wild areas all over. I still have to get out there and hike and bike more of the local area.
2. My husband and son. I love them both so much. My son has had some trouble adjusting to the new school, but I think he is getting there. I still hate to see him worry so much though. I can see his stress sometimes and I wish I didn't have to see so much stress in my 15 year old son. (I did not say my baby, but the statement almost seem to call for that, which for me is odd. I do not and have not thought of him as my baby in a long time. At church people will ask if I have any children, and it is so hard now that my son is taller than me to call him my child.)
3. God and a church that maybe I can someday call home. I have been attending the only ELCA church in town and am starting to get to know people and to know some names. I enjoy working/volunteering at the food pantry at the church on Fridays and helping unload the Food Pantry van on Wednesdays.
4. The warmer weather that we have here in Tennessee than in Wisconsin. If I was trapped inside in our new area with all that wonderful nature outside right now, I would be even more down than I already am.
5. The time I have and the ability to try and start a new couponing blog for the Oak Ridge, TN area. So far I have had 88 views and almost 40 posts. So not much viewage, but that does make sense, as there just doesn't seem to be as many couponers in TN as there was in the MIlwaukee, Wisconsin area.
6. The internet and recipes for new recipes and new foods to try. I have been enjoying cooking and baking breads and meals for my family, even if some of the ingredients I used to use in Wisconsin, I can't seem to find here. (Never thought that finding fat free Ricotta cheese would be difficult. In TN they have regular, part-skim and light, but no fat free. So I guess my lasagna is just going to be a tad higher fat than it used to be.)
7. The fact that we seem to have nice neighbors and don't have any sound issues in our condo, even though we haven't met many of our neighbors yet. I keep thinking about sharing some baked goods with our neighbors, but I bake with splenda and never know how others take to that. I keep forgetting to bake something with sugar for sharing, especially as church has Panera bread each Sunday. Panera donates their day old bread to the Food Pantry each Friday and then the sweet stuff is used on Sunday morning, with all the rest, the majority, going to the Food Pantry clients.

I think that is it for the moment, but I am sure I will be adding more soon. Need to head out to the Food Pantry at church in about 20 minutes or so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

*MADHU* 2/16/2013 9:40AM

    I m making an attempt on doing the "Do Lent Generously" challenge too emoticon

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