Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Out with the Old... In with the New!!

Dearest Blog...

I'm sorry I've neglected you... Life got busy. I've been in a whirlwind of changes for about the past 6 months that have been life changing, to say the least. I finally, right here at the end of the year, feel like I'm starting to get a handle on things.. . (ask me if I still have a handle in a few weeks.. ha ha)...

Like everyone else, the closing of one year and the beginning of another always makes me feel like it's the perfect time to "change" what needs to be changed, "start" healthier habits, "begin" to realllly be a stickler about my finances, "give up" things that may not be so good for me... But, I'm gonna use this little forum to share something I've learned over the past year. Sometimes, life doesn't wait for the "New Year" to change on you in an instant. That can be a good thing or a bad thing... This year, I've experienced both. I'll spare you the details.. but, let's just say I've had little control over my life changing. The most recent change for me came in the form of a new job... and though I chose that job... I knew full well that God had opened that door for me and that not even I, could shut it. Reflecting back, it's one of the easier decisions I've had to make in life. I just knew it was time for a change and I knew that was the avenue I was supposed to take. Scared? Ummm, YAH... But, there is something so amazing about the peace that God gives when it's something HE wants you to do. I have NO clue what I'm doing... NO clue where it's gonna lead... and NO clue why He has me going this way. I just know He does.

There's a point to me sharing all this... The big lesson for me has been that at the end of the day... I just don't understand God's ways when it comes to the things that concern me. I've been reminded of the verses in Isaiah... “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (c 55 vv 8,9) Let's take it a step further.... I also came to a really ugly conclusion about myself. I realized that in all honesty, I've been selfishly consumed with trying to figure out His ways for "me". As much as I think I know about what He has planned for my life... as much as I've thought I was walking down the right road at times... He is not a God Who wants us to know everything... and at the end of the day, it finally clicked in my head that it isn't my business to worry about MY life. HE is in it... and because of that, there is no need to know all the stupid details that I deem so important. MY business should be about the lives of others. While God is mysterious in some ways, He is equally as obvious in others. He gives us VERY CLEAR instructions on widows and orphans... TAKE CARE OF THEM TIL IT HURTS. He gives us precise guidance on others less fortunate than us.. BE HIS HANDS AND FEET... Give of what we have and if it's COMFORTABLE, it IS NOT ENOUGH... Use the blessings He has given us to increase His kingdom.

So what am I getting at? Yeah, I have some things I'd like to tweak in my own life... And, I'll work on that of course... But, for the first time ever, my "resolutions" will revolve around others... being the best mother I can be FOR Landon... being the kind of worship leader at Refuge Point Church that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, does as Paul and Silas did and break the chains of those in bondage, lock arms with other believers and do whatever dirty, stinky, self sacrificing work it takes to change the face of the rundown cities surrounding me. I'm finally starting to realize the meaning of Matthew 6:33... It says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you..." I'm gonna seek FIRST the ways the kingdom of God can be increased and stop worrying so much about things that have the ability to change in an instant. It's just that simple.

Sooooooooooooo...... Here's to a New Year... and a new perspective!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Next time I'm yawning....

I'm going to take some time out of my SUPER busy teleconferencing schedule on this rather gray Tuesday morning to share something that I found to be quite interesting, (thanks to my good friend Kate for sharing this information)--- YAWNING IS BENEFICIAL!!!!!! I mean, come on people... am I the only one that likes to yawn? Apparently not... look how much fun we're all having....

Apollo Ohno yawning

Random Cartoon Guy yawning

Cute little puppy dog that probably has NASTY smelling puppy breath yawning
Cute little baby fox that probably wants to bite me yawning

Katherine Heigl yawning

Big, scary, King of the Jungle that DEFINITELY wants to bite me yawning

"Google image yawning" dude yawning

Monkey see, Monkey do, Monkey looks (well... you know the rest) yawning

The MOON yawning (I mean, c'MONNNNN)

Cuuuute little baby yawning

Former Pope (RIP) yawningFormer VP Dick Cheney yawning at what looks to be a VERYYYY important meeting yawning

President Barack Obama yawning

You can click here if you'd like to read the full news article for yourself... Otherwise, I'm going to pare it down for you Casi style.

  • Our brains are like computers and operate most efficiently when cool
  • we yawn in response to increased brain\body temp
  • yawning provides a means for increased alertness (it recharges your battery, so to speak)
  • it helps us relax
  • it helps to manage stress
  • it lifts our mood... and BEST of all....

So, while there may be some social stigmas associated with yawning, (especially in the middle of important meetings, conversation with friends who are less than interesting, various programs, classes, or other boring social gatherings)... the benefits explained in this article say to me that I can now YAWN without GUILT!! Though it may happen at any given time, it isn't a sign of boredom... it's a sign that your body is working as it's supposed to be... so bring on the yawns and make no apologies!!! THUMBS UP!!

That is all. :)

Just kidding, no it's not... Out of curiosity, how many times did you yawn while reading this blog???

FYI..... I'm yawning right now....

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm an Onion.. but that's not all...

Soooooo... I'm learning alot, which I love. Everyday, it seems like I'm being shown something new. And, I'd really have it no other way. I hate the thought of going through life, just getting by on what I learned "years ago". Where's the growth in that? Maybe some people don't want to grow, but I'm not one of those people.

Sometimes, growth is not fun. Sometimes it's like when you were a kid and you had to have a badly skinned knee cleaned... sheer PAIN, but necessary pain, nonetheless. My kiddo had a knee injury last year where he skinned his knee and had all kinds of dirt and gravel in it. I don't do so well with things of that nature, so luckily he was at school when it happened and it was all cleaned up for the most part by the time he got home. :) His little knee was tender for quite a while... JUST about the time he had almost forgotten about it even happening, he fell playing basketball and the EXACT same place got skinned again. Again it hurt, again it had to be cleaned, and again with time, it got better. The scar is there, but it no longer hurts to touch it.

My point? I'm an onion. And, not only am I an onion, but I'm an onion in a locked box. I've always used that as a way to describe myself. I'm very layered and kinda like they say on The Blind Side (which is a WONDERFUL movie, btw), you have to peel me back in layers... I watched that movie last night and it really hit home with me. Sometimes I think it's good to guard your heart (the Bible even tells us to do so)... but, then I think that I'm not quite balanced in that area. I'm tough tough tough to peel and for some people, you never even get to the onion because you can't open the box. I thought for a couple of years that I was changing from an onion to... well... I'm not sure what.. but something other than an onion :) But, I've realized over a series of events that I'm still just as Vidalia as ever... in a locked box. I got into a conversation with someone the other day and they sort of put me in check about my boxy onion nature... It wasn't easy to hear but it reminded me that I haven't arrived... I think I forget that sometimes. I think I have sort of figured it all out... I haven't... you haven't... and none of us ever will have it totally together. What I'm trying to do now is figure out a nice balance between being guarded in a good way and being totally unavailable emotionally to people who really want to be in my life. So, if you are one of those people... be patient with me... know that I understand I am difficult to put up with, and that hopefully I can at least eventually get rid of the stinking box!!!
p.s. onions may stink at times... but they can be REALLLLLY sweet and add lots of flavor to food.... or life ;)

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's all about BALANCE

word: bal-ance

pronunciation: \'ba-len(t)s\

I'm big on balance... reallllly big... I looked up the actual definition and below are a few of my favorites:
  • equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements (you'll understand why this is so fitting shortly)
  • an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements
  • a physical equilibrium
  • mental and emotional steadiness

So, after work, I went home and in a mad dash, changed clothes and headed to Zumba. This is by far, the sweatiest workout I've found to date, not to mention TONS of fun and a great stress relief!! I STRONGLY encourage you to find a class near you and try it out. On average, a 150 pound person can burn between 500 - 600 calories in one hour of Zumba, which beats out swimming or speed walking, PLUS you get to DANCE and have a great time!!!

When I left, I literally looked like a wet dog and probably smelled even worse that that... But, I had made plans to have dinner at Red Lobster and didn't have time to go home to get ready. You better believe I took my booty shaking self right down I-85 with the quickness... Many thanks to philosophy inner grace body spray for making the experience a little more bareable for those dining with me :) Working out makes you wanna eat... And, that I did. I could go to that place and be perfectly content with their salad and cheese biscuits (queue heavenly angel chorus and bright lights)....

Why I ordered a shrimp combo, I have no clue, because I was so full by the time it got there, I barely touched it.

So, look people, what I'm saying is... YES I pigged out at tha Lobsta, but YESSS I ALSO shook my tailfeathers at Zumba---- doesn't some diet book somewhere say that it sort of equals out? Yep, I'm sure of it.

Conclusion? A perfectly balanced evening, with sweat, cheese biscuits, and old friends.

Mission Accomplished

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Seriously?!?!? I've never seen so much yellow.... or, maybe I've just never noticed it so much as I do right now... I walk outside, and it's EVERYWHERE... every vehicle has been sprayed by the yellow dust fairy, who is pretty tired right about now...

but, it doesn't stop there... i started to take notice of all things yellow.. even in my current surroundings... so, in my boredom (not really that i have time to be bored, but...) i am going to share how yellow has thrown up JUST in my office. enjoy :)

my yellow highlighters

the yellow top on my soda bottle

my yellow post its

my yellow expo marker

my tissue box... which is... yeah, you guessed it... YELLOW

the yellow swirlies on my desk calendar...

the yellow writing on the matchbox that i just used to light my Kitchen Spice Slatkin & Co. candle (which is, might i add.... DIVINE)

the yellow tape on my phone cord... random

the yellow mute button on my desk phone...

the yellow thank you note card on my corkboard

the yellow ink in my rainbow number (you intercall trainers are feeling me on this one)

my yellow notepad

my yellow bare minerals box

the yellow circle sticker on the back of my training computers

the yellow nose on my hello kitty money\paperclip holder (guess who gave me this???)

the yellow envelope that pops up on my blackberry when i get a text message

the yellow wrapper for my Zone Perfect Chocolate Mint Protein Bar, which, to me tastes JUST Like the chocolate mint girl scout cookies (yummy pockettttt!!)

that list is inclusive to the things i can see look around and see right now in my training room... what i DON'T have in my life right this second is the following: (i would take any of them at almost any time)

lemon icecream from marble slab

sunshine (though i'm way happy the rain has washed away some of that pollen)

lemon lotion that crystal lets me borrow ( i HATE lotion, but this stuff smells amazing)

a real lemon

lemon pudding that my grandmother used to make or even...

a lemon dessert from KFC

a lemon sour

John Mayer's "Bold as Love" (my YELLOW in this case is not so mellow)
Coldplay's YELLOW (which i'm gonna close this bad boy down with today)...

Look at the stars

Look how they shine for you

And everything you do

Yeah they were all yellow

I came along

I wrote a song for you

And all the things you do

And it was called Yellow

So then I took my turn

Oh what a thing to have done

And it was allllll yellow....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Paw Paw Pa-Dupa-Scupa

Today is the day of laughs and pranks... It's also the anniversary of my grandfather's death. (Cue Debbie Downer sound effect). On April 1, 1994, Joel Raiford Easterwood slipped from a coma into the afterlife, in the early afternoon.

Things I remember about his death: It was nice outside, Freebird was playing on the radio when I stepped out of the shower, and I was absolutely relieved when I walked into the room where Hospice had him set up, because I knew that he was finally free from pain.

Things I remember about his life:

He was a PRANKSTER! He had me and my gullible self thinking for YEARS that one of his legs was longer than the other. He made up some long story about how and why and then one day I realized, that joker's legs were both the exact same size.... LONG AND SKINNY!

He was a drinker... so, I can remember him "thinking" he was hiding that fact from me as he put his beer inside the coffee table door. I remember always hearing the can pop when he opened it and he would look around to see if anyone was watching... (I usually was) as he would sip one after another. He drank to the point of belligerency lots of times and I didn't like that he didn't know when to stop, but nobody is perfect.

He loved to make people laugh... He had crazy sayings that he used for most of his adult life... "You've got freckles on your butt, but you're pretty just the same". (don't ask, because i don't have an answer!!)

"Blow yo nose on that chairn rag.. Nothing I despise tworse than nastiness"

Then there is the story about him taking my mom to buy her Dodge Charger... If you have a weak stomach or are offended easily... seriously stop reading... Somehow a discussion ensued with the salesman about... wait for it... wait for it.... STDs. My grandfather proceeds with saying, "Well, it isn't like it used to be. We used to just be able to stand on a sheet, jump up and down, the crabs would jump off, and we'd be okay!!" Alright, I'm embarrassed to WRITE that... can you imagine the look on the salesman's face?? He was obviously kidding, saying that just for a reaction, (which most of the time he got)... but, OH MY GOSH... I'm glad he settled down a little before I came along.... ;)

My grandfather was 75 years old when he died. He was a rough man... very rough to my grandmother and their children. I've heard stories about him that make me cringe, but I was thankful enough to not see that side. I've heard on a number of occasions that when my mom told him she was pregnant, his infamous response was, "You're not bringing that baby into this house!" Fast forward 40 weeks and a 6 lb. 7 oz. baby later, I've been told he melted the first time we ever met. :) He and my grandmother ended up adopting me when I was 7, so it's a good thing he sorta liked me, I suppose. I was spoiled rotten from day one... I can admit that. And, I can't even say it was just with love... it was with stuff. My grandfather did everything big... He had to have the latest gadgets and he made sure that I had the latest toys.

To me, he was mostly Paw Paw, though somewhere in time, in a unique vocabulary that has been cultivated by several of the Easterwood family members, Paw Paw Pa-Dupa-Scupa also became one of his name tags and he would answer just as if I was calling him by his birth name. To him, I was "monkey feet"... because I liked to climb... on furniture, in trees, on countertops... Years went by and I didn't hear that name. But, the night before he died, he was more himself than he had been in a long time- smiles erupted, nicknames were thrown around, goodbyes were said, and peace fell down on the family, which is more than a lot of people are able to experience. I'm grateful to God for that. The last words he spoke to me were, "You know I love you, Monkey Feet"...

And on and on and on the stories go... He made others laugh... He didn't take life too seriously... He was a very flawed man, but he was generous, goofy, and he provided me with a stable environment in which to grow. Thank you, Paw Paw!!

We all thought it was super fitting that he passed away on April Fool's... I actually had to make sure it was real when they told me, because knowing him, he would've wanted to get one last good one in!! How awesome that we had one last good night with him, where we were all laughing... And, how awesome that in all his craziness, he left me with a legacy of laughs that I've never forgotten. So, today, I remember him vividly, I celebrate his life, and from the bottom of my heart, I say, "Happy April Fool's Day, Paw Paw Pa-Dupa-Scupa... Monkey Feet loves you so!!!" JRE- November 20, 1919 ~ April 1, 2004...

Friday, March 26, 2010

I'm full of it....

My Thursday evening consisted of the following... in abundance...

black paint... lots of black paint... we worked on getting the stage painted for the Refuge Point Church launch. Weekly services start this Sunday, March 28th at 6:00 pm at the old Southern Shadows building. Volunteers have been working hard all week to get things done and it's coming together quite nicely, might I say!

Japanese rice (and Hibachi shrimp)- i stumbled upon a new dive here in the booming metropolis of Valley, (which is no easy feat), thanks to a birthday dinner for a family member. Jin Express (if you're a fellow Bonzai fan- you must experience this!!) I ate rice, shrimp, and veggies until my nose ran and every bite was pure yumminess. My only complaint?? The fortune cookie was dead wrong. :)
The Proposal- ahhh, yes... this makes viewing # 3 for me of this divine comedy... what made it better?? that I watched it with Lan, Ames, Randy, and Wanda... We all piled up on our respective couches, recliners, and love seats, and had an unexpected movie night together. The couch was cozy, the clothes Ames let me wear were cozy, and Landon's legs sprawled out across me, for the sole purpose of being scratched lightly by my fingernails at just the right "Landon" pace made me 8 kinds of happy. The cream cheese icing on my metaphorical cake was lots of laughter, lots of Ryan Reynolds, and lots of time with people whom I love, that love me right back...

So, today... I am full of it... and, I don't mind you saying so.. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Welcome to my world!!

So... I realize I'm a little behind in the game of blogging, but I've decided it's time to take what fills up my mind and translate it to paper... or screen. My poor brain stays way too busy. I have to let some of it out, or I'm going to keep getting more and more forgetful... and, I'm not ready for that quite yet.

Today what I've been thinking about, is that God is good, even when I don't see or feel Him. I know this because He's proven Himself (as if He ever had to...) over and over. And, true enough, today, I'm having to reflect and remind myself of all He's done, because there is a force out there who would have me forget and question just how great He is. So, I'm doing what's necessary today. I'm thinking back on all my screw ups and failures and how God made beauty out of those ashes EACH and every time. And, I'm reminding God of His promises too! All too often, I've talked myself out of doing that, but I've been reading in scripture where it's done all the time. For example, when we're sick... "Lord, You said that by Your stripes, I am healed!!" (Isaiah 53:5) When we need Him to provide... remind Him that He came to give us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). God LOVES our conversations with Him, even if we are "helping Him out", when He surely doesn't need it!! He just wants US to draw close to Him.. talk to Him.. confide in Him... be HONEST with Him. You will experience the promise of unconditional love at its finest when you do these things. It's pretty much amazing. Promise :)

So, that's my day... reflecting, reminding, and realizing that even though I'm not necessarily "comfortable" right now, that I'm growing... that I'm not going to give up or stop fighting... that I'm backed into a corner, but trusting Him... and that, apparently, this corner is exactly where I'm supposed to be... so who am I to try and move?