The brain fog lifted briefly this morning and I realized that what I am going through right now is exactly what every one of us, male and female, struggled through at around age 12, give or take a year or two. Think back and recall the way your body suddenly took on a mind of it’s own and all you could do is hang on for the ride. One day your clothes fit and the next they were too tight or maybe too short. If you were truly unfortunate you may have become quite chubby even though you felt like you were starving to death. Another day you woke up with zits all over your face and greasy hair. Then you started having emotional mood swings from hell that made you hate your beloved parents and siblings and also cry over the dumbest things. You may have developed a crush on someone new or stopped being friends with a long time friend, but relationships in general became difficult because you lost your ability to communicate your thoughts and feelings easily. No one understood you at all! You wanted to sleep all day and eat everything in the house and got mad when someone said you couldn’t. Life seemed hopeless one minute and exciting the next! Thankfully your friends were going through the same hormone journey with you and you consoled each other. You hated on the kids who seemed to not have any troubles, not realizing that they really did. You helped each other get through the really dark days. What a wild roller-coaster ride it was and is. All thanks to our good old changing hormones. Can’t wait to get control of my body again some day. But for now I will try to sit back and enjoy the ride.
For 007 at https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/: I asked my son about the first birthday he ever planned and he laughed and said, “none , well maybe this one. ” We were sitting at the table eating pieces of a giant cake that his girlfriend had made for him. It was last Friday and he had called me on Tuesday to say he was coming home for his birthday. He brought his musical equipment and computer and his desire was for all the musicians in the family to make a birthday song together. That didn’t actually come together but good times were had.
For Rakellewrites http://www.racquelwrites.com : Yes, 27 years is a lot of time spent with another human being and many compromises have been made on both sides to keep this ship afloat! While it’s easy for me to think of a long list of things I’ve given up for him, I must admit that he has an equally long list. Both of us are pretty easy-going , as long as we get our way. But , that only works if you both want the same thing! So over the years we’ve had to let go of some things. I think maybe he was the more generous one in the past and maybe I’m paying that back now . But who’s keeping track? Wink wink! One biggie for him was that in order to keep the growing family fed and bills paid he has had to sell some of his toys, as in cars, motorcycles, and other wheeled objects . Not always without some resentment and unhappiness, but we got past it. Another one is he’s been very flexible with me as far as giving me a lot of freedom, as long as all my work is done. In my case, I’ve had to learn to be patient when I want to go and do things and we just can’t afford it. In the past I’ve found ways to make travel and races happen , but it’s getting harder and harder . I have a strong belief in God and I rely on the Bible as my standard of right and wrong, therefore, even in some very trying periods of marriage, I have not felt that quitting was an option . I believe that Satan is real and he wants to destroy relationships. When things get rough , I pray harder! I also avoid people, authors, and other media that do not value the marriage vow. I know how easy it is to get sucked into that way of thinking. I think my husband and I are a good match and we usually enjoy the same things , but not always. And that’s okay. We are both independent and opinionated as well. We don’t always agree on politics but we agree on values and religion. Somehow it has worked for 27 years. When I hear that a couple is struggling, I try to encourage them to 1)remember their spouses good points and 2)remember their own faults. No one is perfect. I’ll finish with an example from real life. The weather is perfect today and I really wanted to go hiking . But I discovered my husband had other plans . Since I’m going trail running tomorrow, I opted to not push for the hike, even though he was willing to try to fit in both activities. There was not enough time in my opinion for both. I’m sorry to miss a day hiking in fall weather, but I had to be honest that I would do better to stay home and do chores. So I guess I’ve gotten better at not getting my way. I want to give God the credit for helping me mature and not be so selfish and stubborn. I have prayed specifically that he would make me a better wife and mother and I trust that he is at work .
This time of year things can get very stressful for those of us who live paycheck to paycheck or with very little discretionary income. All year we manage to squeak by each month by with lots of prayers and various thrifty methods, but then along comes the expensive months. Higher electric bills, sick kids, winter clothes, unexpected repairs and lots of things can make it very difficult to buy Christmas gifts and pay for the many related costs of celebrating the holiday season. Some years may be better or worse, but for some of us, being poor is just the way it is. We don’t usually complain about it, we accept it, and we make it work, but this time of year can cause guilt, shame, embarrassment and depression for those who wish they could provide more for their families. More than one person has committed suicide for this very reason, feeling like a failure during the holidays, which is a terrible, terrible thing! So many are working so hard to provide for their families and yet inflation and taxes and stagnant wages and other uncontrollable factors keep them from improving the bottom line. Let’s get to the tips. Here’s some music to listen to while you read.
1.) For the married couples. In most couples, one person is a spender and one is thrifty, even if they are on a very tight budget. It is of utmost importance at this time of year that the couple come together and communicate. Is there any money AT ALL that is not budgeted for bills and living expenses? If so, how much? Then, being careful not to cast blame for the situation, discuss where the money could be spent so that everyone can be happy. This means you may have to be willing to compromise! Remember that at THANKSGIVING, we are to be thankful. And at Christmas, we celebrate Jesus, not presents or fancy decorations or fancy meals. If you really love your spouse, you will not burden them with guilt in these thankful, joyous occasions. You can also put your heads together and get creative with ways to celebrate and have fun. If you are Christians, this is a great time to PRAY together.
2.) Avoid using credit. Trust me on this one. You will regret it later. Better to save credit cards for real emergencies. I understand the temptation. Payday loans, title loans, high interest credit cards are a TRAP. If you don’t have the money now, how will you have it later to make these payments? Something else will probably eat up that money you think you might get later. Then you will be in worse condition than before. Pay day loans are the worst and should be illegal. Instead, consider selling things you don’t need or things you make to sell, or maybe get a second or third job. I think that’s way easier said than done for most of us. But first see the next tip.
3.) Don’t buy it. This is my number one tip. If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. I should probably put it first in the list! How can you achieve this? Turn off the TV and radio and throw away all advertisements and catalogs! Stay far away from the mall or department store or craft fair (unless you’re selling and making money) or other places that call ‘Buy me! Buy me!”. Don’t even walk down those special aisles in Walmart! In a few weeks, all that stuff will be on sale, if you REALLY need it, or it will be dropped off at Goodwill by people who didn’t like their gifts or got newer models. That’s part two of this one, wait until after the holidays and then go buy a few carefully selected items if you have the money. But don’t buy stuff just because it’s on clearance!
4.)Do not equate your self worth or showing love with giving the perfect gift. We all know that person who is so good at choosing, or even making, gifts that light up the face of the person receiving them. We want to do that, too! Those are the creative, crafty, and usually, more spendy, type of people. Good for them! They are important. But so are you. You have other good qualities! Share your sense of humor, your handiness, your listening ear, your musical talent, your cooking expertise, or just your friendly personality with those around you. Everyone appreciates a fun person, a good storyteller, a helpful person, a good cook, someone who makes them laugh. Some of my favorite people live very simply.
5.)If you do have a little money to spend, consider the following non-traditional places to shop. Goodwill or other thrift stores. Garage sales. Ebay and other online auctions. Craft shows. Facebook marketplace. Just be careful to check the price and make sure you are getting a good deal, including shipping. Dollar General and Family Dollar often have some low priced gift items if you don’t mind a lesser quality. The modern tradition and belief that we must give store-bought , new items was created by people that sell those items! Be independent. Give whatever you want to give. It can be fruit from your trees or flowers from your garden or pecans from the trees in the park (I would love that!).
6.) If you have NO money and are barely making the rent and having gas to get to work, consider checking with some local charities or churches for toys for the little kids. Or, maybe barter with someone whose kids have extra toys. Wrap it up, they don’t need to know it’s used. For adults, most of us are fine without getting anything and especially do not want anyone to spend their bill money buying us things. I know I’d rather hang out and eat a festive meal with my family than anything else! Another idea is to look around and see if there might be something in your own house that you would like to pass on to someone, in other words, re-gifting. It’s okay! In fact, some things are really nice to give, like books, movies, CDs, household goods, nice clothes.
7.) You don’t need to spend a lot, but it’s more festive to at least have a wreath or tree and a few lights or some candles. Thrift shops always have holiday decorations. Garage sales are great for that, too, but it might be too late in the year for that if you are reading this in November. If you have school aged kids, ask them to draw some pictures and hang them up. Or maybe they will bring home some artwork they made in school that you can display. Pick up some pine cones and coat them in glitter glue. Make paper snowflakes. One year we made a snowman out of bags of plastic bags! Another time we made long chains of construction paper rings.
8.) You have to eat anyway, so take advantage of the annual buy a ham and get a free turkey deal or whatever your store offers . One of our stores offers a bunch of free items with the ham. It’s worth the price of the ham. Buy two if you can and freeze one. Now is the time to do some pie and cookie baking and other treats and consider that part of your holiday celebration by letting the family in on the fun, even if they do make a mess! Rice krispy cereal treats are cheap and you can add red and green sprinkles or use the colored cereal if they have it. Be careful not to overspend on recipes that have expensive ingredients. Sometimes you can substitute cheaper ingredients or just leave things out. Home cooking is USUALLY cheaper but not always , so count the costs. But if the cooking is the entertainment, it might be worth spending a few bucks more than the bakery pie.
9.) Don’t buy gifts. Just get together with friends or family as much as possible during this time of year. Enjoy food, music, whatever you like to do. It is enough. Be thankful. Count your blessings! Love your family! Some will not be alive the next holiday season. Do not sit at home because you can’t bring gifts to the party! Go to church and community events, like parades and Santa visits. Choirs and nativities. Look on Facebook or in your local newspaper to see what is happening and just do it, even if you have to go alone.
10.)Remember the reason for the season. Jesus! https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/christmas-and-advent/what-is-christmas-understanding-the-history-and-origin.html
Some of you probably have better suggestions than these. I did some internet searches before writing and I felt like many of the articles suggested spending a lot rather than saving a lot. My goal was to encourage those who might be feeling paralyzed with anxiety or depressed over not having a lot of spending money. It’s easy to assume that everyone else is spending more than you, but remember there are millions of us barely making ends meet. In fact, many of us on tight budgets are actually doing way better than a lot of people. Let’s encourage each other, take away the pressure to exchange gifts at family gatherings and be thankful for our many blessings.
I went for a run today at the state park closest to me. I kinda wanted to go to a different one but I got a late start and I didn’t really feel like using that much gas, so I settled for one near me that is not my favorite because 1)the trails are flat, 2) the trails are short, and 3) this park is not usually much of an adventure. But I ended up being blessed! Below are some photos I’ve taken on past visits.
It was cold and raining when I woke up but as I drove to the park, the outside temperature was literally rising before my eyes on the car thermometer. It was 50 degrees when I got to the park and I was very surprised to see a bunch of cars in the parking lot at the park entrance. I have a park pass which means I get in free, but I had to wait in line with the campers paying their fees. This park doesn’t have a lot to offer , in my opinion, as far as state parks go, other than nature walks in the forest, deer and other wildlife and pure camping experiences, no lake, no fishing, no climbing, no mountain views, no boating or swimming. What it does have is trails that tend to be flooded by the adjacent Brazos River or extremely humid conditions and mosquitoes. The whole park was under water twice in the past three years and I really thought they might just give up and close it but they didn’t. But city folks and RVers like it.
So anyway, I don’t come here that often but today I just wanted to get out of the house, and not into the gym, and go for a run in the forest. I had no real plan but as I was driving I remembered that I told myself that I wanted to run for two hours on one of my weekend days, so that became my vague plan. I wasn’t sure what to wear, remember it was 85 degrees here this week, so I was wearing a short sleeve tech shirt under a long sleeve tech shirt , Nike running tights, and gloves and a hat. I decided to shed the hat before I even started and the gloves went into my vest pocket after a few miles.
The first few minutes felt stiff and awkward, but I know the first mile is a liar so I tried not to let it freak me out. I forgot to mention that my back has been hurting this week and the last time I ran was Tuesday which means that I missed three days! By a half mile in I was feeling warmed up and then I started to see PEOPLE on my trail. A lot them. I say ‘my trail’ because I live so close ( around 20 miles away) and have run here many times, usually weekday mornings . There is hardly ever anyone here, but since I got started so late, around 11:00 AM, and it’s Saturday, the campers and hikers were stirring like ants. These people were walking on my trail, in fact they were standing on my trail talking, a group of hikers with a guide. The guide is a friend of mine and he told them to “Say Hi to Paula”, which I found very amusing! I politely said a few words to them and kept going knowing that I would see them again very soon because this trail was a dead end at the river overlook.
My run started feeling pretty good. I don’t usually listen to music on the trail and today was no different. I do a lot of thinking and praying and trying to stay focused on not tripping. I kept going, said hi to the hiking group again, and also passed a group of what looked like people from another country, maybe Chile or Brazil, some South American country , Spanish speakers, and they all had nice puffy jackets and their kids were walking pretty dogs on leashes. It was a big group and I had to get past them several times on my run. They were friendly and I tried to get past without bothering them. I heard one say something about ‘cansado’ which means tired. Not sure if they meant me or them.
The trail is a loop around the park and there are also some other trails called the lower trails that are currently closed due to flooded areas. It has been raining and raining and raining here in Texas. I went down a trail that leads to one of the closed trails and I just had to go past that little “Trail Closed” chain to see how the trail looked on the other side. Sorry, don’t yell at me, I know this park well. Happily, the trail was in really good shape except for that one little problem of the creek being over the trail in one spot. Running along through the tall trees on the quiet, leaf covered trail, I came upon some nice trail work that had been done on that section, two new boardwalks. I haven’t been in this part of the park in a few years due to the aforementioned flooding and it made me really happy to see some of my favorite giant trees. This park and I have a lot of history and it means a lot to me to see that the state has not given up on it. That history includes many runs with friends that I no longer run with, my first night run, volunteering for races, and watching people literally wade through waist and neck deep water in one famous race . I’ve learned to love and support all Texas State Parks because of this one.
So back to the run, I decided to keep run the loop and that out and back section, racking up as many miles as possible and then turn around and retrace my path back to my vehicle and then repeat, doing the math all along and figuring out how to get 10 miles in this tiny park. As I was running back I met up with two little boys, maybe 8-9 years old, walking on the trail alone. There were quite a few groups with kids out there that day, but these two were alone. Both of them looked right at me and started to talk so I stopped running and listened. They had seen me go by earlier and were interested in the fact that I was still running. I told them I was coming back around. Then they proceeded to give me instructions on where to go on the trail so I could be sure not to miss seeing the river. Thanking them with a smile I kept going, with new joy in my heart. What an uplifting moment! These two little boys gave me a real gift. It made me so happy that they were enjoying their hike so much and wanted to share it with a random stranger! This is what life is all about . God bless those boys and their parents! I got my 10 miles in, but these kids were the high point. Happy Running!
As suggested by https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/ I am asking YOU , the reader, what you would like me to write about. 007 was a good sport and answered my questions about who he is and I am going to play along. I will try to write something interesting if I can, doesn’t have to be about me, especially since I write about myself most of the time. Submit your requests and if you see a request you like, just LIKE it and I’ll count that as a vote for that topic. Then I’ll post it next Friday. Thank you for reading my blog!
Also, Happy Birthday to my oldest son! He doesn’t read this blog, but I can brag on him a little. I have wanted children since I was a little girl. I finally got one 27 years ago. This boy is special! Well, he’s a man now, but you know, still my boy. He was homeschooled all his life and I am glad for that because his personality is way too big to be controlled by classroom management techniques. In other words, he’s like me. When I was in school, the teachers were willing to work with my tendency to question or ignore silly rules and not sit still and talk a lot and pretty much do whatever I thought I should do. They gave me little jobs to do, like mimeograph papers and bring them coffee. They also didn’t complain too much when I didn’t go to class as often as other kids. I had a lot of stomach aches and I liked to sleep late. This kid of mine has always been a night owl. There is no way he’d have functioned in public school schedules! He has learned to be more flexible now that he’s a working adult. But school is like prison nowadays. Comply and show up and don’t be late and sit down and shut up and answer the math question ONLY LIKE THIS and do NOT question us! When my son was just a little kid he sometimes got in trouble with other adults who didn’t know him, but the ones who knew him liked or loved him and saw his good qualities. He started playing guitar with the youth group choir as a young teen and then he played with the adult choir. My husband taught him the basics of guitar and then he pretty much ran with it. He can play most instruments now and is also a music producer for (groan) rap musicians. He was very involved in church for quite some time and attended adult Bible classes with mentors. His sense of humor and logic has always been above average for his age. From a young age he would get interested in a particular TV show, musician, or actor and learn all he could about them. The only time I saw this kid struggle was when he went through a breakup after a long relationship. But I’m happy to say that he is past that and cruising along again. I love all my children, but the first one is always special, just like the last one, and all the ones in between if you’re an overachiever like me. Happy birthday, son!
My kids do not enjoy writing, to put it mildly, but I thought this little story was pretty funny. Hope you like it, too! I left the formatting and punctuation errors in, but he will be doing some editing tomorrow. The assignment was to write a story from the perspective of any other person or animal.
Operation Bird bomb by Eli Adams
I’m a pigeon who likes to crap on peoples cars. People don’t really appreciate us pigeons, I don’t get
It, I mean do they even know how hard it is to aim your poop while flying? Like one day I was
Swooping down low for a bombing run on this one car when a kid started shooting at me with his bb gun
I mean like come on! When I came around for the second run I dove straight at him and he
Got scared and started running so I decided to bomb him instead of the car, after I crapped on
His jacket I ended up going back for the car too but it was gone so I did my usual rounds in
The neighborhood pooping on all my favorite cars and bench’s and sidewalks when suddenly
I spotted the car that was missing, so I headed straight for it, when I saw a few other
Birds heading for it too, it was now a race to see who could poop on the car first.
I was in the lead when one of them passed me, then I knew I had failed so I went back