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  1. The death of a leader – Dr. Stephen Covey

    July 25, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    I was so saddened to hear of the death of Dr. Stephen R. Covey, the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This book was the first personal development-type book I ever read and I still regard it as one of the finest books in its genre of all time.  The only book that ever had more eye-opening impact on my thinking was The Bible.

    I picked up the book a lot of years ago, when I was working as a legal secretary in downtown Baltimore City.  I wandered into a bookstore on my lunch hour, spotted the book and was intrigued. I still recall how revolutionary the very first habit appeared to my early-20’s young self.  Habit One is “Be Proactive.”  Stop acting as though everything and everybody else directs your life. You direct your own life.  It seems very elementary now, but at the time, that was a complete lightbulb moment. Maybe when you’re only 2o years old, you’re still so used to childhood where most things depended on somebody else that some of us are a little late to this epiphany.  That was me – late to the epiphany. But at least I had one!

    I truly began to see that a large amount of what happened in my life was inside of my “circle of influence”; they were things I had power to change. Covey says, “The Circle of Influence is filled with the be’s – I can be more patient, be wise, be loving.  It’s the character focus” (Covey, 1990, p.89). I was in a not-terribly-healthy relationship in my late teens. Covey’s book revealed to me that it wasn’t just how I was treated by That Guy, but how I was allowing That Guy to treat me. My demeanor, my responses, my permission – I invited the behavior I did not like.*  I wish I hadn’t wasted that part of my life, but I’m glad I learned a better way pretty early on.

    The other six habits are certainly worth learning, too. I re-read that book from time to time. One would do well to live with integrity through the additional six habits – Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand, Synergize and Sharpen the Saw.

    Goodbye Covey. You were an outstanding example of a life well-lived.

    -Danielle

    *Don’t misunderstand this as though I am saying battered women “ask for it.” I was not physically abused by That Guy. But there is an element worth considering here if you’re in a relationship that is unfair and imbalanced.


  2. Running on Empty

    July 18, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    I feel like a loser weakling today, much like I felt two running-days ago. I’ve been keeping up the running, though I started running according to the program in Beginning Runner’s Handbook.  A couple of injuries led me to stop running all-terrain through the woods and to switch to the beautiful Western Regional Park not far from my home. Nicely laid-out asphalt running trails provided courtesy of Howard County deep-pocketed taxpayers. Seriously, that is one incredibly nice park.

    So, I’ve been running in run/walk intervals according to the book and was doing just fine, thankyouverymuch. But I am having a very hard time with 3/1 intervals for 40 minutes.  I have not made it through the whole set successfully yet. I’ve bailed twice now, with about 2 more intervals to go.

    I have no idea why I’m breaking down so early, and by “early” I mean compared to the visions I had of one day sticking a “13.1” or “26.2” sticker on my van. I’m already seriously reconsidering the 8k I thought I would run in August with my friend. I’m ready to hurl my Pineapple Smoothie all over the fine Western Regional trail before a marathoner would even break a sweat. It’s very demoralizing.

    Now, although I am running pretty early – 7:00 – 7:30ish – it has been hotter than the seventh stage of the Underworld around here, and I never have been too durable in the heat. So, when I’ve only run 6 intervals and I’m already sweating like a steer at the county fair, it may have something to do with our record-setting heat. But maybe that’s just a lame excuse. I really think it should not be so terrible difficult just to get a few miles under my belt on a regular basis.

    I have already been to the doctor a couple of months ago and everything they checked me for was good. No thyroid problems, no metabolic issues, good hemoglobin scores.  Did they miss something, though? Anemia? Lyme Disease? Or am I just in age denial? Or am I just being a weenie who needs to push a little? I don’t know. But today I feel like a loser non-runner self-deluded slug. Advice appreciated.

     

    -Danielle


  3. The Life of a Purse

    July 7, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    I have a friend I’ve taken with me everywhere for over a year now. Her name is Big Betsy and she is a descendant of someone named Vera.  Here is Big Betsy:

     

    Isn’t she cute? I love the shape, cut and size of this purse. I also still love the black-and-white print. I started thinking about getting a new Betsy, in purple, because I like that pattern, too.

    But why, though? I like my current purse just fine. Why do I start to think Betsy is just too darned old and I’ve got to replace her with a younger Betsy? I started to realize what a wasteful way of thinking this was. It is typical western thinking; in fact, some would marvel that I’ve used only that purse for this long.

    Why is it not typical to use things all the way up anymore? I still like everything about the purse, yet still feel some unaccountable urge to replace the purse because it is “old.” I would even buy a purse that is identical in shape and size and different only in color.

    The one complaint I could make that has actual merit is that the straps are worn some in the center, where they go over my shoulder.  However, I can easily see how I would remedy this.  I could cut two pieces of black “leather” fabric and make it like a sleeve that covers and reinforces the center of the strap.  This could even be done such that it appears it was designed that way from the start.

    I’ve been thinking perhaps I’ll just continue to use this purse for a long time into the future.  Sort of just see how much use I can get out of it. I wonder how many women actually do this.

    I recall a conversation with a soccer mom who told me she cleaned out her garage and could not understand how it was that there were about a dozen discarded backpacks in there. “There were all these backpacks in usable condition! I guess we just bought the kids new backpacks each school year without realizing it wasn’t really necessary.”

    That is why I don’t buy new backpacks – or lunchboxes – until I’ve seen a real problem with the current one.  Only my Magnificent daughter has a newer one, which I got her for high school; before then, all of my kids had their original (Target) backpacks and “Arctic Cool” lunch bags. I bought her new one because her old one was torn. I expect her newer one to last at least through high school and perhaps through college.

    The bag I use for college was a diaper bag I bought before we went to Disney in 2005. (Don’t worry; it isn’t lavender with teddy bears on it!) I will admit, I have considered replacing it with a rolling attache or something else that looks more adult. But I do enjoy using something fully, rather than running out to buy new. For the next however-long, I’m still going to be using the red Land’s End backpack (that was a diaper bag). It even has a little padded slot in the back, that was meant for a diaper changing pad, but fits my Macbook, so how perfect is that?

    -Danielle


  4. Serendipity

    June 18, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    It’s weird when things dovetail. When they just fall out of the sky and land joined together, right in your lap. I like it and at the same time, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up a little.

    I was thinking of doing a book review on here for a great book I recently read called The Power of Story, by Jim Loehr.  This is a fascinating form of self-help (I hate that term), personal growth book. It’s very oriented towards the corporate world, but the application is relevant to anyone.  The gist of the book is that our lives are stories, stories with multiple threads, such as fitness, spiritual life, relationships, work, etc.  The author continues the story metaphor throughout and towards the end, urges you to physically write one or more “new stories” for yourself in whatever area needs a new story. Being a writer, I am intrigued by this form of exercise. And yet, the 240-page book is sitting with a bookmark inserted at page 233, where I balked and hesitated about actually writing a new story or two. It is inexplicably hard to actually write a new story, especially when you know you’re writing it because you plan to make that story yours. The copy sitting on my nightstand is a library copy, due tomorrow, and I’m out of renewals. I think a secret place in me wanted the book to go back before I made myself write a new story.

    So, there I am, ignoring story, even while I’m telling myself in the back of my mind that that’s a great idea, a worthy goal, definitely something I need to do. I stroll into Barnes & Nobel, killing time (and clearly, needing another book to read about as badly as I need a side of bacon, having a wanna-read list as long as my arm and about 6 kindle books in the queue already). I meander over to the Christian section, thinking I want to read Seven Sacred Pauses. I spot a few books by Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz, which I loved.  He has a book out called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, so I flip through and impulsively decide to buy it.

    Here’s where it gets weird. By page 39, Don says this, “…I wondered whether a person could plan a story for his life and live it intentionally.”  What you need to know is that is the exact premise of the book The Power of Story. The exact premise. Don continues to use this story metaphor in speaking about areas of his life he wants to get straightened out. He even has a chapter where he spoke to a friend of his about the story happening in this man’s family and the man abruptly decided to go build an orphanage in Mexico. Helping orphans. There’s a story I’ve had nibbling at the edges of my brain for about 10 years. More serendipity. Totally goes with Jen Hatmaker’s 7 as well.

    Someone Higher Up wants to tell some stories with me, I think. It’s weird and fascinating when coincidences line up this way. I feel like I have a sixth sense turned on, like I’m getting the “feelies” about something about to happen. It makes me excited, even as it scares me to death. I’ve followed these sorts of trails before and they haven’t always gone well. But then, maybe that was just Part I of a good story. I just need the courage to write the rest.

    -Danielle

     


  5. 7

    June 11, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    First – a quick update. Operation Quit Coffee is a total success. It’s not even registering as a big deal.  The only thing I can say gave me a twinge of regret was when I came down this morning and Blue Collar Guy had already got the stuff brewing – that is one seriously drooly smell, people!  But I made my tea like a good little girl and stepped away from the java.

    Second – my head is full. I went to the Life Point Church ladies’ Girls’ Weekend Out. We had Jen Hatmaker come speak. She is truly great. She debuted her new book “7” and spoke about some of the topics in 7.  Seven is about giving up 7 things in 7 different categories, over 7 months, one category per month.  She focused in particular on food, clothing, possessions and spending. (The other categories are Media, Stress, and Waste.) Right up my alley, folks! Totally something I preach all the time. (Why didn’t I have the brilliant idea to write the book, one wonders? But I digress…)

    The difference in what I say and what she says is that she is focused on helping the poor. So – when she looks at a closet crammed with clothing, she sees money that could have dug a well in Africa. I cannot profess to anything so nobel – so far. I am very bothered by greed, excess and waste, but I haven’t seen it much through the lens of those who couldn’t dream of such riches. My main schtick is that all this excess is a psychological burden, as well as an actual burden when you have to clean, store, stack, organize and move clutter. If it’s piled up in your closet, it’s piled up in your brain as well.

    She mentioned a couple of statistics that should seriously make you sick to your stomach, such as Americans spend 20 billion dollars a year on their pets. 12 billion dollars a year on makeup. Children starve over 80% of the world, while we buy rhinestone-covered collars for our Labradoodles. Little porcelain dog dishes that say “Princess” on them. It is ghastly.

    There are two things that are hard in this equation, though, and neither of them is difficulty parting with stuff (for me).

    1. I am not an entity unto my own. I’m not the main earner and I can’t make unilateral decisions on the management of money and belongings. So, even if I would happily sell my house, move into a micro-home and give away every thing that is not crucial for our survival, I have four other people who have their own opinions on the matter. It’s probably better in a way, because it’s not rare for me to get carried away with an idea and I might be dangerous to myself if left entirely to my own emotional judgement.

    2. Here’s the more substantial quandry: where do you draw the line? So, as I said, it is lucky that I have a line-drawer to whom I’m wed, because who knows what I might do otherwise, but even so – when is it just stupid to not buy something because it could go to the Ethiopians? I could live a perfectly fine life with half my clothing. Even if I only had 3 shirts and 2 pants, I would be better off than many in the world. What would be appropriate to do, then? Direct all the money I previously would have spent in a year on clothes to Ethiopia and just stick with a handful that are perfectly adequate? I don’t know. I don’t have that part figured out yet.

    Or consider the pet expenditures again. Now, being a die-hard pragmatist, there are no rhinestone collars on any animal here and I would never dream of owning a Labradoodle, which is essentially an overpriced mutt. Still, have dog, feed dog. I don’t go for fancy food, but I’m a step or two above Ol’ Roy from Walmart. Also, there are my dear, sweet kitties. They don’t need much, but I do provide Cat Chow, lest they step up the array of headless wildlife they trot into my garage. Even if I’m conservative in pet expenses, what does this mean I should be doing instead? Should I add up the couple hundred I spend a year and just send an annual check to some worthy cause? Should I rally up a bunch of other people to join me? (I’m not much of a rallier, though.) I guess I’m just asking if a teensy bit of good does any good at all. I just don’t know exactly how this fits or what this needs to look like for me.

    Don’t misunderstand me. I loved Jen Hatmaker and I loved her project and the resulting book. It’s creating the kind of back-of-the-mind irritant that does usually end up being something good, but I haven’t sorted it yet. I’ve been cryin’ about waste and wipes and water bottles for ten years, while wearing the same pair of jeans because it would make me sick to no end to pop into Buckle and drop a couple o’ Benjamins on PANTS for my BUTT. So – I just don’t know what to do with my pricked conscience that was already bleeding over waste in general and is now bleeding for actual living children who are indescribably destitute.

    I haven’t made my last mention of this, to be sure. I’m outta words for the moment, however.

     

    -Danielle


  6. The Top Five Most Useless Products

    June 5, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    This is not an exhaustive list, but as I flip through catalogs while I eat my lunch, it never ceases to amaze me that there could be a market for certain products. I’ll grant you – sometimes, they’re marginal. I can conceive that someone, somewhere with a lot of disposable income and endless kitchen cabinetry might want these things. Take for example, the Stuffed Burger Press.  I mean, okay, $14.95 is hardly a fortune and the kids might get a kick out of eating their burgers with the cheese pressed on the inside, rather than sitting conventionally atop the meat, but it should at least register before you click “Add to Cart” that this is hardly a kitchen must-have.  Still, there are a few products that it is seriously hard for me to conceive of any person coveting enough to buy. Here are my top five recently-encountered products that I find utterly useless*:

    1. Monogrammed Forged Steak Brand – If you are so vain that your steak needs to bear your initials, you need professional intervention.

    2. Adjustable Tablet Stand – Taking laziness to new extremes, because it’s so taxing to sit all the way up  while you use your iPad. All for the low, low price of $159.99  Plus, what happens when you foolishly flop down on the living room couch and begin browsing, only to recall that you left your convenient stand upstairs by your bed?

    Insta-Tall Max 2 Inch Adjustable Gel Lifts by Body Trends As Seen on TV

    3. Insta-Tall Max Heel Lifts – I’m not short of stature, so maybe I just don’t get it, but I can’t imagine anyone being so desperate to be a couple inches taller that they would find it acceptable to shove plastic lifts in their shoes. I’m sure nobody will notice your heel protruding 2″ up from the back of your penny loafers. How ’bout just live in the height the good Lord gave you? Sheesh.

    4. Meatloaf Starter – Meatloaf starter?  Because nobody can figure out the hard-to-come-by, top-secret ingredients of onions, green pepper, an egg, some cracker crumbs and a good fistful of ketchup? Why did people begin making meatloaf in the first place? It was to stretch ground beef inexpensively to feed a few more mouths. But the company hawking Meatloaf Starter wants you to pay $12.50 for their jarred version. Grandma would roll over in her grave.

    SodaStream Fizz Home Soda Maker

    5. Soda Stream Machine – Okay, at least this one could make sense from a practical standpoint, if your family already drinks a lot of soda. It would reduce soda can waste and, though I haven’t run the numbers, probably is less expensive than buying soda. Still, is it a goal of yours to make it possible for family members to make themselves a soda any time they have the notion?  A far better goal would be reducing or eliminating soda from your diet.

     

     

     

     

     

    I’m sure there are many more, but I found these barely looking. Once, I saw a show that featured The Ultimate Cheepskate, Jeff Yeager. He said something that really stood out for me. He said he and his wife decided long ago that they were not going to “upgrade” their life-style; that the life-style they had at that time was satisfactory. I cannot say I fully embrace that principle – I do love my smartphone as much as the next girl – but there’s an idea there I can really get behind. It’s certainly better not to continuously look for the next gadget to acquire, which 0ften requires other gadgets to keep itself moving along. You buy the soda gadget and then you need to replace the CO2 indicator and you need the corn syrup garbage to make it taste like a soda and you need electricity to power it…Isn’t it easier to just drink water?

    -Danielle

    * Should you disagree and do, in fact, find these to be highly useful, feel free to mention it in a comment. But I doubt you will change my mind. 😉


  7. Blending Trumps Juicing

    May 31, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    I’ve been giving a lot of thought and some research to this Juice Fast thing. For the time being, I’ve decided to continue with blending once or twice a day and not do the juice fast until/unless I happen upon a juicer that is cheap or free. I’m always leery of new ideas or directions that require you to spend a bunch of dough before you can see if there’s any benefit and juicing gives me a strong vibe in that vein.

    I’m also not convinced that it is necessary to go as extreme as the juice fast, at least, not for someone in generally good health without a ton of extra fat. I’ve already lost a couple of pounds just by blending once or twice a day and by keeping it clean over Memorial weekend, when I clearly could have scarfed a bunch of my mother-in-law’s “Magic Bars.” (Yes – I always say, they are magical – Abracadabra! Ten extra pounds! They’re killer delish, though.)

    I’ve mostly made smoothies in the same genre as the one I first mentioned: pineapple, banana and strawberry, sometimes with coconut oil, sometimes without. (I still can’t make up my mind about that atrocious saturated fat aspect.) Today I made my first honest-to-goodness Green Smoothie, which I wanted for nutrition’s sake, but had serious doubts about drinking. It looked like this:

    It was made from:

    1 banana

    about 1 cup of crushed ice

    1 apple, peeled and cored

    1/2 head of romaine lettuce.

    I cannot say it tasted delicious, wonderful, amazing or on par with that Raspberry Sorbet I had at Drover’s last week, but it was palatable and approached tasty. My youngest even drank some. Then he burped and said his burp smelled like barf, so your mileage may vary. I think there’s just a natural revulsion to drinking a green liquid, which we no doubt associate with pond scum, caterpillar guts or rotten cheese, but if you can get past it and judge it strictly on actual taste, you’ll be fine. Besides – I need the Vitamin A; I can’t see worth a darn.

    Should you be wondering, I don’t have a fancy-schmancy blender, either; no VitaMix or BlendTech here. I just have a garden-variety Oster that was probably a wedding present 17 years ago. I did just see that Consumer Reports ranks a blender called the Ninja on par with the $400 VitaMix and it’s only $60. If I needed a new blender, I would be trying out the Ninja. Proof that it’s not always the money that determines the quality. Oh! And also – over the weekend, I made some smoothies at our beach house and the only blender we have there is an Oster most likely from the 1940’s or similar time period. Very exceedingly old. Worked great.

    I’m always in favor of using what you have if it will suffice and that is why I’m continuing with the Smoothie thing for now.

     

    -Danielle


  8. Train the Kids to Be Self-Sufficient

    May 28, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

     

    There are two schools of thought regarding how much help to expect from your kids around the home front. There is somebody in my life, Exhibit A, who believes the children have their “work”: Do well in school and their extracurriculars. Exhibit A believes that the parents’ jobs are to provide the environment necessary for the children to eat and remain in clean surroundings, while also bringing in the literal and figurative bacon to sustain the operation. The children are freed from the burden of maintaining household cleanliness as well as from creating food for themselves or the family, so they can focus all their efforts and energy on their own “work” of getting a 4.0 at school and doing well on swim team.

    Then there is the other school of thought, where the parents believe that all members of the family contribute according to their ability to keep the household in order, secure food and prepare it, bring in an income if possible and still do their best in whatever their occupational “work” happens to be – school, employment, infant care, homeschooling, college or other.

    I subscribe to the later. I guess that makes me Exhibit B. There are 3 main reasons why I believe children must do some of the work around the home:

    1) It trains them to be self-sufficient

    2) It trains them to consider the needs of others

    3) More skills are always preferable to fewer skills

    First, it trains them to be self-sufficient. It is never far from my mind that I’m not just raising a bunch of babies, I’m growing the future adults of the world. I think any typical 13-year-old should be able to competently make a complete meal from scratch and with a fair amount of complexity.  But I don’t expect them to wake up the day they turn 13 and be magically able to do so.  They learn first, when they are 11 and 12 (or younger) how to make cookies, how to make a salad, how to prepare vegetables, how to assemble a sandwich.  By the time they’re 12, they are on their way to being able to make an easier meal – say, spaghetti dinner – with little help and advising. I keep helping them until they can comfortably make a main meal with a couple of sides with little more than a cursory glance from me from time to time, or a suggestion from the wings on how to chop more efficiently, or how much olive oil to use, say.

    I don’t want my kids to enter adulthood with no idea how to put together a meal or make a thing in the world that doesn’t pour out of a can or come in a microwavable tray. By the same token, I want them to have good skills for cleaning up the same kitchen efficiently and well. (Although the “treat” in my house is that if you make the meal, you are excused from clean-up duties.)

    Second, it trains them to consider the needs of others. In my opinion, Exhibit A is training the kids to grow up thinking that their work is all that matters, that what keeps them busy excuses them from extending a helping hand to a spouse or a roommate who might be doing quite a lot to keep the household running. Now, I will grant you, it’s entirely possible that kids growing up with Exhibit A’s school of thought will still manage to get a clue as adults and will in fact, not turn into self-centered loafs. Human behavior is never simple. They might marry straight-shooter spouses who will tell them to get their two good legs in the kitchen and help clean up. Or maybe they’ll find God or Buddha or a Cosmic Being who reinvents their mind and makes them want to help out because they’re just so full of loving philanthropism. One never knows. But – generally speaking, you are training them when they’re little in what to expect when they’re big. If the message they hear for 18 years is, “Gee, Johnny, your Algebra and European History and All Star game is so much more important than anything I’m doing to put clean clothes on your back and provide edible meals for you every day that I’ll just manage all the grunt work of life so your way will be clear to do spectacular things,” how are they likely to think when they’re grown? As Stephen Covey says, Begin with the End in Mind.

    Third, aren’t more skills better than fewer skills? I mean, wouldn’t you prefer to be confidently able to clean a bathroom, whip up some French Toast, and mop the kitchen quickly and well, rather than sitting helplessly by, hoping you can stretch your meager budget to cover pizza and a cleaning lady because you’re inept? Hey, in a perfect scenario, sure, I’d probably like to be so wealthy that cooking and cleaning are completely moot. I’d have a personal chef who makes me awesome dairy-free, healthy dinners at a moment’s notice, and a stout British nanny who slips soundlessly into the bathroom before I wake, such that there are fresh roses by my vanity and a fluffy organic cotton towel hanging on a heated robe rack, ready for me to shower whenever the thought happens into my mind…sigh. Yes, that would all be very well and good, but here on my regular-people street, all the cooking and cleaning happens (or doesn’t) on my own watch. Fortunately, my childhood left me with no illusions that I was the center of any universe. I’m giving my children the gift of many skills; should they not need them eventually, well, bully for them, but since there’s a good chance they will, I’m happy to equip them.

    So, I say, equip the little buggers. They’re probably going to need it when they leave the nest and in the meantime, it gives you 30 minutes to put up a blog post.

    -Danielle


  9. The Juice Fast

    May 25, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    I admit. I’m intrigued. My son’s baseball coach has just finished the 10-day juice fast a la Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  He was telling my husband and me about how good it made him feel (after the difficult first 3 days), how he lost 10 pounds and how even his mental acuity was maximized. Never one to shy away from something bizarre and fringe-sounding, I naturally pulled out my calendar and instantly started figuring out when I could feasibly do the fast myself.

    That was last weekend. Since then, I’ve looked up testimonies and asked other people about it. I also watched the movie as well. I’m batting around considerations such as “masticating juicer vs. centrifugal juicer,” a topic I had never heard of until days ago. The only thing keeping me from doing the juice fast starting right this minute is that I’m always slow to buy another gadget. (Well, that and Memorial Weekend food, but I digress.) The Goodwill store is filled with Ab Rollers, Bread Machines, Total Body Gyms and CrockPots from all the people who hear about something and blaze a path to the store to buy a brand new gadget, only to fall quickly off the wagon and never row/bake/slow-cook/massage/whatever again in their lives. Might there even now be juicers – masticating or centrifugal – at a Goodwill near me? I wonder…

    So, what are my issues, you might ask, that would lead me to shun cupcakes and Mike’s Hard for ten days? Well, there’s that god-forsaken “middle-age spread” that’s always nice to avoid. I gained five pounds a couple of months ago and for the time being, it looks like it’s taking up permanent residency. Sort of snuck in under the border fence while I was away with my girlfriends for the weekend and now it thinks it has a right to a driver’s license and a free education.

    Then there are the interesting things nature does with the feminine cycle after the fourth decade of life has broken on the horizon, but I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say, normalizing phytonutrients would be welcome there, too.

    And – okay, I’ll admit it – there’s just something appealing about the challenge. Sort of like, can I beat coffee? And Nachos? (Not the ball-field weird yellow disks with orange glop in the corner of the plastic tray, mind you, but serious nachos, with jalapenos and pico de gallo and spicy beef that makes my nose run – that is what I fear I’d miss!) I’d like to see what could happen. Call it a science experiment.

    This morning, having no juicer yet, I made a fruit smoothie for breakfast, on the thinking that this was at least in the same direction. Here’s what I had:

    About 1/2 cup fresh pineapple

    4-5 strawberries

    1 banana

    1 T coconut oil

    Blend it up. Knock it back.

     

    It was delicious. I am only just now experimenting with coconut oil and can’t make up my mind how I feel about the saturated fat aspect. I will say this, though: the smoothie was completely satisfying. I was not hungry at all until about 1:00. That could be the fat. Coconut oil is supposed to be good for your thyroid, which I may very well require. I don’t know; I haven’t decided about that.

    If I do decide to do the juice fast and work up the nerve to buy an appliance that has the strong potential to wind up in the appliance graveyard, I will blog about it here. If you have any experience with the juice fast, or with raw diets in general, I’m all ears.

     

    -Danielle


  10. The Catalyst

    May 18, 2012 by 25hoursadaymom

    Some people assume I was neat from birth. There probably was some latent gene there, but I do remember a point in time when I was not neat. I actually remember THE turning point when I decided to get my act together and become neat.

    I was 11 years old, very nearly 12. Being from a family of 7 living in a 3-bedroom rancher, naturally I shared a room with at least one sibling for most of my years.  At the time, I was sharing the bunkbeds with my younger sister, M.

    There was a boy named Chris who was a friend of the family. He would come over every so often and I would (believe it or not) sit on his shoulders while he rode his bike. Good times. Anyway, I was so pleased to have Chris as a friend. One day, he wanted to see my drawings. I was an avid artist.  So, he walked down the cramped hallway to the hurricane disaster scene that was the bedroom I shared with M. I could not merely lay my hands on my drawings, as they were every-which-where.  I dragged a tangle of paper, gym shorts, odd socks, hair bows and a missing library book out from under the bed, hoping to find some of my drawings in that mess. Which I did, but not before I noticed him regarding my room with an embarrassed horror.

    “So – this is your room.”

    “Well, M sleeps in here, too.”

    “Nice.”

    *cue chirping crickets*

    It’s the first time I recall feeling seriously ashamed of the state of my room. It was also pretty annoying to not be able to find what I was looking for quickly.

    It was like a switch was flipped. When Chris went home that day, I cleaned that room like my hair was on fire. It was never messy another day in my life. It was the catalyst. Positive peer pressure. Someone on the outside not saying, but obviously thinking, “Good grief, girl! Get your act together! The good people of the world don’t live in a mess like this!”

    I remember reading an article written by a woman who had lost well over a hundred pounds. She had a catalyst situation that flipped the switch and made her decide to get thin. She rode a roller coaster ride at an amusement park, but couldn’t get the safety bar properly seated over her large waist. Embarrassed to mention this, she rode the whole ride terrified she would be flung to her death because she was too big for the safety restraints.  That was her moment. She decided (there’s that word again – “to cut off”) that she would become smaller no matter what. (I no longer recall the source of the article; it was many years ago.)

    If you’re trying to get out from under a mess, or too much padding, or whatever else it is, I ask you, what will be your catalyst? What will be the turning point that makes you decide you must act to reverse an unhappy situation? If you really want to use a scenario like this to your best advantage, don’t wait for it to actually happen, just visualize it. Visualize it until you can fully feel how miserable you would feel if your boss (or your mother-in-law, or your snobby cousin or the lady that heads the homeowner’s association) dropped by unannounced and you had to retrieve a proposal from under somebody’s bed. Or whatever. Just something to make you decide. Then take the next step: decide. Then work on your decision every day. Form a new habit.

    If you do make a new decision, I’d love to hear about it.

    -Danielle