#ThankfulThursday #LiveTheList Challenge


You may recall I decided to participate in Nicki’s Live the List Challenge. Here’s the list, with our completed aspirations crossed off:

  • Have a picnic at Crawfish Springs
  • Take a day-trip to Atlanta
  • Go to AWA (Anime Weekend Atlanta)
  • Go bowling
  • Move into our own place
  • Fix the van (Mind you, part of it was forced)
  • Work towards getting Meredith a license to drive
  • Visit Florida
  • Explore Chattanooga
  • Get White Castle (NOT the freezer aisle stuff)
  • Go to the mall in Chattanooga
  • Hold a Cultivate 2012 conference
  • Pay down our debt
  • Transfer some or all credit card debt to a 0% introductory APR card
  • Make Electrate Editorials a viable business
  • Go to the moves as a family and/ or as a couple
  • Find a local place that sells orange blossom honey
  • Test out local pizzerias
  • Try Choo Choo BBQ
  • Go to One-Eleven
  • Make muffins with Tati
  • Teach Rob how to cook
  • Rob wants to learn how to hit two baseballs with one bat
  • Teach Tati how to jump rope
  • Take the kids to a baseball game
  • Potty train Brian Jr.

It doesn’t look like much, but it was a fun year — and we still have an entire month left in 2012 to accomplish more goals. Whatever we don’t get to this year will be added to next year’s list. We definitely want to keep trying to live up to Nicki’s challenge, and we were very grateful to cross off wishes on our list.


Happy Birthday, @mrsmediocrity!

Today, the very talented Kelly Letky turns 50. That’s quite a milestone to celebrate, and I’d like to celebrate with her. She exudes such wisdom through her poems and carefully sown words. So let’s raise a glass, grab a slice of cake, and celebrate in honor of a great writer and woman!


#MondayMeditations Culmination

As 2012 draws to a close and my Cultivate 2012 December Evaluation nears, I feel compelled to wrap up my year. After all, next month’s going to be busy — Cultivate prompts, working extra hours, preparing for holiday celebrations with my family, etc. This year was about identifying that which wasn’t nurturing me and taking steps to change them. It was about changing the frames I put on every aspect of my life. It was about altering my perspective. It was about taking time to worry about my health and well-being. I halted work on a lot of projects from about March through August. I’m still reluctant to move forward until I’ve gotten my own priorities with regards to my Cultivate project settled. I need clarity and centering before I can move forward on a lot of my ideas.

This year also brought with it some much needed change. Last year was about surviving a difficult period of time. This year has been about thriving after the devastation. It’s painful to reflect on, but it must be remembered — that chapter of my life has encouraged me to build safety nets into my life to prevent such unpleasantness ever again. Hitting the bottom sucks. I know my family isn’t the first (or last) family to suffer through such a rough patch, and that’s why I want to offer hope to anyone who may be dealing with the distress of losing your home, packing up, and moving in with relatives. It won’t last forever, and you will regain your foothold in life. It will test your very being, and it will test your relationships. Don’t worry. You can survive. The culmination of your strife will taste bittersweet, but it will feel like a great relief.

It’s been quite a year, and I think I’m content with how it’s gone. 2012 has cleared my path and given me inspiration to pursue my dreams. I’m looking forward to evaluating my year next month, and I’m looking forward to everything 2013 will bring.


#ThankfulThursday Happy #Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my U.S. readers! Today’s the set day in our country for which we sit down with family and friends over big meals to give thanks for all that we have. My family celebrated on Tuesday because I was scheduled to work today, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still going to observe the tradition of thankfulness on this day celebrating gratitude. Here’s a list of all the things I’m thankful for this year:

  • We have our very own place to call our own, with our very own kitchen that we don’t have to share with anyone else.
  • I’m still employed and helping my family regain our financial foundation.
  • Our van still works and provides us the mobility to get from Point A to all our other points in life.
  • My children are more than spoiled by relatives — they have much to be thankful for (and to clean up).
  • We’re enjoying four seasons.
  • My community loves and supports us.

May your Thanksgiving (or ordinary Thankful Thursday) be a day of appreciation and gratitude!


#MondayMeditations Arbitrary Dates

My job has me working a variable schedule from week to week, so we knew that our Thanksgiving would need to be observed on a day other than the traditional third Thursday in November this year. Really, though, why should the date of observation make a difference? Any day is a good day to sit down with family and celebrate our gratitude and appreciation. It’s arbitrary. I’m more than content to celebrate with my family tomorrow, spending the day preparing a big meal to share with my family and in-laws, eating plenty of turkey, and later tossing the carved up turkey carcass into the crock pot with a mirepoix and aromatics for an overnight simmering into rich, comforting turkey broth. I’ll be making my own gluten free biscuits (and maybe even gluten free stuffing, if I’ve managed to find a gluten free bread mix in time). I enjoy seeing how happy my family is, gathered around a table piled high with food. It’s not an everyday occurrence, but we all love having plates full of goodies and munching leftovers in the coming days.

Another tradition we’ll be observing another day is our day-after-Thanksgiving Christmas decorating. Last year we really didn’t get to enjoy that — we lived in someone else’s home. Our personal tree had broken before the move, so we made due with enjoying my in-laws’ tree. This year, we’ve got a new tree (that I’m very grateful we could afford) to decorate, and we always love snacking on meat, cheese, crackers, popcorn, and hot chocolate while we decorate together. I work the day after Thanksgiving this year, but somehow I’m off all weekend. We’ll be taking time both days to uphold our family tradition — because it’s really all about family. The holiday and date aren’t what’s important. It’s the togetherness. Anyone from any religion or tradition can find comfort and appreciation in togetherness. It doesn’t have to be blood family, either. You can enjoy togetherness with your chosen family, too. Our Internet age makes it easier for families living hundreds and thousands of miles apart to spend time together, too.

It’s all arbitrary — so spend time together regardless. The clock won’t turn backwards.


#FoodieFriday Salted Chocolate Bark with Almonds


I was struck by a very specific chocolate craving the other day, and I happened to have leftover chocolate chips from a snack mix I made. It’s super simple.

Salted Chocolate Bark with Almonds
1 cup chocolate chips or pieces
1/2 tsp salt
slivered almonds (add desired amount)

Grease a small cookie sheet, plate, or whatever you’ve got lying around. Line it with wax paper. Grease the wax paper. Put the chocolate chips/ pieces in a microwave safe bowl (or a double boiler if you desire), and sprinkle on the salt. Heat the chocolate chips for 1 minute. Stir. Heat for another 30 seconds. Stir in the slivered almonds. Spread the mixture across the wax paper. Chill in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Break into pieces and enjoy! See? Super fast, and super simple — so fast and simple that I never captured a picture. Oops!



#ThankfulThursday Enough

Too many times I find myself worrying about what I don’t have. I worry about what I owe, how fast the clock is ticking, etc. A conversation I had with my husband made me realize I’m not looking up enough to see that I have enough. We have our very own place to call our own. This time last year, we were desperately hoping for something like this to appear from line air. We have our van, despite the fact that it nearly died on us in August. Our community rallied around us during our time of need and helped us manage to get through that rough time. Family helped pay the cost of fixing our van. We’re alive. We have food. We have clothes. The kids have more than enough toys — too many toys, actually. We may not have our own house on our own land where we grow our own food. I may not be making money by my own ventures. But for right now, we have enough. I have a job that contributes to our bills and necessities. We have enough of what we need, and I’m content with enough. Enough is plenty. Enough is comfortable. Enough is cozy.


November #Cultivate2012

As I write this, I’ve finished all but two prompts for the December Cultivate 2012 prompt series. The series will cover ourselves, our relationships, our communities, our dreams, and our intentions for 2013. I have written the prompts so as to encourage and foster my aspirations, but I see room for others to benefit from the prompts as well — and that’s been my hope all along. I want other people to cultivate themselves and their lives as well because I desire to see others feel happiness. The world is a brighter place when we’re smiling at each other, encouraging each other, and coexisting peacefully. I’d like to see others nurture their relationships, communities, and dreams. We all need people to give us love and support. We need to build and cultivate our communities to see continued growth and progress. We especially need to believe in our dreams and take steps to living our dreams. Dreams are what keep us moving, in my humble opinion. I welcome everyone who reads this to join me on a journey to living a life worth loving.

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#MondayMeditations Healing

I spent the majority of last month sick with a cold — or perhaps more than one cold, or even something more severe than just a simple “cold.” Regardless of what ailed me, I’m only just recently breathing easier and feeling less fatigued, congested, and ill. It took a lot of effort and patience on my part. I drank plenty of tea and herbal infusions, ate soups and chili, dressed comfortably, and attempted to rest as much as possible. I found myself wishing I could simply make the leap to my master plans sooner rather than later, but I know that’s unrealistic and ill-advised at this point. I’ve needed to exercise a lot of patience with regards to my current circumstances. Let’s reiterate once again that patience isn’t one of my virtues. I wait with a great level of anxiety, which serves to weaken my immunity.

Let’s list ways in which I can serve my immune system better and promote healing:

  • Practice good posture
  • Drink plenty of fluids, even when faced with adversity to my water breaks
  • Sleep instead of doing [insert silly activity that can wait until after a decent night’s sleep]
  • Make healthy, healing food at home instead of grabbing cheap, overly-salted, overly-processed food on work days
  • Write out my thoughts, dreams, daily lists
  • Practice meditation
  • Practice yoga
  • Exercise (walking, belly dancing, etc.)

I know this. I know all of these things. Why is it that I seemingly ignore these basic practices during times when I need to practice them more than normal? I must cultivate my ability to promote self-healing. I must cultivate patience.