Let’s Play 20 Questions

Okay, I’ve had several thoughts about this blog lately and wanted to get your opinion.  I don’t want to overwhelm my readers, so I wanted your input.

I have many interests and I wouldn’t mind blogging about them.  Which of the following would you be interested in reading?

1) Bible study/God/Jesus/Prayer/Miracles (I will be doing this one anyway.  I made a deal with God.);

2) Creative writing & Nanowrimo/Camp Nano (this would include challenges as well); By the way, Camp Nanoers, I’m interested in engaging in some word sprints.  Who’s game?;

3) Quotes;

4) Cooking/recipes/experimenting in the kitchen;

5) Working from home/companies to work for and who not to work for/every day life;

6) Being a divorced/single mom with a teenager;

7) Health/fitness/diet/losing weight/daily working out/super foods and what helps what and what foods hurt you/improving energy, eyesight, and well, health overall;

8) Depression, anxiety, anger issues, frustration, suicidal thoughts, grief (dealing with it & how to take action to improve);

9) Cleaning/organizing (tips, techniques, checklists) re home, schedules, life in general

10) Life in general as I sometimes talk about (with my teen, my mom next door, my crazy furballs, my insane work-from-home schedule, life in the country, Mississippi, road trips, etc.)

Okay, so it’s only 10 questions, which, in my opinion, trumps 20 (unless you just love answering long lists of questions).  So, give me a shout out.  Let me know which items you are interested in.  What are you interested in reading that’s not covered here?  I am great at biting off more than I can chew but I am determined to get back to daily blogging and creative living (writing, cooking, finishing my books) and I’m just curious what your thoughts are.  Comment me below.

And I’ll eventually incorporate photography again, but that will be added back to the blog perhaps in a couple months.

Lata babes!

- Carol

Can One Fall Off The Earth?

No, I suppose one cannot fall off the Earth, although my friends out there have probably been assuming I did.  I have not forgotten you guys nor have I forgotten the blog.  I have been self employed since May, working simultaneously for three jobs and between 30 to 45 hours a week, give or take.  Not much time for anything fun, except work, although we did take a lovely vacation to Gatlinburg and Chattanooga, Tennessee, for which I’ll be updating you with photos very soon.  Trying to make time to spend with family, albeit not nearly enough.  Not getting any time to spend with friends, except maybe a couple of hours a month.  Just wanted to update you and let you know that I’m working on a plan to increase income while decreasing work hours.  I’ll let you know how that one goes.  ;)

I will try to make some time to return emails to my buddies who have emailed me, and will try to make the time this upcoming weekend to do an actual blog post about our goings on as of late.  So sorry I have not been current and posting as I know I should.  It is still important to me and I will try to get better at updating regularly.

I know.  Excuses…  Excuses…

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Oh, and while you wait, and since you have been so patient with me, I will reward you with one of my latest photos.  These are Fennec Foxes.  These are some of the cutest furry creatures I have ever seen!  If any of you have ever read the Skippyjon Jones books, he might come to mind when you look at these sweet babies!!  I’m in my 40s and still read those funny books!!!  Of course, I got them when Hallie was little and we read them together (while, of course, using our Spanish Baby Hero voices) and they were so gut-busting hilarious, any time I need some laughter, I go read one out loud, and yes, using my Spanish Baby Hero voice.

I hope and trust that all of you are doing fantastically well.  Love ya!!  *smooch*  ;)

-Carol

Skipped Out On My Own Invitation

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No need to post what week of 52 this is, since I dropped the ball on posting weekly.  Oh well.  I felt bad at first not following through, but I’ve let it go, since there are only so many hours in a day to get it all done.  Too much goin’ on lately, so focusing on the most important stuff first.

So, what’s been happenin’?  Well, as many of you know, I was participating in the Camp Nanowrimo, which is a virtual camp that participants join in April (and there’s another in July) to write a novel, short stories, poems, scripts, what have you.  My goal was to write a novel and reach 50,000 words.  You only have the 30 days alloted during April and you have to submit by 11:59pm April 30 to see if you are a winner.  I won!  As did a couple of my friends!!  Yea!

So, now that that’s done, or that part is done, I’ve put my novel on a back burner to focus on this new job I was presented with.  Wonderful new job!  Flexible hours, the same money as I make now per week, plus less gas I need to buy, plus less hours, plus no one to jerk me around daily, oh, I just can’t stop about the perks, but I’ll stop anyway.  It’s a great deal, but it’s also scary as H-E-double hockey sticks.  Ya know, any time ya take a risk, it’s pretty dang scary.  And good stress is still stress.  So, anyway, I gave my two weeks notice to my current day job while still working for this other job for about 10 or so hours per week.  My last day with the blegh job is May 22 and I’m soooo excited.  I get to pick my sweet baby up from school on her last day and every day for the next school year.  I get to spend quality time with her during the summer, and I cannot wait!!

So, that’s a bit about what’s been going on.

Above, you see an image of my beautiful mother. She’s such a sweetheart!  She’s one of my best friends in the world!  We hang out every chance we get, and this was the Saturday before Mother’s Day.  She and I decided we’d treat each other to an early Mother’s Day meal out at our favorite restaurant!  Saltgrass Steakhouse!  Oh baby!  Hallie pitched in some of her allowance for the meal for our Mother’s Day gift, as well.  We have to drive like 3 hours to get to this place, but it’s so worth it.  Every mouthwatering bite!  Plus, ya know, we are always up for a roadtrip, a daytrip, any kind of trip trip.  I love to drive and my girls love to ride.  It’s just so relaxing to drive and look at all the sights, and shop at our favorite stores, although we went into our favorite store and some old ladies were working in there, following us around, stalking us, forcing stuff on us and we walked out.  Never have we left that store without a purchase.  First time for everything.  We were very disappointed, and I plan to send a complaint to their website and see if it makes a difference.  You should not hound the shoppers!  Grrrr!  But, we shopped around at some other shops, took some shots of ourselves in a photo booth – Cute and Fun!  And also found a new Panera Bread that just opened up down there.  Oh, all this was in Bossier City and Shreveport, Louisiana – 3 hours away from where we live.  It was an awesome day!  We left at 7am and got home at 7pm.

Sunday was a stellar day!  The weather could not have been more beautiful.  Sun shining, breeze blowing, warm enough for shorts, but almost too chilly for shorts depending on how hard the wind was blowing.  I told God, “You really made this a perfect weather day.  I could be happy in temps like this every day!”  I can’t remember the last weekend before this one where we did not get rained out!  So, we thoroughly enjoyed our Blue Sky Holiday!  Mama slow cooked some roast, mashed up some taters, fixed a salad, and we were in hog heaven at her house just hangin’ out and chowin’ down.

I hope all you sweet mommies out there had a memorable and wonderful Mother’s Day, as well.

I’ll head on over to my 101 things and update that in a second.  Let me get to prayer requests.  What did I forget?  Anything?  Let me know.  Oh, and when my life gets back to some sort of normalcy next week, as I’m working on my new daily schedule now, setting everything up, I will also get back to finishing my novel, and then I can update you on how that’s going.

Y’all have a beautiful day!  Love ya!

-Carol

Oh, last post, I invited y’all over Sunday and I didn’t even show up.  I am pitiful!  One day, I will have my rear in gear and be organized.  One day…

Prayer Requests:

1) For Mama to be healed and feel good again.  She’s been feeling sick for months and has a dr’s appt coming up.  Let the doc tell her it’s something easily fixable with diet and exercise, not eating certain foods, etc.
2) For this new opportunity I’ve been granted work out for the greater good.
3) Please pray for Jennefer about her new job, and let it be as awesome as she is, and let her transition from one job to this next one be much smoother than she anticipated.
4) Please pray for Sherree to quickly be able to follow her heart and dreams.
5) Please pray for Carlie to be safe and well.
6) Please pray for Carlie to come by sometime and let us know she’s ok.
7) Please pray for Patrick to find the woman of his dreams, fall in love and get married. Pray he finds her this year.

My 101 Things in 1001 Days

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My 101 Things in 1001 Days (about 2 years and 9 months)
Tuesday – January 1, 2013 thru Thursday, September 29, 2015

Go here (these are just a few) and get yourself some ideas if you need some:
http://101goalsin1001days.com/
http://sarsm.wordpress.com/take-part/
http://dayzeroproject.com/

Goal and (Deadline) Updated May 13, 2013

Health, Wellness & Fitness
1) Fit into my size 5 jeans, or at least a 7 (Spring / Summer 2013) - In progress
2) Get back into martial arts
3) Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night - Failed
4) Take our vitamins every day - Failed
5) Get at least 15 to 30 minutes of exercise six days per week (some/1001)
6) Eat at least one good source of protein every day - In progress (133/1001)
7) Get one or more massages
8) Eat no sugary food for a week

Outdoors
9) Grow Spring food plants in the garden (Pre-Spring /Spring 2013)
10) Grow Summer food plants in the garden (Spring /Summer 2013)
11) Grow Fall food plants in the garden (Summer /Fall 2013)
12) Grow strawberries (Spring /Summer 2013)
13) Grow corn (Spring /Summer 2013)
14) Grow tomatoes (Spring /Summer 2013)
15) Plant flowers / flowering plants in the side yards (Spring 2013)
16) Plant flowering trees in the back yard (Early Fall 2013)
17) Clean out, till, trim and prep garden when cooler (Winter /Spring 2013) In progress

Home
18) Decorate the living room’s bare walls (Winter 2013)
19) Decorate my bedroom’s bare walls (Winter 2013)
20) Repaint Hallie’s bedroom (Spring /Summer 2013)
21) Repaint bathroom (Spring /Summer 2013)
22) Repaint my home office (Spring /Summer 2013)
23) Make my office organized, well-decorated, comfy place of inspiration
(organized Jan 2013/ painted & decorated Spring 2013) - In progress
24) Recaulk areas around windows throughout house and kitchen sink (Jan 2013)
25) Find perfect curtains & rods for livingroom, buy and install (Jan /Feb 2013) - Completed (2/26)
26) Clean out and organize my office closet (Jan 2013)
27) Purchase more comfortable couch (Jan/ Feb 2013)
28) Purchase more comfortable rocker/ recliner (Feb/ Mar 2013) – changing this to a loveseat
29) Have plumber fix leaky outside faucet (Jan/ Feb 2013) - Completed (2/15)
30) Clean out and organize kitchen cabinets and pantry (Jan 2013)
31) Clearcoat the kitchen table (Jan /Spring 2013)
32) Have handyman put phone outlet in home office (Jan /Feb 2013)
33) Have handyman change all 2 prong outlets to 3 prong outlets (Jan/ Feb 2013)
34) Have carpenter & electrician reroute breakers and enlarge bedroom closet access
(Spring/ Summer 2013)
35) De-clutter 2 rooms of my house–hopefully permanently - Completed (2/2) Hoping this lasts…
36) Learn how to re-finish wooden tables and re-finish my kitchen table
37) Downsize the stuff in our house - In progress

Travel & Family Vacations
38) Go back to Chattanooga, Tennessee
39) Go back to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Oct/ Nov 2013)
40) Go back to Disney in Orlando (Nov /Dec 2013)
41) Visit Harry Potter Themepark at Universal Studios (Nov/ Dec 2013)
42) Set reservations for Disney in Nov/ Dec (plane tickets, dining) (May/ Jun 2013)
43) Go to Hawaii
44) Go to Paris

Other Structures Around Home
45) Clean out and organize barn (Spring/ Summer 2013)
46) Clean out and organize shop (Spring/ Summer 2013)
47) Clean out and organize storage room (Winter/ Spring 2013)

Family Time
48) Spend one-on-one quality time twice a week with Hallie (tv is not quality time) - In progress
49) Try at least one new recipe per week - In Progress (5/1001) – The lentil soup is fabulous!!!
50) Have 10 family picnics
51) Try 10 new restaurants - In progress (does it count if it’s new to Hallie, but not me?)
Cock of the Walk was pretty good. The chicken. I’m not a fried fish fan. I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.  Restaurant was new to Hallie, not me.
Outback Steakhouse - only thing good was the salad (Blue Cheese Wedge). The food wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t good enough to ever go back. Service was ok. The so-called steak made us sad. It was tiny, skinny, not juicy, sort of bland. 1 out of 5 stars. I went to OS several years ago and it was better back then.  Restaurant was new to Hallie, not me.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit - AWESOME!  Fall of the bone ribs!  The turkey is awesome.  The barbecue baked beans totally rock!  The baked potato casserole is downright tasty!  We will be eating there again.  And inexpensive.
52) Go fruit picking
53) Stargaze and look for shooting stars

Computer, Photography, Drawing, Writing, Ancestry
54) Clean out my various email inboxes and folders (2013) - In Progress
55) Unsubscribe from emails I never read (2013) - In Progress
56) Edit, save, and organize photos on flashdrives, and label all (Winter/ Spring 2013) - In Progress
57) Post at least once a week to my ‘adjusting your focus’ blog (52 weeks thingy) - Failed
58) Write creatively for at least 15-30 minutes per day every day of the week - In progress (some/1001)
59) Post at least once a month to my ‘time for chow’ blog – (should have done that with The Cock of the Walk one, eh?) - Failed
60) Update my photo website at least once per month - Failed
61) Check my photo website email and main personal email account daily - In progress (most/1001)
62) Send and track 200 photo queries to magazines, stock sites and publications
63) Post at least once a week to my ‘become more me’ blog - (I’m thinking of just sticking to one blog.  Trying to simplify.) - Failed
64) Check my friend’s blogs at least once per week - In progress
65) Create an Excel spreadsheet for my business expenses and income for 2013
66) Track and document my business deductions and receipts for 2013
67) Send & track 200 writing queries (2013)
68) Compile 1st draft of my book - In progress
69) Publish my book
70) Learn about the settings on my camera and use them - In progress
71) Resubscribe to ancestry.com (could also go under Money)
72) Resume drawing: sketch some of my favorite subjects - In progress…  Not all progress is good, though…
73) Submit something to a writing contest
74) Take at least 30 photos per month of favorite family members, pets, our homes, our land, and different sorts of things - In progress
75) Finish weeding through my bookmarks
76) Scan in all unscanned photos
77) Print out all unprinted photos
78) Update all my lists

Reading
79) Read one book a week (Jan thru Dec 2013) - In progress (perhaps I should change to one book every 2 weeks…   Re-reading The Hobbit (read before as a child)
Read The Prayer of Jabez (1/143 weeks)
Also reading Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

80) Read 30 literature classics - In Progress

81) Re-read all of the Harry Potter books in a row

Learning & Education
82) Relearn the constellations and teach them to Hallie
83) Learn the basics of French
84) Learn how to can tomatoes

Personal & Misc
85) Update will
86) Write three things I’m grateful for every day - In progress (most days, so probably 80/1001) I thank God every day, out loud.  Does that count?
87) Not swear for a whole week - Completed (2/14) (Made it 20 days in a row, then broke)
88) Spend a whole weekend without computer or internet access
89) Do some volunteer work
90) Dance in the rain
91) Go to the zoo
92) Go ice skating
93) Complete the 5000 Question Survey
94) Complete “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind” - Completed 01/11/13 YEAH BABY!!!!  BOOYAH!

Money & Finance
95) Get up to date with Hallie’s college savings account
96) Pay off all debt
97) Save money for vacation
98) Save money for Christmas
99) Save $5 for every task I complete - In Progress (5/101)
100) Start a new retirement fund
101) Acquire health insurance

In progress: 22
Completed: 5
Failed: 6

I also made a new page so it’s easier to find My 101 Things in 1001 Days.

And, this completes My Project 366 – posting a photo every day of the year of 2012.

And onward to my new project – posting at least once per week (52 weeks) of accomplishing My 101 Things, and although I’m great at adding things to my To Do list and Projects list, I’m gonna try not to do that, and just complete all those tasks I’ve set for myself and just get those done.  There’s quite a bit to tackle, as you can see.  I’ve got almost 3 years to get it done, so I’m gonna work at it super duper hard, every single day.

Honestly, it’s a bit overwhelming, but not enough to strike fear into my heart, and not enough to start doubting myself.  Nope, I’ve worked on this list since July and I’ve narrowed it to those things that I feel most passionate about, at least for the next 2 to 3 years – the most important of those being Family (friends are included here), Health & Fitness, and Writing & Photography.  When I began the list, I had about 200 things I wanted to complete.  Glad the title is 101 Things.  ;)

So, at the end of this year, I would like to propose a toast:

To you, your friendship, your kindness, your inspiration, your genius, your talent, your health, your family, your happiness.

To me, my family, and all those same things.

I toast to us and all our greatest ambitions, to another year we made it through, and to this upcoming year, full of dreams, goals and anticipation.

May our new year of 2013 be filled with endless wonder, more laughter and good times than tears, more good health than sickness, and more productivity and accomplishments than failures.  Although, failures are not all bad.  They, too, have something to teach us.  And remember, if there is something you want to do, quit waiting as I have.  There is no failure in trying.  The sin is never trying at all.

God speed.  And I will be checking on each one of you and your accomplishments and in everything you try and I’ll be cheering you on!  What have you been putting off because of fear?  YOLO (You Only Live Once, or so they tell us).  GO FOR IT!!!  What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?  I believe in you.  And I believe in me.  And remember, “With God, all things are possible.”  We can do anything we put our minds to.  All it takes sometimes is adjusting your focus.  ;)

Cheers!  Drink up!

Love ya!  *smooch*

-Carol

Day 366 of My Project 366!  I really did it!  Yeah, man!  Whoop-whoop!  I CAN do anything I set my mind to!!  I AM a winner!!  I AM going to accomplish all I set out to do!!

Red and Green…and Imagining

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I was clickin’ through pictures, and I believe I may have posted this one before, but I don’t care.  The red and green remind me of Christmas.  The path and stairway look magical as if to lead to limitless magic and (to borrow words from Warehouse 13:) endless wonder.  We were already surrounded by boundless beauty, as we were in Rock City Gardens in Chattanooga, Tennessee – one of our all time favorite places.

Rock City Gardens is one of the most beautiful places on earth – right up there in the top 10.  I am such a huge fan of rocks.  Small rocks, crystals, stones.  Medium sized for sitting on, climbing.  And gynormous ones for their striking beauty, majesty, strength, and again, climbing.  Oh, did I mention how much I love to climb?  Besides that, Rock City is full of beautiful shades of green, but truly, there are all colors of the rainbow that can be found along the paths of Rock City Gardens.  Once you’ve been, you’ll want to go again and again.  It never looks the same.  It never gets boring.  It is always breathtaking.  Plus, once you get to the top of Lookout Mountain, you can see 7 states all at once.  Now, how cool is that?
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Back to magical stairways.
Mama, Hallie and I went to the movies to see The Hobbit today.  Awesome!!!!  I’m a huge sci-fi fan.  I love Lord of the Rings.  Love J. R. R. Tolkien.  Love most anything filmed in New Zealand.  And many parts of Rock City Gardens seem as mystical as those meandering paths, hills and lands traveled by Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, as well as their many traveling companions.

What can you imagine is under that cliff?  What’s at the top of the stairway?  Use that colorful imagination of yours.  What kind of story can you come up with.  Sounds fun!  I think I’ll go write!

Nighty night!  God speed!  Sleep tight!  Adventuresome dreams!

*squish*

-Carol

Go Tell It On The Mountain

that Jesus Christ is born!! He is the reason for the season, ya know? Thanks God, for sending Jesus. Thanks for Christmas – the best birthday of all.

One of my top 10 places to visit, and we have visited this place more often than any other. Chattanooga, Tennessee.

My favorite destinations, thus far:
Blue Ridge Mountains/ Blue Ridge Parkway/ Shenandoah Parkway, USA
Anchorage, Alaska (and the outskirts), USA
Montana, USA
Wyoming, USA
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA
Norman & Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (and the outskirts), USA
Disney, Orlando, Florida, USA
Anywhere I go with Hallie and Mama
…oh, and I just have to squeeze in an 11th – Sedona, Arizona, USA

What are your top ten destinations?

Meet Me at the Palace

A while back, I posted a few shots of pieces of art by Fernando Castro Pacheco that are on display at the Governor’s Palace in the city’s main plaza – Mérida Yucatán, México (Hallie, Mama and I were there in 2009).

I thought I’d share a little more of the wonderful murals and Governor’s Palace with you.

Some of the 31 enormous works are not true murals, because they weren’t painted directly onto the surface of the walls.

You’re Always On My Mind, Chattanooga

…you’re always on my mind.  I’m so sorry to say we won’t get to see you this year.  Maybe next year, my old dear friend.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have much to be thankful for!

Have a fabulous Friday, and good luck to all you Black Friday shoppers out there.  I’m sitting this one out.  Not in the mood to get rammed with a shopping cart again, by a crazy lady with a running start, nor wait in line for an hour or longer, nor deal with all the insanity that reigns on this craziest day of the year.  Nope, I’m doing most of my shopping online this year.  ;)

Happy day!  Love ya!  *smooch*

-Carol