Small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

6/30/13

Setting Goals

I think life is all about goals. Goals keep us focused, put things into perspective, and make us happier. Having felt a little overwhelmed lately with all the things I want to accomplish and do, I thought maybe blogging about, and writing down my goals would help me to stay focused. I've made a list of my three major long term goals. The first goal is a family goal, while the other two are personal goals. They are as follows...

  • Become debt free
  • Lose 25 pounds
  • Better myself professionally

We sold our house in November and moved onto my Dad's property with one goal in mind, pay off our debt. We both accumulated some student loan debt during college, but when Adam started his masters degree it really became a huge burden. In order to meet our 5, 10, and 20 yr plans we know we have to pay off this debt. This is our first and biggest goal. My personal biggest goal is to lose 25 pounds. Since the weather has become hot, I've had a hard time maintaining my motivation to work out and eat right. There is so much to do during the summer so instead of focusing on exercise I've been focusing on having fun and enjoying myself. This often leads to eating more and while I haven't gained any weight lately, I haven't been feeling good about myself since falling behind. I know I've lost my focus and weight gain is just a matter of time and that will make me very unhappy. Another personal struggle I've been dealing with for awhile is my career, or feeling of lack there of. I'm not sure what life will be like in 5 years for us, but I've decided to do everything I can to better myself right now. I recently went through the process to become eligible for higher level jobs at UPS but now I have to wait for them to open. I've also decided that while I wait for a position to open, I'll take the Brokerage Exam and try to become a licensed broker. There are only 11,000 licensed brokers nationwide and while passing the test will not guarantee me a raise, it will put me in a much better position both at UPS and other companies. It just so happens that a study class is starting on July 9th for anyone wanting to take the October test. The class will require lots of work, but it is the best thing I can do for myself professionally at this point and time.

In an effort to keep myself accountable and stay focused on these long term goals I've decided to make short term weekly goals that I can focus on and that will ultimately help me achieve the long term goals.

To become debt free this week I am going to...
Monitor spending at least every other day. This means check Quicken (which Adam updates) and see where we stand with our monthly budget. Being aware of my spending helps me to spend less.
Pack lunch all week. It's a short 4 day week with the 4th of July and I packed my lunch today so the goal is to continue through Wednesday.
Spend $0 other than gas this week- Usually through the week I will get breakfast one morning at Panera or stop and get an ice cream for Landon and I on a hot day. Not this week.

To help me lose 25 pounds this week I am going to...
Log all food that goes into my mouth all week long. This week I'm going to focus more on the habit of logging the food than staying within my calorie count.
No fast food this week. This means no Panera Breakfast sandwich either. I cry.
Exercise every night this week. AMBER is starting a July 30 day shred challenge tomorrow. It's an exercise video I've done before and I know it's a good one. I'm going to try to keep up with her and the other bloggers.

To better myself professionally this week I am going too...
Study at least one hour a night through the week.
Complete all homework for my first class on July 9th.

6/28/13

Damn, That Was Awesome!

Adam showed me a pretty neat video last night. I found it VERY inspirational and wanted to share. What touched me the most is when he says, "We think our heroes have to be good at throwing or catching balls and then we sit down on a bar stool, drink beer and watch them have the time of their life on a tv screen. My heroes are my belay partners, blind people who cross the street by themselves, and those that discover that inside, we are capable of surprising ourselves. We all have dreams, but they don't mean much if we put them in a drawer labeled 'someday'"



Maybe you won't rock climb or ever be nearly as adventurous as the man narrating this video, but the overall message can apply to us all. "Because I don't want to say, 'I wish'. I want to say, 'Damn. That was awesome!" 

6/27/13

Overbooked

I mentioned in an earlier post how Dennis Prager interviewed Elizabeth Becker about her new book Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism. It's been a few weeks since I finished the book and wanted to share a number things that I found particularly interesting. This book focuses on the economic aspects of tourism. The book is broken up into chapters of different countries and focuses on France, Cambodia, Zambia, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, China and America. It also focuses on the cities of Venice and Dubai as well as the cruising industry.

Here's a few random facts that stood out to me...

Travel is one of  the biggest industry in the world, if not the biggest. It is hard to really study the magnitude of the travel industry although the World Tourism Organization in Madrid is taking it on. Travel ranks at least on par with other world leading industries such as oil, finance, trade, and manufacturing. Tourism is the biggest employer in the world with nearly 250 million associated jobs. In 2009, it contributed $5.477 trillion dollars in jobs which equated to 9% of the world's GDP. Tourism creates over $3 billion dollars a DAY in business. In 2012 1 billion people left their home country and traveled abroad.

Started as a marketing gimmick by American Airlines in 1981,  if frequent flyer miles were a currency, they would be worth as much as some of the more valuable countries in the world. In 2005, frequent- flyer miles were worth more than all of the US dollars in circulation, prompting some legislators to wonder if they should be taxed.

France is the most visited country in the world. It welcomes over 78 million visitors a year which bring in more than $48 billion dollars in revenue!!! It beat out the former champion, the US, by understanding how important tourism was to their economy and making it an integral part of their governmental decisions. They always have learned that people are drawn to their country for one reason- the very French-ness. They have capitalized on that and maintained it. Yet the biggest attraction in all of France is Disneyland Paris.

Venice has a population of less than 60,000 yet sees over 20 million tourists visit the city every year. Because the cost of living has become too high for locals, Venice is losing it's authenticity. For example, most people who are buying the famous Murano glass are actually buying glass made in China. Very few real Murano glass shops and factories exist in Venice anymore. On of the few exceptions is L'Isola which is a local artist showroom and off the beaten path. Most visitors will never enter their doors.

Cruising is the fastest growing and most profitable segment of the travel industry. Most cruise ships will headquarter and base out of the US, France, Great Britain or Norway, but they register their ships in a foreign country, such as Liberia. Registering in Liberia will cost the the cruise ships a hefty registration fee, but won't require them to pay income tax, minimum wages, vacation or overtime. The average salary on a cruise ship is $50 a month. The majority of a cruise ship workers pay comes from tips.

Dubai requires more energy per person that any other place in the world. Everything in Dubai is imported. Dubai has the first underwater hotel, 60 feet below sea level. It has the world's tallest building, more than two empire state buildings stacked together. It also has the world's largest artificial islands, costing $12 billion to build. The citizens of Dubai  pay no taxes, no duties, have free housing and subsidized utilities, but there are very few citizens. Of the over 3 million working population, 85% are foreigners. Most of the workers live in labor camps under conditions that would be illegal in most countries.

Africa is the second largest continent, but it's population is less than that of India. While Africa has a reputation for their rain forests and jungles, they only make up 8% of the continent. In the last 15 years Norway has given Zambia over $715 million in developmental aid to underwrite their wildlife conservation. Norway, a  fellow nature country, realizes the need for Africa to safeguard it's natural habitat.

In the 1980's a Swedish school teacher visited Costa Rica and was upset with degradation of the forest. She went back to Sweden and convinced her class to help raise money to buy some land. Her nine year old students collected enough money to purchase 35 acres, but news spread and the campaign grew to schools all over the world. They were eventually able to create the Children's Eternal Rainforest which now encompasses 17,500 acres of untouchable land.

It wasn't until 1991 that Chinese citizens could travel abroad for leisure. In the first years they were required to give a $3,000 surety bond that they would return to China. A number of people never did. Australia and New Zealand were the first countries approved for them to visit. By 2011 the list had grown to 135 countries including the US. Chinese are BIG on shopping and allow it take up over 65% of their travel budget. In 2011 they spend $55 billion dollars worldwide.  In China, it is a crime to own a picture of the Dalai Lama and the penalty for killing a panda bear is death. For the Olympics, China spent $40 billion and moved more than 1 million people from their homes.

In the first decade of the 21st century, tourism increased worldwide by 52%. In the US it only grew by 1.5%. From late 2001-2006 the number of foreign visitors to the US has dropped citing visa issues as the main cause.Vegas, New York and Orlando share the turf for the most visited US Cities. The US National Park system had 285 million visitors in 2009, while the top ten theme park chains saw 326 million. The US is the only wealthy nation that does not require employers to give paid vacations to their employees. Ted Turner is the largest single landowner in the United States. He has bought over 2 million acres of land and put most of it under conservation easement.

This book is full of interesting facts and information about the industry. Instead of hitting the main themes of the book or each chapter, I wanted to relay some of the facts that I found most interesting. If you find this information compelling, then the book is worth a read. The author goes through each chapter talking about tourism and the impact it has had on each country. It really makes you stop and think about the way you travel and how you want to travel in the future. The book tells the story of a young girl in Gambia being asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. She answered, "When I grow up I want to be a tourist, because tourist don't have to work and can spend their days sitting in the sun, eating and drinking." Traveling is an enjoyable experience for everyone worldwide, but this book opens up the behind-the-scenes of a past time we all love so much.

6/24/13

Am I cray cray?

This weekend started out mildly. Adam's Mom had her hip replaced last week so we spent most of the Friday at her house. Landon's favorite person in the world, his cousin Taylor, or "cha-cha" as Landon calls him, came over as well. I took the boys for frozen yogurt but overall it was a pretty uneventful day.

Saturday, we woke up and went to Noni's house. Since Lynn had her hip replaced I took over all the pool duties this year. I vacuumed the pool and back washed it before we spent the early afternoon playing and getting some sun. "Cha-cha" came over to swim as well as a few other of Katherine's friends. It was a hot day and swimming in the pool was the perfect way to spend it. Here's a little video of Landon jumping off the diving board and kicking himself to the ladder. I think he is going to take after his Mommy and be a little fish!


Saturday evening we went over to my brother and sister-in-law's house for a get together with them and our friends. They just came back from a trip to Turkey and Norway so we were excited to catch up and hang out. Marty made a wonderful dinner of pulled pork BBQ, spicy cole slaw, and loaded potato salad. I tried one of my 100,000 appetizer recipes that I have been dying to try; 5 layer Italian Dip. Let me tell you, it was AMAZING! And the best part was that it took no time to make or bake.


Unfortunately, there are no pictures of it after I baked it. Mainly because it was devoured in just a few minutes. Please believe me when I say it was easy and delicious. HERE is the recipe. I made it exactly as it says, but to clarify I used sun dried tomato pesto. Marty also made a lemon strawberry shortcake which was AMAZING as well. Who doesn't love strawberry shortcake in the summer? The lemon shortcakes were the perfect compliment to the strawberries. HERE is the recipe. I could eat it everyday.

Excuse the chlorine mess of my hair

We ate, hung out and chatted about their trip. They even brought us back a few gifts...

Whale, Moose, and Reindeer Sausage for Adam

Amazing Arm Bangle for me from Istanbul!




Sultan Landon


















We are so lucky to have the best friends and family. The gifts were nice of them, but it's just spending time with them that makes me feel blessed. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again, there is nothing better than having amazing people in your life. Things are just things, but people are invaluable.

I love these girls dearly
Sunday, I actually went to work for the first time in awhile. It was hard to get up at 5:30 and drag my butt out of bed while Adam was still snoring and the sun hadn't come up, but Sunday's are an easy day at work and I had one thing to get me through this...


It's just the best chicken salad ever at my favorite place ever, Huber's. One of my oldest friends is getting married in October and I'm in the wedding. We, along with her other two bridesmaids, have been getting together about once a month to hang out and do wedding stuff. This month we thought it would be fun to take a girls trip to Huber's. Since I'm a member we were all able to do a free wine tasting. I thought I had tried almost all of the wines at Huber's, but I found a new wine that I hadn't had before, it's called Autumn Frost. Let me say, it is officially my favorite wine ever! It is a mix of honey, apricots, and orange blossom. It's seasonal only, comes in a tiny bottle and cost $36.99!!! Why do I have to fall in love with expensive wine? I held off buying a bottle, but I think I'm going to get one next time I go. After our wine tasting, I had that amazing chicken salad seen above and we shared a pitcher of their blackberry sangria. BEST. LUNCH. EVER! We ended the day with a little shopping at their farmers market. We had a great day!


When I finally got home at 7pm Adam decided that he wanted to go to Red River Gorge and shoot the Supermoon. Obviously, I am cray cray, because even though I had already been up for 14 hours, the gorge was 2.5 hours away, and I was supposed to work the next day, I agreed to go with him. We first went to the gorge on his birthday which I talked about HERE and we really enjoyed it. Adam had been talking about going back to get pictures at night and thought the supermoon would be perfect. Since my Mom watches Landon on Monday's we took him over to her house and at 10pm started the drive to the gorge. I definitely slept most of the way to the gorge and most of the way home, but it was worth it. It's so fun to watch Adam work. He really has a great gift in knowing and understanding the camera. When we first arrived the moon was covered with clouds, but as the night progressed the clouds gave way and the valley became engulfed with fog. It was stunning. We want to go back again when there is no moon to see the stars in all their glory.

Our world and that beyond it is just stunning. It's worth taking the time to enjoy it every once in a while. I'm glad we went even though we didn't get home until 6am and I had to use one of my coveted sick days from work today. Maybe I am cray cray, but spending time with my best man, being spontaneous, and a little crazy keeps life fun.  Helen Keller said, "Life is either a great adventure or nothing". Here's to another weekend of living life!

6/20/13

DP Week in Review

Another week and another dose of wisdom from the man Adam is officially calling my boyfriend. While there is no reason for Adam to feel threatened, I do feel like Dennis Prager has become an integral part of my life and daily routine. 

The ultimate issues hour last week was asking the question 'what is the mirror of a person’s character'. Prager explains the mirror of the body is a physical mirror and the mirror of the mind is writing. He says that the mirror of character is not what you think, but is how you act. Actions are an expression of character. Another mirror of how you act is how people react to you. If people are constantly falling away from you then that is sign that your character may be flawed. He also asked if people care about their character. Most people care about their looks, but he argues that vast number of people probably don’t care if they are a good person or not. He thinks most people are more preoccupied with being successful, making a living, having good a life, being good looking, being popular and having fun than they are about being good. To be able to be a good person you have to think about it all the time. It’s a constant preoccupation just as much as looking good preoccupies most people. 

When I first got home from the hospital after my ordeal I was constantly searching for my purpose. In the end I decided to stop asking questions and just try to live the best life I could. I am one of those people that has become preoccupied with being a good person. One caller said he believed 80% of people want to be good, but their perception of being good is a heck of a lot different than his. He claimed people can justify anything they want long as it goes in their favor. I felt that man was speaking my mind. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’m far from it, but I try to be good every single day. I try to do what is right, I try to always tell the truth, and maintain my integrity. I try to stay out of the gossip at work and not make fun of people. Do I fail at times? Yes, but I am constantly thinking about it and trying to improve. 

Doing what you know is right isn't always easy. Just last week I was at work talking to two people when they started to make fun of another co-worker. It made me feel awful. I didn't join in, but I was present in the conversation and it made me feel so bad just to be associating with them. What they were saying was immature anyway and I'm pretty sure the person they were talking about heard their name mentioned. I don’t try to be popular at work for this very reason. I try to be nice to everyone, but I’ve found there are so many people who are lacking good character that is it really hard to find many friends. In the same way, I also find that being a good person has allowed people to walk over me. As I try to always do the right thing I also try to be nice to everyone and sometimes that opens the doors for people to take advantage me. I really struggle with standing up for myself and others when I think there is wrong doing. Like at work I said nothing instead of standing up and saying something. Adam has no problem standing up for what is right, but sometimes that gets perceived as him being a jerk. So does being good only mean doing good and never standing up for what is good? I don’t think so, but I think standing up for what it is good is even harder than being good. At least it's what I find to be more of a struggle.

Prager mentions there are more books in developing your abdomen than there are developing your character. He says that being good also means how you behave in the car when no one is around. It made me think of the lady I called a name earlier today for cutting me off. See? I told you I'm not perfect. He mentions that if you ask people if they are a good baseball players most will say no. If you ask a man if they are good business man then they are usually pretty honest and objective in their response. Yet, when he went on the street and asked people if they were good, every single one said yes. Is everyone really good though? Goodness is the most important area of one’s life and the aspect people are least critical of. 

Prager says the secularization of society has coincided with the decline in character development. I'd have to agree. Prager mentioned that the saying in the Old Testament of, “I am God” is an appendage to a Jewish law that you can get away with something because no one is watching. For example, "treat the orphan good, I am God." No one knows how will you treat the orphan other than God. If there is no God then what is the reason to treat the orphan good? Prager ends the hour by saying that we live in this age of stupidity that rejects ancient wisdom. That today we believe that the intention of doing good is all that is needed to be a good person, but that is foolish. This is the belief that we should rely on our heart, because our heart is inherently good. I’d like to talk more about this topic another time. I think there is a lot to be said about intentions and actions and goodness. Many people think they are a good person and allow that to excuse their behaviors even when they know they are wrong. I don’t know where society fits into “calling out” people on their actions, but I know for me, my goodness is strictly defined by my religion and if I didn’t have that I would be lost. Being a good person would be much harder to do, because I wouldn't be able to define goodness.

This week’s male/ female hour was a wake up call for me. Prager touched on theory that he has made based on years of observation. The theory is that something happens to a lot of woman at the age of 29 in the way that they look at life. This is so strong that it may be a cause of a disproportionate number of martial breakups. He feels like something happens to woman that makes them ask who am I? What am I? What do I want in life? Why I am in this marriage? Why am I am in this work? And it overtakes them. It’s the equivalent of a man’s mid life crisis. 

So I just turned 28 last week and will be 29 before I know it. Let me start by saying that I cannot in any way relate to having a relationship crisis. That being said, I can relate to everything else. What am I doing in my career? What do I want in life? Do I want more children? Where do I want to be in five years? What do I want to be doing? What is my purpose? I’ve started to question everything (expect my marriage). Even worse, I feel like time is starting to speed up and time is slipping away and I need to figure EVERYTHING out NOW!!!! One caller said it starts around 26 and for me it started around 27. I had always attributed it almost losing my life. I’ve been feeling it more and more the last year and now that I know and understand that I am not the only person that feels this way, I feel so much better. It hasn't made the feeling go away, but at least I can talk about it with other women and I have. Turns out I am really not alone here.

A 60 year old woman called and suggested that women feel this way because they want to do it all, accomplish it all, and always want to get better. At 29 she thinks woman start to realize that life is passing by quickly and it may be hard to do everything they want to do. Men can go to their job and feel accomplished and happy in just that, but woman feel the need to multitask in accomplishments and life. YES! I agree. Another caller said that around 29 women start to feel life passing by very quickly. She also said that our culture attributes so much to youth and beauty and women get close to 30 they begin to feel like there are only a few good years left and they begin to wonder if there is something better for them out there. YES! I agree. Except I don't feel like there are better men out there, but that I need accomplish things in my youth or I will be old and regret it.

Prager's advice is to ask the important questions before we turn 29 so that alarm clock inside ourselves isn't as loud. Who I am? What do I want in life? What about children? Is marriage really important to me? The less life hits you with surprises the better you can deal with it. He says to look to older people for advice, because they have wisdom. I've always been a advocate for goals. I want to sit down this weekend and make some goals for myself. I also want to spend some time writing down and answering these important questions in a way to sort out what I want and how to get there.

The happiness hour was about Father’s since Father’s Day was Sunday. Prager brought up the New York Times symposium-What are Father’s For. Click THIS link to see it. Most of the guest writers said Father’s are not necessary. I tried to read it all, but I got disgusted at some of the articles and just had to stop. It’s a lie that a child doesn’t need a Father. I don’t know why anyone thinks that a Mother’s role is any more important than the role of the Father. Both are important and beneficial in ways that the other cannot be. As Prager points out, boys need their fathers to show them how to become a man, to be a model. Otherwise, the just become old boys. I know Adam is, and will be, a great role model for Landon. That is one of the reasons that I married him. Father’s also bring security. I can already see that with Landon and Adam. Landon trusts Adam 110% because he feels secure with him. That’s why when Adam tells Landon to jump off the diving board and he will catch him, Landon does. The sense of trust and security is 100% . I should know because I even feel that way with Adam. It’s a gift men have.

Many of the callers grew up with Father’s who had serious problems. In turn, they married a man very different so that they could have a successful family. I love this! I’ve never understood how so many people can continue the cycle and why they put the responsibility on their parents for the way that they are. If your Father was an alcoholic, that is all the more the reason to not drink; to discontinue the cycle. It’s much smarter to watch others and learn from their mistakes than to learn from your own. It will make life easier for you in the long run and cause a lot less pain and suffering. 

I was lucky enough to have a great Father. Despite my parents divorcing at a young age, my Dad made sure that he maintained his duty as a parent. He was always there for me when I needed him and even when I thought that I didn’t. He taught me values, life lessons, practical lessons and so much else. Most importantly though, he was present. No one is perfect. My Father isn’t and Adam isn’t. But that's ok. A parent's job is to teach and protect their child until they are an adult and hope that what you’ve done is enough for the child to be successful. The definition of success may be subjective, but no measure of success can be achieved if they are not around. Father’s have a bad rap and maybe a lot of it is deserved, but the role of a Father is invaluable for a child. I’m blessed that Landon has two of them to emulate as he grows up.

6/19/13

Wedding Anniversary

Today is our four year wedding anniversary. We got engaged on my 19th birthday and my Dad was terrified that we would elope. Instead, we dated for over six years before finally getting married. We bought our house about nine months before getting married and didn’t live together until we brought home our first son, the furry one, in January of the year we were married. If there is one single piece of advice I could give people that are single, dating, or about to get married, it is to date, date, and date. I know we had a long engagement by today’s standards, but I think that our length of dating is directly related to how well we knew each other and how amazing these past four years have been. There were no surprises in that first year of marriage despite having not lived together long before getting married. And once you get married the best thing you can do for your marriage is to date, date, and date. A very wise man, our best man in our wedding, told us that the key to a successful marriage is to court everyday. That means 'date' for people under 50. I agree 110%.

Tonight, we will go out to dinner and watch our wedding video. It’s our anniversary tradition. We don’t spend a lot of money or have a big celebration. Instead, we spend the evening watching our wedding Mass and reliving the words Father Bill said to us on that very special day. In his homily, Father Bill talked about having a pure love that transcends all. A God-like love for each other that people outside of our marriage can see.

I know we’ve only been married for four years, but the most important thing I will ever accomplish is reaching that goal of our love transcending our marriage and spilling onto others. It’s the love of God and as Father Bill put it, a gift to others and not just ourselves. There is a quote by Bruce R McConkie, a famous LDS minster, which says, "I believe that the most important single thing that you will ever do in this world is to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority." I know that many people have already been touched by Adam’s love and dedication to me. It’s the most humbling, rewarding, and fulfilling thing I have experienced in my lifetime. We hope one day to be able to counsel young couples getting married in the Catholic Church as we were counseled by our Deacon and his wife. Although we were dedicated and committed in our hearts from very early on, we both know the importance and significance that June 19, 2009 was for each of us, ourselves as a couple, our family, and our friends.

PS. Want to know what I got Adam as a wedding gift? Check out THIS post from way back in 2010.





6/18/13

The Lewis Summer Bucket List


I’ve seen a number of people make a Summer Bucket List and I thought it would be a fun thing to do. It will be even more enjoyable of an activity when Landon is old enough to participate and so I'm hoping this can become a tradition. If I asked him right now what he wanted to do this Summer he would say “Go outside” over and over. The child would sleep outside if we let him. So for now, I’ve come up with a list of things for us to do as a family, as well as a separate summer list for Adam and I. Gotta keep the love alive!

Family List
Visit the Zoo
Shave with Daddy
Water Park and Playground at Beckley Station
Pick Berries - Check!
Outdoor movie at the zoo
Get Landon jumping off the diving board - Check!
Big Water Gun Fight
End of Summer Pool Party
Watch the stars on the roof
Watch the planes take off from Bowman Field
Picnic in the park
Get milkshakes
Visit Henry’s Ark
Catch fireflies
Make homemade bubbles
Weekly Swim Lessons
4th of July Party
Make Smores
Visit the beach
Go to a Bat’s Game


Adult List
Go Kayaking
See a movie at the Drive in - Check!
Go Rock Climbing
Go to a Batting Cage
Take a trip
Do the Trolley Hop
Walking Tour of Louisville
Have a Bonfire
Go Hiking
Take a Distillery Tour
Go Horseback riding
Lake Weekend with Friends

6/17/13

I’m Too Old For This

This weekend kicked my butt. It was fun, just like every other weekend, but I can honestly say that it made me realize something…I’m getting old. For real.

Friday, Landon and I spent the morning at a playground near our house. I thought he would love it, but I think it was actually a little too big for him and he was overwhelmed. We played for about 2 hours, but he wasn’t crazy over it and I had to play with him sometimes to keep him going.


After lunch and a nap we headed to Noni’s house to play in the pool. Adam got off work and joined us. I stopped at a Walgreen's on the way and loaded up on some much needed pool supplies: swimmies, new sunglasses, new pool ball and swim diapers.


He was so excited to go to the pool and I can officially say he absolutely LOVES it this year. After a little convincing he finally got the hang of the swimmies and was fine when we let go of him to let him swim around on his own. His big problem now is that he gets excited easily and opens his mouth really big which makes him drink a bunch of water. I guess a little chlorine never hurt anyone, but then he starts coughing and we have to pick him up for a minute. Hopefully he will get the hang of it soon. We practiced blowing bubbles in the water, kicking, swimming, floating, and going under. Having given kids swim lessons when I was a lifeguard, I know kids love the water and love to learn to swim and play in the pool. From what I saw, fear comes from the parents either not reassuring them or making them scared of the water. The more we encouraged Landon to do in the pool, the more he relaxed and wanted to do things. He must have jumped off the diving board 20 times.


Every time, he would come up, get the water out of his eyes, and say “try again”. He even got to the point where we didn’t try to catch him and just let him come up on his own. I’d like to get him a pair of goggles so the water doesn’t bother his eyes, but I’m not sure he would keep them on.

After some pool time we took Landon to my Mom’s house. It was an adult weekend and so Landon stayed with my Mom most of the weekend. After we dropped him off, we went to dinner and then to the drive-in for a double feature. I LOVE the drive-in. We went for the first time last Summer and I had no idea what I was missing. It’s a great date night!!! Since we have a station wagon we fold down the back seats and set up a bed in the back. It’s so comfortable and the best way to see a movie.


We saw Man of Steel and The Great Gatsby. I enjoyed both of them although neither are going to go down as my favorite movie. Since the drive-in is outside and can only be seen in the dark, the first movie didn’t start until almost 10pm. Needless to say, we were getting into bed right at 4am. That used to be normal for us, but now we never stay up that late anymore. It's really been years since I have. I was just glad Landon wasn’t home to wake us up at 8am. We got to sleep in past 11am. Woohoo!

Saturday, once we were finally up and moving, we worked a bit around the house. I helped my Dad organize another section of his garage. He is almost done and it looks great. I’m just hoping he keeps it up. He has tendencies to be messy, but I know how good it feels for him to get organized and hopefully that will motivate him to keep it up.

That night we met up with some friends for their birthday. We went to dinner and then to O’Sheas for drinks. This is probably the third time I’ve been to a bar… in my whole life. I’m not, and never was, a frequenter of bars. Thank god! My girlfriend and I split a bottle of wine and enjoyed a few drinks.


It was nice to sit out and the patio and talk, but we overstayed our welcome. We should have left around 11:30pm, because that is when the teenagers started showing up. I kid you not, most of these kids looked 14 years old. They were carding at the door, but I honestly do not believe half of these kids were 21 years old. However old these kids were, they were idiots. They were are sloppy drunk, being obnoxious and doing anything they could for attention. I may not have always made the best decisions, but thank god I never went through that stage. We left at 1am and although I enjoyed the atmosphere of O’Sheas and the company, I will be sure to only go back for dinner and drinks before 11pm. 

Since it was well past 2am when I finally went to bed, I ended up calling in on Sunday. There was no way I was getting up at 5:45 when my alarm went off. It was worth being able to sleep in and once we were up and seriously dragging (two nights in a row was too much) I got myself together went to the grocery and picked up Landon. This year’s Father Day was pretty relaxed, probably because both Adam and I were just beat from the two previous nights. I made a nice big dinner and we had my Dad and Step-mom over. We didn’t do anything special or really much of anything at all. I only took one picture all day long of Adam holding Landon when he first woke up from his nap.


Even though we didn’t do anything big, I hope my Dad and Adam always know what wonderful Fathers they are. I wouldn’t trade either of them for the world. I know the guidance and influence my Father had on me growing up made me a lot of the person that I am today. I see Adam being an amazing parent to Landon and I look forward to seeing them working on science projects and cars together in the future. He has already taught him so much in his two little years that I smile just thinking about their future together. There is nothing in this world that makes me happier than seeing Adam and Landon together. I just hope that Landon can be half the man his father is, because if he is, he will be a great man, husband, and father of his own.

6/13/13

Best DP Week Ever

This last week of Dennis Prager was the BEST EVER!!! Want to know why? It's because I CALLED AND GOT ON THE SHOW!!! AHHHH!!! I'm still so super excited about having actually talked to Dennis. 

I called on this weeks ultimate issues hour which was about God’s interventions in our individual lives. Do you believe that God intervenes in our individual lives? Or do you think he intervenes in nation's, but not individual lives? Prager mentions that he is agnostic on the issue; He just doesn't know. He says he has evolved in the long run to not knowing because both sides make sense and neither side reflects on God’s knowledge or love for us. Just because he knows and loves us doesn’t mean he will intervene. Prager says it is clear that God has intervened in SOME people’s lives, but that doesn’t mean he has intervened in everyone’s life. He says one reason he feels like God may not intervene is because there are so many innocent people who die everyday. Why are some more deserving of God’s intervention? He believes that God sees all and knows all and in the afterlife there is an accounting. One thing he mentions in the middle of the hour is that maybe people who have a good life have a easier time feeling like God has intervened, than the people who have lead terrible lives. He also asked if it could be possible that God has a plan for all people, but allows it to be thwarted by evil and natural events such as cancer or tornados?

I called in to agree with Prager. When he took my call I told him about my sickness and how I survived even though I was given very slim chances. When I came out of it, everyone told me that God saved me for my son. I told him about my friend from school, Courtney, and how she had a similar situation and died despite having three small children. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and he had to go to break. I wanted to tell him how I struggled for so long with "why me and not her" and how I had come to resolve it by stopping to think that way. When he came back from break, Prager said that he believes God intervenes in some people’s life and maybe that was the case with my life, but not my friends. He stated he didn’t know why God does what he does. He mentioned a Hebrew saying “If I knew him, I’d be him.” Which Prager followed up by saying "I so understand God that I cannot understand God’s ways." I was very emotional when I called and had to really try to hold back tears. I was disappointed in myself for not using my time better and telling Prager right away that I agreed with him. I was so nervous to get on the air that I became long winded. Still, I am so happy that I was able to get on during that hour. Its subject really hit a chord with me and afterwards it prompted me to write an open letter to Courtney. Prager’s response and the saying he recited touched me as well. The only way I was able to move on with my life was to stop questioning God and his motives which is exactly what “If I knew him, I’d be him” means to Prager and myself.

The Male/Female hour was about THIS article on how people date today. Today’s dates are setup online or through text and many people don’t spend time one on one like they used to. Having been with Adam for over ten years now, I cannot really understand today’s dating culture. I know if I were single I wouldn’t appreciate someone reaching out to me via text. Two days after our first date, which was a blind date on a Friday night, he called me on the phone. I have no idea what we talked about that night, but we spoke on the phone for well over an hour. We scheduled a second date for that Wednesday, but I ended up getting sick that week and we were not able to go out again until Saturday. We had a our second date on Saturday, met up again on Monday and then saw each other every single day from there on out. In our first year together I missed seeing him one day because I was away visiting U of K. Other than that, it was years before we spent any time apart. We didn’t live together until we bought our first house, but he ALWAYS went out of his way to see me. Sometimes he would drive all the way to my house after getting off work, buy me flowers, and wake me up by crawling through my bedroom window before my Mom got up for work and I had to go to school. He was thoughtful and romantic always leaving me notes and doing anything he could to see me. Today’s dating culture is just one more reason why I am happy to be married and not single. Having a boy, I hope to raise him with same type of characteristics that his Father has. I want to him to always call the girl, not text just text her, to open doors, buy flowers for no reason, and most importantly make her feel special. They say kids learn by example and if that is the case, Landon has the world’s best example in his Father.

Prager starts out the Happiness our by saying he wanted to address one of the most basic elements in being happy. He states if you teach this to your child, then this alone is more valuable than sending your kid to Havard. His main point was that you will never be happy if you always do only what you want. He states that it is a complex issue because while only doing what you want will not bring you happiness, neither will never doing what you want. The idea that he says people should teach their children is to understand that usually their wants and their happiness are at conflict with one another. All kids do is want, more, more, more. Prager says it is a good idea to teach your children to do one thing a day that they don’t want to do. He says by nature we are lazy, but we need to fight our nature which is called self discipline. Prager suggests doing the things you don't want to do first so you can do the things you do want to do later. Disciplines eventually become habits and habits become second nature over time. I think being disciplined and doing things you don't want to at least once a day is good thing and not just for kids. Prager gives the example of eating healthy food instead of the food you'd prefer to have. I think this is a great example and something I struggle with everyday. Whenever I eat "bad" food such as fast food I always end up being unhappy. Knowing how unhealthy it is and knowing it how unhappy I am afterwards should be reason enough for me not to eat it, but sometimes I just WANT it and its hard to control the urge. Maybe consciously thinking about the reason I want it and how I will feel afterwards would help to me not give in. This doesn't just apply to food. I know there are many times I come home from work tired for the day and just want to sit on the couch and veg for the rest of the night. Some nights I do and I always feel unhappy at the end of the night when it's time to go bed and I haven't done anything all night. Other nights I will get up and do one thing, like the dishes, usually once I've gotten up and done one thing my mood starts to change and I want to do more. Even though at first I am doing something I don't want to do, eventually my mood will shift from wanting to sit on the couch all night to wanting to get things done. I am always so much happier when the day is over and I feel like I have accomplished as much as possible. I very rarely ever derive any happiness from sitting in front of the tv, Entertainment, yes. Happiness, no. Obviously this can move into many other aspects of your life. I honestly don't think this hour was anything revolutionary, but I'm not sure I've really spent a lot of time thinking about it so directly. We've already had to start dealing with Landon wanting EVERYTHING. He is big into the "mine" stage as well and he wants everything to be his. After this hour, I will be sure to make an effort to explain to Landon that just because he wants something doesn't mean it's a good thing. Just telling him that he can't always have what he wants isn't the best explanation, although sometimes it will apply. I think teaching him that doing what you don't want to do is more rewarding and will lead to happiness more than his immediate wants and desires. It's something I will try and remind myself of more often. Sometimes it may work and I may get off the couch, other times I may still give into my wants, but I will try.

6/11/13

I heart weekends

Weekends are the best. Why do they ever have to end? Sunday night, as I was sitting down to watch some tv for the first time all weekend, I was already starting to look forward to Thursday at 4:30pm. Is that bad? I hate wishing away life, but I’m only really wishing away the work week so I can live my life. This weekend was my birthday weekend and while we didn't anything extra special, I had a great birthday weekend.

Friday, Landon and I had a lunch date with my Mom and some very close family friends. We met for lunch at 11:30am at Captain's Quarters and didn’t leave until 4:45pm! Captain's Quarters is a great place to grab a bite to eat, get a drink, enjoy the view of the river, and just hang out. After eating, we moved to the grassy area where they have Adirondack chairs facing the river so you can sit and enjoy the boats going down the river. Landon had a blast running around and watching the boats. That child loves anything that moves. He even made a little friend while he was there and they played together for about an hour. The great atmosphere wasn't the only reason we stayed over five hours, but the company had a lot to do with it. There is nothing in life that brings me as much joy as the company of truly great people. Time really flies when you are in good company. It’s always a little sad when it comes to an end, but I am already looking forward to our next get together.



Saturday, we went to Huber’s. It was time for my Dad and I's monthly wine trip. Usually it’s just a father-daughter thing but the strawberries were ripe for picking and I thought Landon would enjoy picking them so Adam, my step-mom, and Landon came with us. When we got there, we grabbed a bite to eat at their winery. They have the best chicken salad sandwiches and homemade Sangria. It was the best lunch! Afterwards, Dad and I went to the loft and did a wine tasting while Landon played outside.

Wine tasting professionals

Love that face!
Once we were done, we took a tractor ride to the strawberry fields. Landon wasn't overly excited about picking the strawberries himself, but he had fun pointing them out for me, watching me pick them, and helping put them into the box for me. He was a good helper. Since Adam doesn't eat strawberries, I didn't get a ton, but I got plenty to last me through the week. We have some strawberries at home and those, along with the Huber’s strawberries, are so much sweeter. Homegrown is obviously much better. 




After we picked all the strawberries we could handle we went back to the winery and enjoyed some ice cream. Huber’s is one of the few places that sells Superman ice cream and it always takes me back to my childhood down on the river. Even Adam, who never eats ice cream, couldn't resist the childhood memories and enjoyed some with us. Once we were done, we waited another 30 minutes or so for Landon to finish his, then Dad and I bought some wine and we headed home. Huber’s has the best Strawberry Sangria which you can make at home so I picked up a bottle of their strawberry wine and a bottle of their strawberry infusion (wine and brandy) so I can make it from home. 

When we got home Landon and I took a cat nap before heading out to get some dinner and going to Lowes. I decided for my birthday I wanted a blueberry bush and some hanging baskets for our porch. Why are flowers so expensive? The pretty hanging baskets were $20 and I wanted two, but I just couldn't justify spending $40, so I bought one that was $10. It was pretty and is supposed to attract butterflies and hummingbirds so I may go back for a second one eventually. I don’t have the best track record with flowers, but my garden is doing well, so hopefully the tide is changing. If this basket does well I’ll get another. We picked out the perfect blueberry bush as well. I love blueberries and they are so good for you. I’m hoping it does well. 

Yay for blueberry bushes!
I also went to Michael’s and picked up supplies for to make a Summer wreath. I have a small wreath obsession and our door has been bare since after Christmas so I’m excited to make a wreath and hang it up. Summer is such a nice time of year, but my front porch is bare. I know the wreath and hanging baskets will just add a little color and spruce it up. 

Sunday, was my birthday! As a I birthday gift to myself I took off work. We slept in a little too long and missed Mass at St. Martin’s so we went to St. Raphael’s instead. Afterwards, we met my Mom at Captain's Quarters…again.
Real men wear pink and look damn good doing it!
They have an amazing Sunday brunch buffet and I intended to stuff my face for hours, but my second plate was a huge waffle with strawberries and whipped creme. I was stuffed. My waffles at home don’t taste quite as good. It’s probably, because I make them. There is something about food when someone else cooks it. After brunch we went to Noni’s for some pool time. The weather decided to be crappy just as we were getting in the pool, but we ignored the storm clouds and all got in. This was Landon’s first time in the pool this year. The first summer he loved it, last summer he didn't, and it looks like he is going to love it again this year. He went off the diving board a number of times and jumped off the ladder. I cant wait till our GoPro gets back from Norway so we can take pictures of him in the water. The boy (and his Father) love to splash! After some time in the pool we went to dinner at Senior Iguanas. I love Mexican food and they have the best chicken quesadillas on the planet. Paired with some chips and queso and a strawberry margarita, it was the perfect birthday dinner and the end to a great day.

Birthday kisses from my favorite little man
Next Friday is date night and Saturday we are going out for a friend’s birthday so I’m glad we spent all weekend together as a family. I made a summer bucket list for us as a family and one for just Adam and I. I will share them soon, but we’ve already crossed two items off after this weekend. Picking strawberries and getting Landon to jump off the diving board. It was a great birthday weekend and I wouldn't change a thing. Less than 48 hours till my next weekend begins. Bring it!

6/5/13

Dear Courtney

Dear Courtney,

I vaguely remember seeing your last Facebook post about being sick and needing a nurse and a nanny. I remember thinking it was kind of funny and sounded like something you would say. It was March of 2010. I first realized you had passed away when someone tagged you in a picture and it said R.I.P. It appeared on my feed and I was shocked. I looked at your page and saw all the posts people had made praying for you. It was obvious you had dealt with some sort of sickness and didn't make it. I was so sad. We hadn't seen each other since high school, but you were always the nicest and happiest person. Looking at the pictures of you online I instantly remembered that beautiful smile and laugh. You were always laughing or being silly.

In May of the same year I became pregnant. I was due January 29, 2011. On January 23rd I became very sick with the flu. A few days later I was taken into the hospital and on January 29th they finally decided to take the baby for the health of both of us. I was put under for a c-section and woke up around March 1st. Turns out the flu had become pneumonia and then progressed into ARDS. I had to be put into a medically induced coma for a life support machine to try and save my life. It worked. After I woke up, I spent three more weeks in the hospital, including two weeks at a rehab center learning to use my body again. I couldn't raise my arms, I couldn't stand up, I couldn't eat food, or even lift myself up in my bed. I was trapped inside my body and it was awful. I remember laying in bed unable to move the first few weeks wondering why God had done this to me. By then Landon, my son, was over six weeks old and I still hadn't seen him. My friends, family, nurses, doctors and even complete stranger were constantly telling me how God had performed a miracle on me. I had been given less than a ten percent chance of survival by my doctors. Still to this day, over two years later, I have people tell me how they prayed for me. How they knew that God wanted me to be here and that I was saved for my little boy. They were, and still are, very sure of that.

It wasn't right away that I thought of you. I got home on March 26th and the one year anniversary of your death was April 1st. Once again your picture appeared on my Facebook feed. I cannot even being to explain the sadness that washed over me when I saw your picture again. I knew that it was some sort of medical illness that took your life, but I didn't know what. It took months for me to get up the courage, but I finally messaged your sister and asked her what had happened to you. She said you became sick with double pneumonia and never pulled through. You had three beautiful children, twins that were just babies, who relied solely on you and yet you were gone. I had one little boy and a husband who was my partner in parenting and I was the one who had been "saved by God". I had already been struggling with God and where I stood with him on my situation. Remembering you, and finding out how similar our illnesses were, made it that much worse. Why did God save me and not you? What purpose did I have that you didn't?

At first the survivors guilt made me question my life, my purpose and the direction I wanted to take it in. I felt the need to do/be something big. I wanted to help people in a life changing way, I wanted to find a meaningful career, I wanted to be perfect and do everything perfect so that I could feel justified in "being saved". I thought I should always be happy and never again have a fight with my husband or not enjoy every second with my child. I felt like I needed to be the perfect person just to justify my life. It was overwhelming to say the least. I was unhappy with my job and mad at myself every time I snapped at my Husband or was thankful when my Son was finally asleep. The pressure of being perfect was just as hard as the guilt of surviving. At one point I got up the courage to ask my Father, who almost died in Vietnam, if he ever had survivors guilt. It was a hard thing to say out loud to another person. I didn't want to seem ungrateful or unhappy to be alive, but I couldn't shake feeling confused and almost guilty at times for being here when you were not. Everyone else was so happy that I was alive and would constantly tell me everything I had to live for, but some days all I could feel was sadness. Sadness for you and all that you were missing out in life, for your kids, your family and close friends.

It was probably about a year later, but I finally stopped trying to prove my existence and stopped asking why. I stopped feeling like I had to live a perfect a life to compete with the amazing life I know you would have been living if you were still here. I stopped competing with my image of you and stopped comparing what I should be doing to what I imagined you would be doing. I don't remember exactly what caused this, but I would go to your Facebook page constantly and see the pictures of you with that huge smile on your face. I realized that if you here you would be happy and that was all that really mattered. I felt like your happiness of life eventually seeped into me. I knew I had to stop asking why and just start living my life, because that's what you would be doing. I eventually came to the conclusion that I couldn't truly believe that God really saved me and not you. Maybe it was just my wonderful team of doctors or that my condition wasn't as severe as yours. Feeling this way has allowed me to move on and stop asking the why.

I know for many people that believe that God saved me (and that is just about everyone), they will not understand what I mean or how I feel. Over forty years later, my Dad knows why he was saved and knows it was God who saved him. I don't know if I will ever be that person. If I will ever be able to come to terms with my existence on Earth, your death, and God playing a role in both, But I'm ok with that, because I've found true happiness in being alive and just living life and not asking questions. I believe in God, his presence in our lives, and his power, but I've settled on being unknown if he has his hand in everything that happens. Because I've stopped trying to figure that out, I live my imperfect and sometimes mundane life to the fullest. I think of you often, but now it's always in way that lifts me up. Instead of being overwhelmed by the feeling of survival, I am overwhelmed with the feeling of life. It's the same feeling that I get from seeing your smile or thinking about us being goofy in class.

I know I will never sit and read this letter to you, but I hope you are listening. We were never close friends, but please know that now I think about you almost everyday.You've touched my life in a way that few people ever will. I think of your smile, your laughter and your silliness. I think of your gorgeous children and all that life has to offer them. Instead of competing against you and feeling inadequate in my life, I've been able to move forward and just be happy with what is. I hope that you can understand my need to say all of this. I feel just as guilty now for ever having felt this way. I know you are in a better place watching those beautiful babies grow and that the happiness you had in life is multiplied in the next. In some way I hope that you feel as connected to me as I feel to you. I hope that a little of my life brings you happiness as you have done for me. Most all, I just wanted to say thank you.

Love,

Angela

6/4/13

To Have Succeeded

I stumbled upon a quote this morning while reading THIS article (worth the short read) and I wanted to share. I love quotes and would like to share some of my favorites on this blog from time to time.

Here is my new favorite...

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think that just about sums it up.

Happy Tuesday!

6/3/13

DP Week In Review

With Memorial Day and the long weekend I didn’t get a chance to write a review of the dedicated Prager hours from last week. This week there is no excuse. I actually really enjoy listening to Prager and writing about it on this blog even if it's just for me. So here we go.

There are times that I feel like Prager is talking directly to me and this week’s Ultimate Issues hour was definitely one of those times. Prager brought up an article from the Wall Street Journal titled “Dear Grads, don’t do what you love” (Read it HERE). After reading the article, I feel like the last sentence does a great job of summing up the point. It says, “It might be worthwhile for graduates—and the rest of us—if the popular "do what you love" message were balanced with a more timeless message to find work that, even in some small way, truly matters." Prager mentioned that this could be a Happiness Hour issue and that he may talk about this on a Happiness Hour at some point. I hope he follows up on it. I would love to try and call in if it was based on happiness, because I would love the chance to talk with him on that topic. He explained that it was also an Ultimate Issue topic, because he believes that there is a problem with people trying to seek meaning, even ultimate meaning, from their work. He says almost every job is meaningful in some way or another. Even if you do work that doesn’t bring meaning in itself, the fact that having the job provides and allows you take care of yourself and family makes it meaningful. He sums it up by saying, “Don’t look for work to provide meaning, but look to work to enable meaning.” Prager feels like this is a recent problem within society because people do not have meaningful things in their life anymore such as family, religion, hobbies, etc.

Prager said, “Overwhelming people cannot make a living doing what they love, so what you decide to do is love what you are doing.” He also points that just because you pursue what you love, doesn’t mean you will love it in thirty years. It also might not turn out to be what you thought it was. So you may not love doing it for a profession and would have been better off doing it on the side as a hobby. Also, if you do what you love and can’t find meaning in it, then you may find that it doesn’t make you happy.

I feel like I should save this hour and listen to it periodically when I am feeling down about my job. I still want to hear what Dennis says on the subject of happiness and jobs, but in regards to meaning, I know I need to realize that my job provides for our family and that is meaningful. While Adam makes more money than me, I know that my job allows us to have things we want and not just scrape by barely paying our bills. My job is allowing us to pay off our debt, take vacations, and indulge from time to time. When I get upset about stupid policies at work or feel like I’m not reaching my full potential then I need to think of what I AM doing with my job and not about what I’m not. It’s really all about how you look at things. I’m still not 100% happy in my job and I’m working on changing that, but I am providing and contributing to the betterment of my family and maybe that is really more important.

This hour also made me think of how thankful I am for Adam and all of his hardwork. Adam is an accountant and working hard on getting his CPA. While he enjoys accounting, it isn’t his love. His love is photography. He is a wonderful photographer and it used to be his main source of income. While we both know that he could have pursued his passion and done extremely well, he chose instead to pursue something he liked that would be more stable, allow him to spend more time with his family and better support us. Spending time with his family was more important than pursing his dreams of shooting the Olympics. I know Adam could have been an Olympic photographer, but the fact that he chose me and our family over his own personal dreams makes me love him that much more. The fact that our family takes priority over his ultimate personal happiness makes me feel so secure in our marriage. I am so thankful everyday that Adam has found a second passion in accounting. I know he will succeed in the same way he could have succeeded in photography. I thank God that he knows what is most important in life and knows that accounting will allow him to do the things in life he most wants. He is a great example of the point of this hour and it made me realize once more what a lucky girl I am to have such a wonderful husband.

 
 
On the male/female hour, Prager brought THIS article on the topic of fangirls of the youngest brother of the two Boston bombers. The article starts out, "OK, so Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stands accused of blowing up three people, injuring 282 more and shooting to death an MIT campus police officer. He's also got fans, or more accurately, he's got fangirls, thousands of them." Prager points out how male murderers who become famous from their crimes receive a ton of female fans and asks why. He also makes a good point, that there is no echo of this in male nature. No matter how beautiful a woman is, if she had killed people then there would be no mass legions of men following her. One Tsarnaev follower, an 18 year old waitress, plans to have his last tweet before the bombing tattooed on her arm. It will say “If you have the knowledge and the inspiration, all that’s left is to take action.” How confused is she? Prager wishes she could meet the parents of the 7 year old victim. If I were this girl's mother, I would be ashamed and humiliated by my daughter.

The author of the article says "I’m betting that woman, young and old, are drawn to him not because he is good looking, late adolescent; but because he is an accused killer. He is a classic bad boy to whom woman are chronically attracted. Mostly, because they find it sexy." The article goes on to say that as any evolutionary psychologist can tell you, women, like other female primates, crave dominant "alpha" males who demonstrate the strength to protect them and pass on survival traits to their children. And in a society such as ours where the phrase "head of the household" is anathema and men are forbidden to dominate in socially beneficial ways, women will seek out assertive, self-confident men whose displays of power aren't so socially beneficial. Prager adds that woman want strong men, and feminism and the left have destroyed positive strong men in taking care of a family and a home and so what is left is men who are wimpy in personality, but sensitive.

I have a hard time understanding all of this as a woman. I don't see the draw of a mass murderer and I have never been attracted to the "bad boys". I do agree that many women want a strong, dominate man, but I can't see how that can manifest into falling for a killer. I feel sorry for these poor misguided women. Adam is not the most manly man by today's standards. He doesn't love watching sports, he doesn't drink beer, and he doesn't enjoy just 'hanging out with the boys'. That being said, he is dominate in other ways. He stands up for what he believes in. He ALWAYS tells the truth. He protects and always put his family first, yes, even before himself. He provides for us in every way he can. He has integrity and a black and white moral code that is unwavering. He is the most chivalrous man I've ever seen and after 10 years, he still opens my car door...every single time. I feel like he possesses the positives of a strong man in all of the good ways. In today's world men are seen as manly or unmanly by characteristics that are shallow. So maybe I have a different perception of manly than most other woman, but judging from this article and the conversation of this hour, I feel comfortable with that.
 
 

Friday's happiness hour was an open line hour which he does a couple of times a year. He doesn't have a topic so people can call in and raise any issues on happiness that they want. Some of the topics that the callers brought up were working at happiness. One caller stated that by thinking good and doing good, you in turn become a happy person. I would agree with that 100%. Another caller was upset about the direction of the country to the point that it affected his health and didn't know what to do. Prager said to make the effort, working hard to reverse the course of the country. That is the only way to stay on course and not let the depression take over. A woman called to say that she had lost touch with loved ones and wanted advice on what to say to her relatives when extending the olive branch. Prager suggested just saying you're sorry is such a powerful thing to say and that many times it is all you need to forgive the person. He says that saying sorry is often more powerful than saying I love you. I also agree with that statement. There are many times when simply saying sorry allows you to move forward with the person. One man called to say that he had just gotten back with his girlfriend and he was having problems moving the past the fact that she was with someone else while they were broken up. Prager said he shouldn't have a problem moving past it, because that is what people do when they break up, they move on. Did he expect her to become a nun during the break up? If things are good now, then he should thank God everyday. That is all that matters. He goes on to say that if people break up, that it means they were not the right person for them. If someone leaves you then you know they were not the right person and you shouldn't want them because they don't want you. Also, it has an advantage of helping to protect you from lots of hurt. I think there was a lot of wisdom in that response from Prager. There are so many people, especially young girls, who are devastated when someone breaks up with them, but it is probably a good thing. When you find the right person, you never break up. The last caller of the hour asked what was more important the person's happiness or the person's marriage vows. Basically the wife isn't happy and he explained that the marriage has taken the brunt of her unhappiness which has affected his happiness as well. He believes in his marriage vows, but nothing has changed for over five years now. Since Prager is Jewish he doesn't address the marriage vow. He stated it was because Jewish people marry under a contract and divorce is allowed, the do not consider marriage a vow. Instead, he closed by saying that a bad marriage is like a prison cell. I feel very sorry for people in a bad marriage. I think the worst situation is where one person wants to try and save it and fix things, but the other person isn't willing to make the effort. You cannot make a person do something when they don't want to, but why do people get married in the first place if they are not willing to do everything they possibly can to make the marriage the work and be successful? It astounds me. I hope that man's wife has something that opens her eyes. She is lucky to have such a dedicated man and hopefully she can see that before it is too late.

6/1/13

It's the Little Things in Life


My birthday is in two weeks and you know what I want? I swear if I give you a thousand guesses you will never come up with it. So what is it?

Here you go...

It's a bullfrog! 

Funny, huh? I had found them online for $20 a piece plus $40 to overnight ship them. I figured I would get two; A male and female and hope they would mate. I had told Adam I wanted them for my birthday and was ready to order them.

Then, this morning, my Dad called and wanted to know if I wanted to go to the fish truck with him. In Louisville a fish truck would be were you order a piece of fried cod, fries and coleslaw. In the country, a fish truck sells live fish for you to stock your ponds with. It's literally just a big truck with a trailer attached and a bunch of tanks of fish. Here is Dad on the truck picking out some new Koi.


Dad just so happened to ask the guy if they had any bullfrogs and sure enough they did! How much? $0.60 a piece! Ok, so they are only tadpoles right now and won't be full grown until the end of summer or so, but I could get a lot more and still not have to spend $80!!! I guess I can wait for them to mature. Dad bought 10 of them and he threw in a few extra and a random fish and crawfish. Gotta love the country. I am so excited to hear bullfrogs all summer long!!!!

They hide in the corners so they are hard to see, but you can tell how happy I am.

So why bullfrogs? Nothing makes me happier than going to bed at night listening to the bullfrogs. I grew up with them in the pond at my house and always knew it was Summer when the bullfrogs came out (lightning bugs too). When Adam and I bought our house it was in the middle of the city and alas no bullfrogs. It was really hard adjusting to the city sounds and I always missed the bullfrogs. Since moving wayyyy out to the country in November, I was sure one of the two ponds would have a few. I asked my Mom to let me know when she first heard them this year just to be sure. Sure enough, they are out at her house and while we have a TON of frogs here, there isn't a single bullfrog. I cried. Adam says the frogs here sound like they are laughing. I don't know about that, but they do not have the distinct sound of the bullfrog. It's the most calming, relaxing, serenade ever! After living in the city for four years, these little guys are the part of country life that I was most excited about so I was determined to buy some and put them out. We have a front pond, back pond, and an ornamental creek with a pond in the middle of the driveway. I put them in the back pond since it is the biggest. Also, I was worried about them eating the Koi fish in the ornamental creek/pond and the front pond is the furthest from my bedroom window. I can't be having them far away.

I know so many people have no idea what bullfrogs sound like or have had the joy of hearing them all Summer as they go to sleep. These people will think this is a crazy post and I'm a crazy lady. If you are one of those people, I am sorry. You are really missing out. If you want to know what a bullfrog sounds like here is good short video.



You may still think I am crazy and maybe part of it is just the fact that I grew up with them. From the age of three until twenty-four I heard them every night all Summer long and I loved it. That sweet serenade of bullfrogs is one thing that really makes me happy. It's all about the little things in life. If we can't find happiness in the little things, we will never be happy. Speaking of things that make me happy, here's a picture of Landon trying to carry the new Koi to the pond and him and Papa putting the bag of them in the water to get them acclimated. I love how much he is learning and doing out on the farm. It's priceless.