Monday, January 31, 2011

Just For Kicks.

So, I can't believe I am...

A) Posting a video of myself singing. If you know me, you know that my family is made up of rockstars, but unlike them, I have always been very shy about it.

B) Posting a video of me looking homeless. Excuse the nappy hair and minimal makeup. I didn't feel like getting cute to practice guitar. :-)

I am slowly learning guitar, and practicing my favorite songs... filming myself to try and get better. I thought I would share this one. It's "Sheets" by Damien Jurado. Don't blast me too hard, I'm not trying out for Idol.

video


Ciao!

Break-FAST!

Good morning. I am in a super mood this morning. Last night at church we had Night of Worship, which ended our church-wide 21 Day Fast. It was epic, to say the least. What an awesome service. Chris Moncus Photography took some amazing photos too. You can check them out on St. Simons Community Church's Facebook page.

Well, I gave into Facebook a few days early, because I had some networking that needed to be done. However, I still plan to devote most of my energy to my blog and only check FB occasionally. I did stick to my caffeine fast, though. So....guess what I just made?! COFFEE! Oh my goodness, I could do a backflip. I thought I would get used to not having it every day, but I really never did. Needless to say, I was anxiously awaiting this day. I have spent more time in prayer and meditation over the last month, though. I have read more, and thought more. I feel stronger and happier all the time. Fasts are beneficial for anybody seeking more discipline and focus. So far, I am one month into 2011 and I am very satisfied with all the changes I have made. I have really tried not to waste time, not to pre-judge people or situations, and I am learning how to know which relationships to invest in, and which ones to release. So far, so GOOD.

To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping” 
-Chinese Proverb


More to blog about tomorrow! Must do some work now. Here are a couple good songs to check out (both by Brandon Heath):


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Video Shoot



It's been a busy week! Lots of work, gym, and mommy time. Grayson had his 15 month appointment this week too. He weighs 30 pounds and is 32 inches long. Healthy as a horse!

So, my last post was pictures of my buddy Michael. Well, we have all been working so hard to make his first video shoot (My Ferrari) come together nicely, and it finally did! Yesterday was the big day, and it was a blast! There was an awesome turnout, the film crew was amazing, and it all went off without a hitch. I am so proud of him and the big things he is doing. Even though we were all tired, cold and our feet hurt at the end of the day- it was awesome to see everything play out. Go Team Mic!

Here are some pictures from the set...


The old school Chevy

The Porsche

The awesome DJ!

The Ferrari

The dudes who make the music! Sam and BK

Matt and Claudia

Tying the scarf, one of my duties...
Melissa, Michael's sister

Erica, Kendyl and Me 





My little big brother and Me

April and Kevin

I made him get those glasses. Yep, nerd swag.

Action!

Filming

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Click Clack


It's been a good couple of days. I haven't taken any pictures in a while, and yesterday I got to get my fix! My good friend Michael, from Jesup, needed some new photos (he's a recording artist), so I took him out to shoot yesterday evening in Brunswick. We got a lot of great stuff! Here are my favorites:











Me and Michael, trying to look as hardcore as possible.
We had a blast as usual. He's my brother from another mother! I will post some of his music sometime soon. 

In other news, I finally joined the gym to break up my running monotony, and I'm loving it! I am getting ready for the bridge run next month. My favorite gym playlist songs today... are:

Erase Me- Kid Cudi/Kanye
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah You Would- Diddy/Dirty Money
6'7'- Lil Wayne
All of the Lights- Kanye/Rihanna
Firework- Katy Perry

And my favorite.......

Fly- Nicki Minaj/Rihanna





Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tales from the Weekend

 So, pretty much all the original plans for the weekend fell through at some point. Kendyl and I were going to have a girls weekend of some sort. First we discussed Atlanta, then Hilton Head, then ended up staying on the island. Oh well! It was cheaper and easier. I had anticipated getting a new tattoo, but instead, I just got the famously botched wrist tattoo fixed. I went to Tony at X-Ray Tattoos and he did a great job of fixing what he could. I think it at least looks like what it was supposed to look like to begin with. It means "Breathe" in Hebrew, and I got it 4 years ago to remind myself to take a second to calm down and take a breath.
Before......................................................     .........................................................After

I'm still excited about my new one (that I haven't gotten yet)... But, that's a surprise! Don't freak out Daddy, it will be very inconspicuous. :-)

Saturday, we just took it easy. Did some window shopping, and played tourists for the day. Today I went to church, then came home and realized I forgot to check the mail yesterday... Nice surprise- a book I forgot I ordered was in the mailbox! "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga" by Deepak Chopra. Yay! I am so excited to start reading it. So, THEN I made one of my favorite dishes... Spaghetti Carbonara. This is the perfect thing for picky eaters too and it's quick. I will share the recipe I used:

My actual creation!
 Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook spaghetti pasta until al dente. Drain well. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped bacon until slightly crisp; remove and drain onto paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat; add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, and heat in reused large skillet. Add chopped onion, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add minced garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add wine if desired; cook one more minute.
  3. Return cooked bacon to pan; add cooked and drained spaghetti. Toss to coat and heat through, adding more olive oil if it seems dry or is sticking together. Add beaten eggs and cook, tossing constantly with tongs or large fork until eggs are barely set. Quickly add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that bacon and Parmesan are very salty).
  4. Serve immediately with chopped parsley sprinkled on top, and extra Parmesan cheese at table.                 

It was kind of phenomenal! And... I have enough leftovers for the whole week.

In other quick news,  Josh was finally medically discharged from the Navy last week and he is living in Atlanta with our grandparents for now. Grayson is still amazing and happy other than some teething.
Have a great week, and I will close with a really pretty worship song I am learning on the guitar.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Desiderata

I have loved this poem for years. (Shout-out Andrea!)
Every word is true, beautiful and inspiring. I wanted to share it, because this weekend it will be very relevant... (Will explain in a blog this weekend.)

Read and absorb every line. Read it daily. If I could tape it to my forehead (and the forehead of some other people I know), I would. I highlighted my favorite parts.


-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter
,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,  
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.




New song from The Script. Love.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Worry, No More.

I woke up feeling a little worrisome and anxious. No particular reason.
I will probably blog more later... But to start the day, a few positive quotes and a lovely cover of "Smile".

Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. ~Benjamin Franklin


Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. ~Mark Twain


That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. ~Chinese Proverb


How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened. ~Thomas Jefferson




"Fear less, hope more;
Whine less, breathe more;
Talk less, say more;
Hate less, love more;
And all good things are yours."
-Swedish Proverb



HAPPY Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blog Nation

Yo!

If you are into blogs...

100 Must Read Blogs by Women

All categories. Great reads.

Awake 21

I skipped a couple days blogging. For shame!

So, Sunday was crazy busy. On top of regular church in the morning, our small group started that afternoon, and then I went to Night of Prayer that night. Church was great, as usual. Small Group was a blast! We brought our kids, and while they played, we met and discussed. The night of prayer was kicking off a church-wide fast that will last for 21 days. We were encouraged to give up things that we usually enjoy (or even abuse), so that we can meditate, pray and read more. Obviously I gave up Facebook on New Years Day, but in addition, I am only drinking water and no other drinks. Yes, that means no coffee! AHH! Oh well, I shall survive. I am fasting food one day a week, and I am reading the book of Proverbs, one chapter a day. Proverbs is a book of wisdom. Nothing is more powerful than wisdom... So far so good! I'm two days in, and I can't TELL you how bad I wanted sweet tea last night...but anyway.

I will conclude this short blog with a few pictures of my sweet boy...





xoxo

Saturday, January 8, 2011

"All The Single Mamas" *Beyonce Voice*

To my other single mom friends/readers...









I found a new blog I really like about a woman's journey through life with her son, as a single working mom. Ms. Single Mama is cute, inspiring, real, and I love it. She sells a leaf necklace, that symbolizes growth, passion and love. I think it's awesome and I plan to buy one soon! Big thumbs up. I totally recommend her stuff.

I've been dying.

Sooo....


I got a wild hair when I was in Winn Dixie and decided to buy a bottle of black dye. I had a few things that were light colored and/or stained, that I thought might look better black anyway. So, I did it.



Umm. FAIL. They all turned a purplish grey. Haha. Fortunately they were all things I didn't/couldn't wear anyway. The shorts are probably salvagable. Oh well. Better luck next time Betty Homemaker.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dream On

I had to blog this real quick. So, I don't normally dream, but I have been dreaming for the last few days about cleaning house... and last night- I had a super long WEIRD dream that I was cleaning a friend's house and organizing it.... I had to google the interpretation! This is what I found:



To dream that you are cleaning, implies that you are removing some negativity in your life and overcoming major obstacles. You are moving ahead toward a new stage in your life. In particular, if you are cleaning your house, then it means that you need to clear out your thoughts and get rid of your old ways and habits. You are seeking self-improvement. Alternatively, the dream may be a metaphor that you need to "come clean" or tell the whole truth about some situation or matter.
To dream that you are cleaning an object, represents an aspect of yourself that is not working or functioning as well as it should. If you are cleaning the refrigerator or oven, then it indicates that you are getting to root of a matter or situation. It may also indicate feeling so negativity and inferiority. You feel stuck in some area of your life.
To dream that you are cleaning out a desk, suggests that you are getting rid of the burdens that has been weighing you down. You are acknowledging your new choices, decisions, and a new sense of freedom.


(This came from www.dreammoods.com)

Dead on! 

TGIF/Namaste


Between life distractions and sickness, my yoga practice has slipped over the last 8 weeks or so. One of my promises to myself for the new year, was to really re-focus on yoga as a lifestyle. Yoga has so many wonderful physical, mental and spiritual benefits and has proven itself to be consistently therapeutic. Regardless of your religious preference, yoga can assist with meditation, relaxation, discipline, and even catharsis. I still consider myself a novice, but I am dedicated to practicing what I know and challenging myself to learn more as a yogi.

I am fortunate to have access to a phenomenal class here on the island. It's taught by Camden Hock, who is also a life coach. She integrates meditation and even education along with the fitness aspect. UN-fortunately, she only teaches about 2 days a week. I am one of those people who likes to practice with a group, and led by a teacher. That being said, I realize that yoga should be a daily practice, so I must develop a home practice. As you can see in my picture, I set up my mat right in the middle of my living room, open all the windows for light. I begin the morning in lotus for about 15 minutes. There is so much to be said for just sitting. Grounded. Rooting yourself.

I think the easiest way to start the home practice, is with simple sun salutations. It's the easiest, fastest way to breathe, stretch, and energize- especially if you are practicing first thing in the morning, like me. I do ten. If I feel like throwing in some different poses, but if not- saluting the sun is my go-to.

Here is an article on how to do the series from www.yogajournal.com:
__________________________________________________________________________________
By Leila Easa

Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar, are traditionally performed in the morning to greet the new day. The sequence of 8 postures can be a complete practice in itself, or can prepare you for a longer asana routine. Sun Salutes are often performed in sets of 5, but if you are new to the practice it's wise to begin with 2 or 3. Each time you flow through this sequence, synchronize your breath with the movements of your body.


1. To begin, stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose). Distribute your weight evenly over both feet. Establish a slow, steady rhythm for your breath. Find your center.


2. Next, inhale and stretch your arms out to the side and overhead into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Hand Pose). Reach your heart and arms to the heavens, sending your greeting to the sun.


3. As you exhale, hollow out your belly and fold into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), connecting down into the earth. Keep your legs firmly engaged.


4. Inhale and lengthen your spine forward into Ardha Uttanasana (Half Standing Forward Bend). In this pose, the gaze is lifted, the spine is extended, and the fingertips can stay on the floor or rise to the shins.


5. Exhale and step or lightly hop your feet back behind you into Plank Pose. Your wrists should be flat on the floor, shoulder-distance apart, and your feet should be at hip distance. Take a full breath in as you lengthen through your spine.


6. Exhale and lower into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), keeping your legs straight and pushing back into your heels or bringing your knees to the floor. Build heat in the center of your body as you hold this challenging posture.


7. Inhale and carve your chest forward into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog), directing that energy out from your heart. Pull your shoulders back and open your collarbones. Engage your legs but relax your gluteal muscles.


8. Exhale and roll over the toes, coming into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose). Ground down through your hands and feet as you lengthen your spine. Remain here for five breaths.


9. On your fifth exhale, bend your knees and look between your hands. Then inhale and step or lightly hop your feet between your hands, returning to Ardha Uttanasana.


10. Exhale back to Uttanasana, surrendering into the fold.


11. Inhale, reaching your arms out wide to your sides and coming to stand through a flat back. Feel a renewed sense of energy as you draw your arms overhead into Urdhva Hastasana.


12. Exhale and return to Tadasana, your home base. Remain here for a few breaths, feeling the movement of energy through your body, or continue on to your next salute.

__________________________________________________________________________________

I know for me, I have trouble coping with stress at times... if you do too- please give yoga a shot! You can't lose.


Here is my motivational song of the day ("Always" by Switchfoot):


Happy Weekend!
:-)


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Beautiful Dawn


Good Morning! I love this song. The Wailin' Jennys are a Canadian blues group, and I love them. Their sound is awesome, and the lyrics to this song are perfect...


Take me to the breaking of a beautiful dawn

Take me to the place where we come from
Take me to the end so I can see the start
There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me to the place where I don't feel so small
Take me where I don't need to stand so tall
Take me to the edge so I can fall apart
There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me where love isn't up for sale
Take me where our hearts are not so frail
Take me where the fire still owns its spark
There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Teach me how to see when I close my eyes
Teach me to forgive and to apologize
Show me how to love in the darkest dark
There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me where the angels are close at hand
Take me where the ocean meets the sky and the land
Show me to the wisdom of the evening star
There's only one way to mend a broken heart

Take me to the place where I feel no shame
Take me where the courage doesn't need a name
Learning how to cry is the hardest part
There's only one way to mend a broken heart 



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A 15 Month Old Procreation

I just realized that it is the 5th of the month! That means... little GPH is 15 months old. Unreal.

I think this is the most challenging age for me, so far. He is at the point where he clearly knows WHAT he wants, but can't quite communicate it fully. This frustrates him to no end, which results in tantrums. On the other hand, his personality gets more and more hilarious. He tries to be funny, and he loves to laugh.

He had to go to the doctor last week, where he weighed in at 28 pounds. I'm not sure exactly how tall he is, but I know he has grown a lot in the last couple of months based on the high-water britches he's rocking now. He's growing and changing so fast. He finally has a pretty respectable mullet too...

He had a great time opening presents at Christmas. His two most exciting gifts were a wagon, and a tunnel to play in. I am anxiously awaiting warmer weather and more play time outside. He's my little hero!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Food for Thought

Yesterday, I spent a large part of the morning in the all-too-familiar emergency room. You may know that I have been sick for 6 weeks or so, with no apparent immunity to anything. I have had recurrent respiratory infections, kidney infections, kidney stones and other minor things. The newest addition was a bizarre rash that showed up on New Years Day. It didn't look common, and it was spreading pretty quickly over the course of a couple of days. By yesterday, the rash was still progressing and my sinus/respiratory infection was getting worse- so I went to get checked out. First of all, I will express my repeated dismay with not having health insurance and our healthcare system. I am a single mom who lives paycheck to paycheck. When I don't have $200 extra to pay urgent care up front, I have to go to the ER. Not only that, but they recommend that I see a specialist to get worked up for autoimmune diseases like Lupus and Sarcoidosis, which you can't. do. without. insurance. SUCKS.

Any-WAY.

While I was in the waiting room drinking my coffee and NOT Facebooking, I was re-reading the old classic "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie (originally written in 1936). I wanted to share some interesting things he says in the first chapter. He speaks about criticism, saying "Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment." This subject has been on my mind, because it is applicable everywhere. With our kids, in our jobs, and in all relationships. Time after time, psychologists have proven that positive reinforcement and rewards for good behavior result in better results both in animals, and humans. Hans Selye said "As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation."

This is my favorite excerpt from this chapter:

"When dealing with people, let us remember that we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity..... Any fool can criticize and complain, and most fools do. But it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."

I am challenging myself, and maybe you if you are reading- to not condemn, criticize or complain. Instead, try understanding and explore objectivity. Consider positive reinforcement. Consider mercy. We are all on some kind of journey, and we are all fighting our own battles. Judgment will never prove to be productive. Where would we be without having been shown grace at one point or another?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday Funday

Today was day 'o guitar.
I learned lots of new songs. Daddy (the master) came over and showed me some nifty new chords, which was fun! I am excited to start writing a song.

















Good day.

2011

Happy New Year.
Wow. What can I say? 2010 was a huge whirlwind of stress. I moved multiple times, got divorced, started a new job, and countless other minor things in between- and all with a baby/toddler in tow. As a whole, I am happy to be able to release last year to the history books.
I start the new year with goals, resolutions and a renewed sense of self worth. If I learned anything last year, it would simply be that "all that you have, is yourself". I have one body, one mind, one soul. I have one life, and one chance to make it count. I have had moments of incredible strength, and moments of debilitating weakness. However, at the end of the day (or, end of the year)- I'm confident in myself as an individual. Although the way I conduct my day to day life may sometimes appear substandard, today I am secure with my direction, my decisions, and even my mistakes.
Last year was the first year I made 5 resolutions, and I followed through. To share, they were:


1. Run a Race
2. Get back to pre-pregnancy weight
3. Cultivate my photography hobby/education/business
4. Get involved in a Church that I love
5. Give to a charity

By February, I had lost all 60 pounds that I had gained during my pregnancy. In May, I ran my first race on Jekyll Island. I bought a DSLR in January, began portfolio building, and in June- I was blessed to have found my job as Studio Manager for 3181 Photography, where I learn more about my craft every day while making a living. I was able to contribute to the relief in Haiti in January, and in 2010 I re-found my home at St. Simons Community Church, where I have also made some amazing connections with some phenomenal people.

With that said, I am comfortable feeling like resolutions aren't necessarily something that can't be achieved. Even at the end of a tumultuous year, it feels empowering to have at least conquered five goals that I set for myself on 1/1/10.

This year I have endless short and long term goals to better my lifestyle and my physical and mental health. As far as resolutions go, I have seven for 2011...

1. Write my first song
2. Cultivate my musical gifts (guitar, and singing)
3. Run a 10k or +
4. Build and maintain a savings account
5. Go on a mission trip, even if it's local
6. Photograph Grayson at least weekly
7. TRAVEL when able. Even alone.

So, that was my New Years post. I have deleted Facebook for now, as it was becoming too distracting and too controlling. Because of that, I will be keeping my blog updated better and more often for family and friends.

Let the new year commence!